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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.06%
Worth A Look: 23.53%
Just Average28.24%
Pretty Crappy: 23.53%
Sucks: 17.65%

5 reviews, 55 user ratings

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Scorpion King, The
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Neither as good nor as bad as you want it to be."
2 stars

Further proof that the '80s are back: 'The Scorpion King' is almost beat for beat identical to the many sword-and-sorcery movies we got circa 1982 or so -- I'm not even talking 'Excalibur' or 'Conan the Barbarian,' I'm talking 'The Beastmaster' and 'The Sword and the Sorcerer.'

The difference is that those movies were fun; this one isn't. And now the conundrum: Do I look back fondly on those movies because I was twelve at the time, and am I judging The Scorpion King unduly harshly because I'm almost 32 now? Will today's twelve-year-olds look back fondly on The Scorpion King in 2022? I have to wonder: By then they'll probably stumble across it on cable and be like, "Hey, remember this? Remember The Rock? Where's he now?"

Where The Rock is now is at a crossroads between WWF wrestler (and, let's shudder to recall, bestselling author) and movie star. Clearly he wants to follow a career track similar to that of Arnold Schwarzenegger (though he probably wants to skip the equivalents of Last Action Hero and Batman and Robin). The Rock has presence and even some range, or at least a cheerful willingness to play against his ring persona; I caught a couple of his skits on the Saturday Night Live he hosted, and he showed more energy than he ever does in The Scorpion King. The movie tries way too hard to package him as the next stoic head-cruncher.

Here he's Mathayus, mercenary warrior, one of the last of the Akkadians. One look at Mathayus and his bow in action, and you wonder why there are only a handful of his people left; plop him into the middle of a Lord of the Rings battle scene and he could probably take care of most of the Orcs simply by flexing in their direction. In short, he's a hero who's impossible to worry about and difficult to care about. Mathayus is out for the blood of Memnon (Steven Brand), a master swordsman who has enslaved thousands under the pretense of bringing order to a chaotic land. Memnon has the help of a sorceress (Kelly Hu) who can see the future -- she's named Cassandra, cutely enough -- and who promptly throws in with Mathayus and a comic-relief (read: annoying) horse thief (Grant Heslov) against Memnon, who it turns out has been forcing her to see the future for him.

Director Chuck Russell, who used to have some promise (rent his Blob remake and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 sometime), has shrewdly cast a bunch of mostly uninspired actors around The Rock, the better to make him look less bad. Kelly Hu has not one but two emerging-from-water-half-naked moments destined for the mental playlists of many twelve-year-old boys, and obviously hasn't been hired for any particular emoting acumen; Grant Heslov fails to be the scuzzy-funny sidekick Kevin J. O'Connor was in 1999's The Mummy (more on that in a minute); the massive, abyss-voiced Michael Clarke Duncan, as a warrior who shows enmity towards Mathayus until the script requires him to develop respect for him, does his Michael Clarke Duncan thing -- standing around and frightening nearby air molecules away just by frowning, then tossing in that big goofy grin that's as much his trademark as the eyebrow-elevation is The Rock's (he deploys the Eyebrow once, hip-deep in a harem).

The Scorpion King is a spin-off of Stephen Sommers' Mummy series; The Rock appeared briefly in The Mummy Returns as the Scorpion King, and this movie is meant, I guess, as the beginning of a prequel series. (One problem: since we know Mathayus eventually becomes the annihilating Scorpion King as seen in The Mummy Returns, one of the projected Scorpion King sequels has got to have a downer ending.) Chuck Russell, who doesn't seem to share Sommers' adolescent glee with action-adventure (he's happier making monster movies, I think), stages much of the action in a manner that's both hectic and bored; despite its whiplash running time, there are quite a few slow spots, never more so than when we're asked to believe in The Rock and Kelly Hu falling in love.

Hell, give me the spirit of Imhotep taking on the shape of a sandstorm and chasing soldiers across the desert; that, I can more readily accept.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5833&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/13/07 20:18:42
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User Comments

