Written by Stephen Sommers, David Hayter, William Osborne, Jonathan Hales
Directed by Chuck Russell
C+

Running Time: 1:32

Rated PG-13
for intense sequences of action violence and some sensuality.

Starring
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson
as Mathayus - The Scorpion King

Steven Brand
as Memnon

Kelly Hu
as Cassandra

Michael Clarke Duncan
as Balthazar

Grant Heslov
as Arpid

Peter Facinelli
as Takmet

The Rock
The Rock

The Rock
The Rock

Scorpion King (Double Sided)
Scorpion King (Double Sided)

THE OPENING

Make no mistake... this movie is all about The Rock. Like him, you'll enjoy the movie. Don't like him, you'll be looking at your watch the entire time. While not up to the caliber of the two Mummy films, The Scorpion King has enough action and skin to make it entertaining.

THE STORY

In ancient times, there is a man named Memnon (Steven Brand) who rules his part of the world. With the sorceress Cassandra (Kelly Hu) by his side, there is no one that can stop him. Now, there are only a few tribes left, and Memnon is intent on slaughtering them all. The tribes band together and hire a group of mercenaries lead by Mathayus (The Rock). Their mission is to kill the sorceress, and end Memnon's power. But there is a double-crossing, and it is the sorceress who saves Mathayus. But his brother is killed by Memnon, and Mathayus vows revenge. The sorceress, tired of being a slave to Memnon, helps Mathayus in his quest to kill Memnon, and the tribes rally behind Mathayus and help him fight. By tradition, the greatest fighter within a tribe is made its king. By the end of the story, the Scorpion King is born.

THE REVIEW

As I said earlier, The Scorpion King doesn't live up to the movies it's been spun off of, the two Mummy films. The sets aren't as nice, the acting isn't as nice, and the story isn't as compelling. That's not to say the Mummy films were historical epics by any means, but there was a different look and feel to those movies. Here, the movie played out very cheesy from the start. The opening fight scene seemed more like a music video than a movie. The scenery looked like it was on an L.A. sound stage instead of making you feel like you were out in the middle of a desert somewhere. It all just didn't feel right.

Seeing as how The Rock has never headlined a movie before, they did a good job of keeping his dialogue short. It sounded a little odd that almost everyone else had an accent, and he just sounded like The Rock. Sort of an unintentional piece of comedy throughout. And speaking of comedy, they threw in a puny little sidekick for him that was nothing but comedy. For a while it was funny, but they kept going back to him over and over again, and after a while it got to be too much.

There wasn't enough seriousness in the movie to make you feel for any of the characters. I rooted for The Rock because I'm a WWF fan. I rooted for Kelly Hu because frankly she looked pretty damned hot in the film. Not wearing much clothing throughout the film was certainly helpful in keeping my attention. But the villain wasn't scary, either by his looks or his actions. He didn't do anything that made me think that anyone should be afraid of him, and he looked too skinny to just by physically imposing. The rest of the cast was just sort of there to help The Rock along.

I did enjoy the fight scenes a lot. While other than a large sandstorm there wasn't a lot of big special effects, the director did put The Rock's background as a wrestler to good use by having him do a lot of action sequences. His fight scenes with Michael Clarke Duncan and Steven Brand were pretty entertaining. And during the movie we did get to see a couple of headbutts, a body slam and at one point, The People's Eyebrow, so that was fun. The movie was short enough that there wasn't a whole lot of down time. Most of the time it just kept moving right along, heading to the inevitable finale. The story wasn't too involved and you knew exactly how it was all going to end, so it's more eye candy than anything else.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Overall The Scorpion King was a so-so film. The Rock in his headlining debut held up well enough and should have a decent career as an action hero, but needs to work on his emotional expressions if he wants to become an 'actor'. The story was straightforward with no twists and turns. There was a lot of eye candy for both men and women in this film, and the action sequences made up for the lack of set design and story. So if you're looking for a real escapist kind of film that doesn't make you think at all, The Scorpion King is right up your alley.


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