The Scorpion King(s)

Posted on June 19, 2013

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The Scorpion King

Did you know there were two sequels to the 2002 movie, The Scorpion King?

You probably saw that one. It made US $90 million in two months, so a lot of people saw it.

The other two, however, were direct to video/DVD/streaming releases, and today we’re going to talk about them.

Verdict

The only question in your mind should be: Are any of these good, trashy, fun?

So…

Let’s start with The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior.

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I would love to have been in the room for the pitch meeting. “We’ll get the Blue Power Ranger and make him go on a bunch of quests, and then he’ll fight an MMA champion. Those quys work cheap, right? They all want to be in movies. Throw in a hot girl and the movie practically writes itself!”

Yeah, except it doesn’t.

First off, Michael Copon (who plays the young Mathayus) is use to acting in Spandex coveralls with a motorcycle helmet on his head. He can do big physical movements, but he doesn’t display much skill in taking us on his character’s emotional journey.

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Then there’s Randy Couture as King Sargon. Now, Sargon of Akkad (2334 BC – 2279 BC) is geographically and chronologically correct for the story. Historically, Sargon was the first person to rule a multiethnic, centrally ruled, empire. Of course, the movie screws that up by having Sargon be a general in Babylon who takes Hammurabi’s throne.

Randy Couture is a side of beef. Oh, he’s fine in The Expendables. He shows some acting chops in them, and seems to understand his mercenary with a hidden intellectual side. As Sargon, however, he’s lost. He knows how to be physically menacing, but he’s no emperor.

Karen David is, frankly, slumming it in this movie. She’s a far better actor than any of her co-stars.

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Then, there’s The Scorpion King 3.

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What was the pitch for this? “Okay, so, the last movie wasn’t great. Let’s get some good actors this time, like Ron Perlman and Billy Zane. Zane hasn’t had a hit since Titanic, so he should come cheap. Then we’ll get some hungry young guy to play Mathayus, hire some different hotties, and mix up the MMA and the WWE for bad guys.”

Oh, and they upped the fantasy element as well. Surprisingly, it works better this time.

Plus, you know, ninjas!

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The hungry young guy they got for Mathayus was Victor Webster. He did some soap opera work, and then came to Crazy Uncle Rich’s attention in Mutant X. He works a lot, including recurring roles in shows like Lincoln Heights and Melrose Place. He’s currently working in Continuum on SyFy.

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Victor clearly watched the original Scorpion King. He gets Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s sense of humor. Unfortunately, the director, Roel Reine, made some movies in Holland and then The Marine 2 and Death Race 2 before this. He’s not up to the challenge, and everyone’s performance suffers for it.

Except for Ron Perlman and Billy Zane, who do great jobs in a crapfest, and make it look easy.

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Overall

If you want to watch a franchise bounce around in the abysmal depths of grade-Z cinema, get the Scorpion King movies and spend an afternoon laughing your backside off.

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Posted in: Movies