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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.06%
Worth A Look: 23.53%
Pretty Bad: 23.53%
Total Crap: 17.65%

5 reviews, 55 user ratings

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Scorpion King, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"The cinematic equivalent of 3 Snickers bars."
3 stars

There's a reason you never ask "How is it?" when someone's eating a Snickers bar. We all know what candy tastes like, we all feel guilty for enjoying it so much, and there's really no reason for further introspection. The Scorpion King is a lot like that candy bar; it's predictably enjoyable in a "I really should know better" kinda way.

Obviously inspired by such sweaty action flicks as Kull the Conqueror, The Mummy and (most clearly) Conan the Barbarian, this prequel to a sequel to a remake is a fitfully entertaining affair, one that will undoubtedly enthrall its target audience, while their parents watch on and enjoy the flick in begrudging fashion.

While The Scorpion King is most certainly a mindless piece of B-movie escapism, you simply have to give a genre flick some credit when it manages to deliver the goods. That The Scorpion King entertains more capably than its predecessor (The Mummy Returns) may seem a bit surprising, except when you remember how dreary and amateurish The Mummy Returns was. In that film, audiences were briefly introduced to an antagonist who was half-man and half-scorpion (as played by professional wrestler The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson) and plans were quickly devised to give the hulking fan fave his own project.

Despite my early tendency to dismiss such projects for the mindless money machines they usually are, I'm glad to report that The Scorpion King is actually a pretty damn fun little B-movie, one that's fully aware of its low-concept lineage and instead of making apologies simply sets out to offer a colorful good time.

The plot is an entirely disposable entity, but suffice to say that it involves the requisite swords & sandals machinations: a hulking and noble warrior is determined to kill a wholly evil monarch. Along the way, our hero befriends all the characters we know and love: the wacky comic-relief sidekick, the hulking rival who becomes a loyal ally, the doddering old wizard who saves the day, the scantily-clad damsel gal, and of course the feral but sweet-faced young kid.

No, you won't get anything resembling "originality" in The Scorpion King, but what you will get is a "carbon copy" barbarian flick template that succeeds to some degree thanks to its brisk pace (clocking in under 90 minutes), a handful of thrilling action sequences, and a sense of humor that (for the most part) works pretty well.

Making the leap from "professional wrestling" to a starring role, Johnson is certainly no Laurence Olivier - but heck, neither is a certain "Arnie" that we all know and love. Much of The Scorpion King's press has pointed out how weak Johnson is in the film, but his is FAR from the weakest performance in the film! (Odd that Johnson would earn such venom while professional actor Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile) chimes in with one of the most unintentionally hilarious performances of the past ten years!)

The only thing that matters with disposable flicks like this one is whether or not they deliver the goods. The Scorpion King is entirely familiar, almost painfully silly, and cheesy to the point of cholesterol damage. But the actions scenes are frequent and kinetic, the showy effects are kinda fun, and the cast (for the most part) seems to know how wacky the whole affair is. Keep in mind that this comes from someone who enjoys flicks like The Beastmaster and The Sword and the Sorcerer, but The Scorpion King is an enjoyable Snickers bar of a movie. Nothing more.

One very cool thing about mindless popcorn flicks like this one is that they quite simply breed film buffs. A 13 year-old dazzled by the mindless light shows and sword fights of The Scorpion King (and its ilk) are the next generation's movie freaks. These are precisely the kinds of movie that cinephiles remembers fondly from their childhood, and that's always a good thing.

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originally posted: 04/24/02 13:12:25
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User Comments

5/20/12 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
12/26/09 Jeff Wilder Perfect example of the words "big budget nothing". 2 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner Intense Action!!! 5 stars
2/04/08 Pamela White watch just to see the Rock's muscles 3 stars
8/02/06 dan watever you do keep away from this film. 1 stars
7/22/06 Business Hello! 1 stars
7/22/06 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
4/13/05 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
8/27/04 American Slasher Goddess Predictable and bland 2 stars
8/03/04 Anthony G fuck this movie 1 stars
2/24/04 Keith Fun, entertaining, and good eye candy 4 stars
12/11/03 john could have been even worse but it's bad enough - pass! 2 stars
9/21/03 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
5/02/03 JL Pretty cool actually, entertaining enough. 4 stars
4/19/03 Ubu the Ripper Much more enjoyable than the other two "Mummy" movies. Worth a sequel. 4 stars
10/20/02 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
10/06/02 Butterbean The Rock looks yummy here. Theres good action, but the story is a bore. 3 stars
10/02/02 John McNew A twinkie of a movie 4 stars
9/24/02 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
7/19/02 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
6/19/02 Oscar Though not an award winner, its awesomely entertaining 5 stars
6/12/02 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
5/13/02 J Once again I'm in agreement with D.F.E on a film. 4 stars
5/11/02 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
5/10/02 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
4/26/02 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
4/25/02 Andrew Good Stuff! Mindless Action, Worth seeing, Rock is cool, Kelly Hu is Awesome 4 stars
4/25/02 Mister Char it wasn't that bad, i enjoyed the acting style of the rock 3 stars
4/25/02 Brian Kissinger I went in expecting little, and was pleasantly surprised. Not great, but better than expect 3 stars
4/25/02 Janx Complete Hollywood bullshit. Stupid action sequences, many ripped off from other movies 1 stars
4/23/02 IP Freely I would have given this flick 5 stars if Kelly Hu was naked, she is extremely hot 2 stars
4/23/02 KMG I didn't know the Akkadians were hairless! WOW! 2 stars
4/22/02 Rock Climber Celluliod diarrhea, a 1st-grade play has better acting, calling it 'shit' is a compliment 1 stars
4/22/02 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
4/21/02 Fizamajig Good. lame in parts, 4 stars
4/21/02 hi its like xena warrior princess but shitty and the jokes are even worse 1 stars
4/20/02 Dom Corleone Not bad - not good either 3 stars
4/20/02 Dorkus I'm 13 and I love 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
4/09/02 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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