5/19/12 Sheryl Granholm A perfect example of how to overburden what could be a decent film with unnecessary CGI. 1 stars
5/15/11 stephen nettles Actually good 4 stars
12/25/09 Jeff Wilder Perfect example of the words "big budget nothing". 2 stars
9/02/08 Shaun Wallner Intense Action!!! 5 stars
2/03/08 Pamela White watch just to see the Rock's muscles 3 stars
8/01/06 dan watever you do keep away from this film. 1 stars
7/21/06 Business Hello! 1 stars
7/21/06 Dating Hello! 3 stars
8/18/05 ES and you thought the mummy and conan the destroyer were bad 2 stars
6/09/05 Amber Morton I hate this movie, it is really stupid i hate it i hate it i hate it dont ever watch it. 1 stars
4/12/05 Quigley a crap-fest from a bored director with the Rock as moronic and lame as ever. bull-crap! 1 stars
10/02/04 R.W. Welch Passable action fantasy: The Rock is convincing enough. Leave your brain at home. 3 stars
8/26/04 American Slasher Goddess Predictable and bland 2 stars
8/02/04 Anthony G fuck this movie 1 stars
2/24/04 Keith Fun, entertaining, and good eye candy 4 stars
12/10/03 john could have been even worse but it's bad enough - pass! 2 stars
9/20/03 CAT BLUES i hated it! it fuckin sucked it also scared me...but thats not the point! 1 stars
6/02/03 Sorceress I found it to be entertaining, and the Rock looked really good to me... ;) 5 stars
5/01/03 JL Pretty cool actually, entertaining enough. 4 stars
4/18/03 Ubu the Ripper Much more enjoyable than the other two "Mummy" movies. Worth a sequel. 4 stars
10/19/02 Vinay K What the heck. My kid liked it and wants a sword now. I, surprisingly sat thru. the movie. 4 stars
10/19/02 tj cool 5 stars
10/09/02 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng Childish and predictable, but still worth a look. Don't forget to switch off your brain! 4 stars
10/05/02 Butterbean The Rock looks yummy here. Theres good action, but the story is a bore. 3 stars
10/01/02 John McNew A twinkie of a movie 4 stars
9/23/02 syrius bad script, bad ending fight scene, hot girl, awesome action, balances out 3 stars
7/19/02 Cat an entertaining film should have been developed further a bit corny but funny 4 stars
7/18/02 stryper rocks sanitized sword & sandal - - lots of slayings with no blood & gore 3 stars
7/11/02 Sheila Evans Generic sword&sorcery from days of yore - nothing less, nothing more. 3 stars
6/18/02 Oscar Though not an award winner, its awesomely entertaining 5 stars
6/11/02 Eloise gives u that Xena, Hercules feeling and has silly lines, 'i've come for the woman', etc. 3 stars
5/30/02 JesseL A movie designed for boys between the ages of 8 and 16, and they loved it. 4 stars
5/12/02 J Once again I'm in agreement with D.F.E on a film. 4 stars
5/10/02 Veronica Foxx (The Raven-Haired Temptress) Not only is The Scorpion King not worth admission, you should get $8.50 to sit through it. 1 stars
5/10/02 malcolm non-white actors in all major roles -- cool. about what i expected. 3 stars
5/09/02 Left Nut The chick is hot. Try to sneak in, not worth the price of admission. 4 stars
4/26/02 othree I hate to call a fantasy/action movie flawless, but it was! The Rock deserves all Props! 4 stars
4/25/02 Melissa in NYC This is the worst movie I've seen this year!! Blatantly rips off other great movies - ACK!! 1 stars
4/25/02 Leon Trotsky Sound and fury, signifying nothing. 2 stars
4/25/02 Tri it kicks ass 5 stars
4/24/02 Andrew Good Stuff! Mindless Action, Worth seeing, Rock is cool, Kelly Hu is Awesome 4 stars
4/24/02 Mister Char it wasn't that bad, i enjoyed the acting style of the rock 3 stars
4/24/02 Brian Kissinger I went in expecting little, and was pleasantly surprised. Not great, but better than expect 3 stars
4/24/02 Janx Complete Hollywood bullshit. Stupid action sequences, many ripped off from other movies 1 stars
4/22/02 IP Freely I would have given this flick 5 stars if Kelly Hu was naked, she is extremely hot 2 stars
4/22/02 KMG I didn't know the Akkadians were hairless! WOW! 2 stars
4/21/02 Rock Climber Celluliod diarrhea, a 1st-grade play has better acting, calling it 'shit' is a compliment 1 stars
4/21/02 Ziggy Stardust at times i felt like i was watching a dumb highschool student film with an overblown budget 1 stars
4/21/02 Unanon Go with low expectations and you'll be amused. Too many rips from other movies to count... 2 stars
4/20/02 Fizamajig Good. lame in parts, 4 stars
4/20/02 hi its like xena warrior princess but shitty and the jokes are even worse 1 stars
4/19/02 Dom Corleone Not bad - not good either 3 stars
4/19/02 Dorkus I'm 13 and I love wrestling...do you think I have a boner for this movie? 1 stars
4/15/02 steve watched the film again this time sober, wow what a load of crap! 1 stars
4/08/02 steve dont like the rock but man you do not want to miss this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
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  19-Apr-2002 (PG-13)
  DVD: 29-Nov-2005



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