The Scorpion King Movie Review
The Rock was in The Mummy Returns for about five minutes total, yet studio executives at Universal Pictures were more than willing to greenlight a prequel based on his character - the villain - before that movie was even released. Their gamble paid off. The Scorpion King rocketed to approximately a hundred million dollars, with a lead actor who can hardly be considered an actor.
First off, The Mummy Returns sucked. It was complete garbage, with bad graphics, terrible acting, and a God-awful script. Throughout the previews The Rock was featured as an emerging new star, yet he was given less than two minutes in the beginning, and the chance for his face to be computer-generated onto a giant scorpion at the end. Yes, it was a bad, bad film, and so I was not looking forward to The Scorpion King, because it looked even worse and lacked even one serious actor.
So, of course, I wait until video and here I am, writing a review for a movie I was expecting to hate and really didn't. Perhaps my expectations were set so low that The Scorpion King had to come in on top, but when all is said and done, it has enough action and entertainment to tide any action-lover over. Though not really similar, it stems back to the original, 1999 The Mummy, which was cheesy but still exciting and fun. Anyone wanting any kind of serious historical epic, or even a serious action pic will probably be disappointed, since The Scorpion King has its fair share of [bad] one-liners, but if you go in just looking for a mindless good time, this film might suffice.
The story is good enough for an action movie; it never tries to act more complicated than it is, and avoids any really cheesy subplots. As far as the action goes, there is plenty of it, and the sequences are usually long and fast. One can tell that The Scorpion King would really like to be an R-rated movie, since many of the blows received by the various villains would look much more authentic with blood and gore, and the many scantily-clad woman would look much better without the scantily-clad part. Alas, it is what it is, and is a relatively safe movie even for some younger kids, as long as their parents don't mind a lot of fighting.
The only poorly-done part is the beginning, where The Rock takes on dozens of men single-handedly, performing all kinds of tricks that he surely couldn't do. Mixed with some authentically bad one-liners, it is a very disappointing and discouraging ending, but once that has passed, the movie only gets better.
The only real flaw I saw in this film lies in the main character's destiny. In the beginning of The Mummy Returns (if I remember correctly), he is described as a ruthless warlord with an army of the undead, and he attacks the humans without remorse. In the end of that dreadful film, he is a giant scorpion trying to kill Brendan Fraser. In The Scorpion King, he is a likeable warrior fighting against an evil tyrant and ends up establishing a peaceful kingdom. How is this character supposed to be the same as the conqueror seen in The Mummy Returns? It doesn't make any sense, and I really don't see The Scorpion King turning into a trilogy where he turns to "the dark side."
The Scorpion King is by no means a fabulous movie, and I would pick a smarter action film over it any day of the week, but when all is said and done, it could have been a lot worse, and really was not that bad. It lacks connection with The Mummy Returns, but has enough sting to it.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.