26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Great action, good story.,
When WWF superstar 'The Rock' decided to use his worldwide wrestling stardom as a segue into acting it was an enormous risk that paid off in 'The Mummy returns', but now it's time for Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson to step out in his own film, a prequel to the 'Mummy', 'The Scorpion' king.
The film was released on the 17th April in Australia and I had the chance to catch the first session in the country, and I have to admit I was very exited. I mean who wouldn't be? 'The Mummy' and 'The Mummy Returns' that have been dubbed `silly' by many were I feel two fabulous films. A wonderful mixture of action, comedy, romance and overall fun. 'The Scorpion King' follows this same formula, but misses the mark ever so slightly and thus loses marks in my books.
The film takes place before any of the pyramids have been built, back in the ancient land where warlord Memnon has conquered all the lands of the Old Kingdom, and where few people stand to fight his forces. When the scorpion king and his brother are sent to assassinate Memnon's sorcerer (who provides much of his power) they are caught and the scorpion king's brother is killed. This needless to say makes him very mad, and yearning for revenge. The story from here takes a turn when the scorpion king kidnaps the sorceress and consequently they fall in love.
The biggest plus the film offers is the amazing fight scenes, which are some of the best seen in a long time. In fact for a movie that has a run time of 110 minutes, probably 40 minutes of this is just the fighting. Wrestling fans may perhaps be disappointed that 'The Rock' doesn't do one 'Rock Bottom' or a 'People's elbow' is the course of the film, but in my mind this may have made the film feel a little hokey, relying on the wrestling angle too much.
So where does the problem fit in? Well 'The Scorpion King' isn't directed by Stephen Sommers (director of 'The Mummy' and 'The Mummy returns') and believes me it shows. The screenplay has all the wit and sparkle the other films had, but often the directing lets it down, at times making the story line fit into the action, rather than the other way around. Occasionally the film suffers for this.
'The Rock' Dwayne Johnson puts in a commanding performance as 'The Scorpion King' and in my mind his style can be likened to Arnold Schwartzenegger, hey, lets not forget just as 'The Rock' is using wrestling as his foot in the door Arnie did the same with his bodybuilding. His characterization is commanding and his knowledge of choreographed action is visible, as the fight scenes are some of the best around. It also need to be seen the Michael Clarke Duncan ('The Green Mile') playing Balthazar is hilarious, I mean the guy is 'The Rock's' biggest fan in real life and here they are fighting together.
Arguably the most popular character in the other two films was Jonathan (John Hannah) in 'The Scorpion King' the character is rehashed in the form of an all but nameless horse thief. Admittedly the character is hilarious, but on occasion his quips fall a little flat, plus part of Jonathan's charm in the other films is his flawed British attitude towards life.
While 'The Scorpion King' lacks some of the charm 'The Mummy' and 'The Mummy returns' possessed the film is nevertheless competent. The fight scenes are amazing and it easily holds up to any other action film out there. Even more so the film may serve Vince McMahon (executive producer) a way to gain some of his lost funds after the failure of XFL. This film is one that has to be watched in order to see the first major work of one of the futures greatest action stars in Dwayne Johnson. Overall a 3.5 star film.
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Initial post: Mar 4, 2009, 6:06:37 PM PST
Carmen E. Campos Tejera says:
The film's potential is glimpsed clearly, whenever Steven Brand appears, and I only wish he would have been allowed to direct this thing. We would have had, instead of an entertaining flick, a truly epic tale. He throws himself into the role of Memnon so passionately that we don't even notice that he is no match, physically, for Dwayne Johnson. A villain of this caliber deserves a hero to match. Unfortunately, Johnson is not up to the task, although it makes one wonder how he could have performed under the guidance of a more skilled director. In spite of this, Johnson shows enough screen presence to keep one watching, and that gives me hope that in subsequent outings HIS potential will be realized. In spite of all this, I really like this movie...
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