The Scorpion King (2002)
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Review Date: April 17, 2002
Director: Chuck Russell
Writer: Stephen Sommers, David Hayter, Will Osborne
Producers: Stephen Sommers, James Jacks, Kevin Micher
The Rock as The Scorpion King
Kelly Hu as Cassandra
Michael Clarke Duncan as Balthazar
A prequel to THE MUMMY RETURNS, this film details the origin of the character known as The Rock...I mean, The Scorpion King. The story starts off with his brother being killed by a baddie, which leads him to seek revenge. After that, well...there's a lot of ass-kicking and then, the final credit sequence. That's basically it.
I don't know shit about wrestling. I see it on the tube every now and then, but don't pay it much attention, but I do know of one Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, and I have to admit that I quite like the dude. Every time that I've seen him on a talk show or on Saturday Night Live, he comes off like a down-to-earth, funny and charming fella, who doesn't seem to mind poking a little fun at himself. It also doesn't hurt that he's "easy on the eyes", if you know what I mean. Anyway, the reason I'm telling you all this is because I think your own appreciation or indifference toward the man, will likely increase/decrease your opinion of this film. Not that it's entirely about him, but since the film itself is actually quite generic in plot, characters and development, you really have to connect with the dude in order for you to stay "into it". The film does however have plenty of sword-fights, fisticuffs and babes with nice cleavage, if you're into that kind of thing that is (hehehe) but even they are all pretty much "by the numbers" (although boobs are always nice to look at, so forget that part). But if you're not looking for something terribly original, don't mind a quick pace and an empty story, you might just have some mindless fun with this film. It barely lasts 90 minutes, it moves from one action piece to the next with mucho speed (and no blood either-all off-screen) and the Rock drops a few decent one-liners into the mix, an eyebrow at just the right moment and seems to be having a good time.

His own charisma also comes through the character, despite the pretty bad dialogue that he (and others like him) are forced to deliver ("Live free...die well" Huhh???). Thankfully, there wasn't as much mumbo-jumbo talk as I believed there would be, as the filmmakers seemed smart enough to zone in on what was best for such a movie: action, small interlude, action, comic relief, action, babes and yes, more action! Most of the physical interplay in the movie wasn't too creative though...sword clashes and all that jazz. I did like the fact that they stayed away from CGI, for the most part, and thankfully spared us any more of that horrid scorpion king CGI which ruined the ending of THE MUMMY RETURNS for me. Yikes! I still can't believe how bad that looked. Incidentally, wasn't he a "bad guy" in that movie? Hmmmm, they didn't really explain that here, but I guess plot analysis isn't exactly the thing to do with this kind of movie. When you get juicy lines of dialogue like the Rock saying "I've come for the woman...and your head!" you really should know what to expect. I would however advise that you wait for video to see this flick, since it doesn't really bring anything new or original to the forefront.

It includes the usual annoying "comic relief" character (who most people in the audience seemed to enjoy), a "cute" kid who gets in on the act (yawn), a boring "bad guy" and plenty of the Rock shirtless and kicking ass (which ain't all bad, actually). Oh yeah, I also want to mention the lovely Kelly Hu, who walks around half-naked for most of the film (with loin cloths in just the right places), and sports a hot little body to boot. Will this film blow you away? No. Does it have a good story? Actually, maybe the question should be "Does it even have a story?" The answer to both of those questions is "no", but the film consistently pummels you with action, offers a pretty decent showing from the Rock and did feature one really cool scene in which the People's Champion is buried up to his neck in sand, while a zillion giant red ants start to make their way towards him. The way in which the Rock took care of a few of those insects is more of what the film needed: more originality, more fun, more Rock, baby!! The man's already got charisma up the yin-yang, so why have him mask it under another, more boring character for the movie? Here's hoping that his next step up to bat will fly higher than this one.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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