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by Jack Sommersby

"Grade-Z Junk"
1 stars

If you're seeking out some undemanding entertainment filled with exciting action, be advised to look elsewhere.

The godawful Scorpion is the spurious attempt to make a martial-arts movie star out of the unfortunately-named Tonny Tulleners, who’s so inanimately wooden he’d give a cigar-store Indian statue a run for the money in the vitality department. The publicity material makes sure to mention the black-belt Tulleners once defeated Chuck Norris in competition, and though he similarly sports a mustache and moderately-longish hair he hasn’t a tenth of Norris’s screen presence, assurance, and adeptness with dialogue (in fact, he speaks probably no more than a hundred words in the entire movie, which turns out to be a blessing not only because of his sluggish delivery but due to the dialogue being so direly dreadful). For no discernible reason, the story starts out in a small village in Spain where Tullener’s U.S. paramilitary-squad agent Steve “Scorpion” Woods parks a red Porsche 911, enters a bar for a beer, and winds up beating up a drunken bully. I take that back -- there is a reason: so the patrons can remark on his fighting abilities as “unbelievable” and “incredible”; and later on down the line someone again uses "incredible" in awe of him. (It’s akin to an untalented comedian performing in a club populated by his friends who are the only ones laughing at his pathetic jokes.) Immediately after returning to the States, Woods is apparently the only one who can thwart a skyjacking at the very same airport he’s arrived at, which leads to one of many ho-hum, poorly-choreographed action scenes that are about as exciting as a Tupperware convention. And then he’s assigned to provide protection duty for a Middle Eastern terrorist scheduled to testify to a Senate subcomittee against his superiors; inexplicably, though, after arriving at the safe house and meeting his fellow agents who’ll be pulling guard duty, he goes back to his houseboat, and just so an attack by two assassins can take place without him being there so he can be the lone survivor among his team. This leads to another attempt on the life of the now-wounded terrorist at the hospital, and even after it’s been thwarted the movie spends an inordinate amount of time there and then back at the safe house even after the crux of the action has already happened at these locations -- it’s the very definition of “padding.” From here we get one bone-headed talking-heads scene after another, which you figure would be a definite no-no in an action picture, and it all culminates in a lackluster helicopter/speedboat chase with the ultimate in skewed spatial logistics rendering it a laughingstock even when placed alongside an Edward D. Wood production. It’s quite the understatement that Tulleners doesn’t move particularly well (it’s as if he had quicksand rather than blood coursing through his veins), and in the exchanges with his co-stars he stares blankly and takes an eternity to get the words out. Added to which, the studio employed the abysmal William Riead, who spent ten years making behind-the-scenes movie featurettes, and makes his debut here writing and producing and directing this titanic terror of a turkey that not even a mother could even remotely love. For all its ultra-incompetence, Scorpion (obviously titled after the enjoyable Sylvester Stallone Cobra from earlier in the year) has all the sting of a drunken bee.

Pure torture to sit through.

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originally posted: 04/15/15 11:52:37
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  01-Dec-1986 (R)



Directed by
  William Riead

Written by
  William Riead

  Tonny Tulleners
  Don Murray
  Robert Logan
  Allen Williams
  Kathryn Daley

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