Top critical review
The Moose Hole - 'King' Shows Strength but Faulters
on March 6, 2004
Here's a real brain teaser for you: The Scorpion King is the prequel to the sequel to the remake of The Mummy. Confused yet? Let's hope not but if so then let's break it down for you. The Scorpion King is the new star vehicle for former WWE star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The Rock played a small role in The Mummy Returns, which was a sequel to The Mummy. The Mummy was a remake of the original mummy movie series from the 1950's. Got it? With that cleared up, a new question of why they would make a spin-off to The Rock's character emerges. The Rock has become a very popular "actor" in recent years, coming a far way from his early years in the wrestling ring, and Universal Pictures believe a good mint could be made off that popularity. If Dwayne Johnson plays his cards correctly, he could be the next Bruce Willis, Sly Stallone, or even Arnold Schwarzenegger of action films.
The story centers on a leader of a band of assassins, who is hired to kill an important royal figure but gets more in this job then anybody bargained for. Mathayus, the last of a fleeting group of assassins, is hired by the leaders of rebel tribes to kill a sorcerer they believe their enemy is using to help him conquer the lands of Egypt. He accepts the job and arrives in the city of Gomorrah but when he realizes that the sorcerer is a beautiful woman, plans change quickly. He chooses to kidnap her instead of an assassination thus forcing the evil tyrant to bring everything he's got into a final confrontation between the remaining rebel tribes and ruling forces. Stephen Sommer was the director of the previous Mummy films but choose not to direct this spin-off feature and the pacing of this film showcases that. Though critics hammered The Mummy films for being hookie and cheesy, they never said once that they were not consistent. This is a problem that The Scorpion King never seems to solve as moments of romance and hilarity seem forced compared to the non-stop action sequences that work so well.
The relatively small cast for The Scorpion King can only be described at meeting some expectations but not exceeding them if they some members even get to that level. This is the first major leading role for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and surely won't be his last, at least based on the action sequences. The role of Mathayus (aka The Scorpion King) seems specifically designed for the former wrestler as he fits extremely well into the character though there aren't many well designed sequences to showcase his true acting chops. But then again, do you really expect those kinds of sequences in action flicks? Kelly Hu, who plays Cassandra, seems, at times, too confined into the typical woman role in action films but does get involved in some of the fight sequences, which is a welcomed change in Hollywood today. The remainder of the cast worked well together but not great.
Overall, The Scorpion King, with its flashes of skin and heavy metal music, will no doubt satisfy the hardcore action freaks but will leave others starving. Unlike the previous Mummy films, The Scorpion King suffers in the story department as the story seems too caught up with the action sequences to makes the rest of the film as consistent. The film will no doubt bring out fans of action flicks as well as fans of The Rock and they will get everything they are looking for. But women and those who care more about the story then the action may find it on the bland side of things. If you are looking for a decent feature to start off your summer then hold your money for Spider-Man.