With plenty of bravado, bad hair and stern looks to make up for the lack of brain cells, The Rock rocks the screen in this The Mummy spin off. It's action, action, skimpy girls and then some more action, as this popcorn shaker of a film plays to its strengths.Set in some sort of mish-mash part-historical part-just-plain-made-up setting in the past (kinda like Hercules and Xena except in Africa), The Rock plays Mathayas, an Arcadian and one of the last of his people. He and his cohorts are guns-for-hire (well, swords-spears-sling-shots-fire-fists-and-what-ever-else-is-handy-for-hire) and are employed by a group of tribes who aren't up for the job in fighting the forces of the evil Memnon (Brand). Memnon has a tactical advantage in the form of The Sorceress, Cassandra (Hu) who can predict the future. It's up to The Rock to save the day and kick ass on the way.
You wouldn't normally expect to be impressed by something that is a spin off of a movie franchise that stars a WWF wrestler. Those sorts of bloodlines would normally have you screaming for the hills. Yet thanks to Chuck Russell's frenetic directing it all manages to work remarkably well.
The Rock isn't all that bad actually - for what he has to do anyway. His acting ability must have been honed in all that playacting going on in WWF. There is a notable absence of audience cringing anytime he opens his mouth as his dialogue is spoken well enough.
But you don't watch this film to watch The Rock open his mouth; you watch it to see him close his fist. Preferably whilst it's moving at a rapid rate at someone's head - and plenty of it you see.
This movie plays to its strengths and exploits them triumphantly. The pace makes lighting look lethargic and it all looks suitable over the top. This is no studied grand historical epic a la Gladiator. It's a boy's own romp that thumps and barges its way along rather nicely.
While The Rock is a measure of weights, dieting and steroids and Hu looking thankfully non-anorexic, it all falls down when we see Duncan with his shirt off. When he displays his ample waistline it's not a pretty sight I tell you.It all works well as Russell plays to the winning cards he has in his hand. The Scorpion King is great fun and will entertain for its allotted time.