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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 Brian McKay

"It is what it is. . ."
3 stars

And what it is is basically shit that's been buffed to a shiny brown with Hollywood Shineola. Upon further reflection, I've decided to give it 3 stars, though my conscience wouldn't let me at first. However, after expecting so much from "Frailty" and recieving so little, I have to give TSK that extra star simply because it was at least able to live up to its expectations and didn't try to pawn itself off as more than it was. It's a bad movie that I hate to like, with just enough fun action and prickteasing eye candy to keep me going through the dreary desert of horrible dialogue, bland characters, bad acting, and weak plot contrivances.

What you basically got here, plot-wise, is your cookie-cutter story from the Sword & Sorcery genre dungeon-master's playbook. An evil warlord dude named Memmnon (Steven Brand) is on a campaign to conquer the known world from his seat of power in the city of Gamorrah (yes, sister city of that fun-loving town Sodom). Memmnon is the latest dull, generic villain in a long line of crap-movie baddies, distinguished only by a ridiculous braided mullet. Whether he's so boring because Brand can't act, or because the script sucks balls, is a toss up.

The last of the free tribes decide to hire a trio of brother-assassins, led by Matthias (The Rock), to kill the Mullet King's ace-in-the-hole: an enigmatic figure known only as "The Sorceror". Legend has it that this sorceror can foretell the outcome of battles for Memmnon, assuring that he will only attack when victory is guaranteed. By killing the sorceror, they hope to kill the king's advantage and demoralize his troops.

So when Matthias finally manages to get close enough for the kill, he discovers that the sorceror is really a sorceress in the form of a super-hottie named Cassandra (Kelly Hu). He naturally doesn't kill her, because, well, have you seen what she looks like? Turns out that she has been kept captive by Memmnon since she was a young lass, and the only reason he hasn't ravaged her eight ways from Sunday is because her gift of sight is linked to her virginal status. The moment the polarity of her knee-magnets gets reversed, he can forget ever winning at the track again. Needless to say, she forgoes any chance of heading up the Gamorrah chapter of the Psychic Friends network the minute she gets with The Rock alone in a tent for five minutes.

This of course leads to his undoing, as he is captured and his brothers killed. Naturally, he escapes with the help of a comedic sidekick, played by Grant Heslov. Heslov, who was much funnier as Faisl in "True Lies" (probably because that movie didn't completely suck), is not able to wrestle so much as a chuckle from the languid script. In fact, his character is so forgettable, he is billed merely as "comedic sidekick". With this annoying hanger-on in tow, Mathias sets out on a quest to rescue Cassandra, unite the free tribes (led by Michael Clarke Duncan as "Balthazar", the only player who brings any real charisma to his role), and avenge himself on Memmnon.

"Scorpion King" does nothing to rise above the standard conventions of the genre, and it was obviously made on a smaller budget than the "Mummy" franchise, since the sets are far less impressive and we are not treated to any mega-battles with thousands of scimitar-wielding screamers running across the desert towards eachother. But it does have a few things going for it. The Rock is a horrible actor, make no mistake. Horrible. But what he lacks in thespian prowess, he makes up for in physical agility. He certainly has no problem carrying off the fight scenes, and he has enough likeable charisma about him to make two hours of brooding, scowling, and grimacing somewhat bearable.

As for the fights themselves, they can be fairly entertaining and are comptetently executed, although they aren't anything mind-blowing. At least there are no Matrix rip-offs, although Rock naturally throws in a few body slams and other WWF-patented moves. Besides clanging swords, the film boasts that other crucial ingredient of S&S flicks - female skin. The film is populated with a gaggle of impossibly hot, scantily-clad women. Queen among them is Kelly Hu, who clearly reigns atop the sliding scale of "+Hotness\-Clothing". However, while she is a stunning woman, and not a horrible actress, it is doubtful that being cast in this mish-mash is going to do much towards her career as a leading lady. Worst of all, except for one or two moves, she doesn't get to show off any of her Kung-fu chops, and is mostly reduced to a placid damsel in distress.

After seeing a fantasy epic done the right way, as in "Lord of the Rings", it's hard to take a piece of fluff like this seriously. Granted, it wasn't meant to be more than a piece of fluff, but it could have been more entertaining fluff. I have never seen so many misfired jokes and painfully spoken lines. And where was all the tits and blood? If you're going to make a hack-and-slash film, but don't have a big budget or quality script to make an epic out of it, then at least compensate by throwing in tits and blood! Every S&S shlock film in the eighties had nothing but, and this film is all but begging for it. Hu comes as close to full frontal nudity as humanly possible, and when I wasn't praying for a nip-slip, I was hoping that the Rock could at least lop a few heads off. Instead, all that he decapitated were a few shitty-looking CGI cobras. At least the bad guy's death scene was fairly cool.

I'm sure we've not heard the last of the Scorpion King, if Wrestlemania fans and horny teenage boys have any say in the matter (and when it comes to target demographics, they most certainly do). But if we're not going to at least get a decent script and epic battles out of the next one, can we please have a little compensation in the way of an R-rating, some truly bloody carnage, and a nudity clause for Hu?

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originally posted: 04/22/02 06:28:43
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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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