The Scorpion King


Directed by: Chuck Russell
Written by:David Hayter, Will Osborne, Stephen Sommers
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Steven Brand, Kelly Hu, Michael Clarke Duncan, Peter Facinelli
Released: April 28, 2002
Grade: C+

This is a movie for the Homer Simpsons of the world - those who prefer action over story.  The Scorpion King is a spin-off of The Mummy Returns in which WWF star Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) made a very small appearance as yes, the Scorpion King.  He was only in the movie for about 10 minutes but it didn’t stop Universal Pictures flogging the hell out of his “appearance” knowing the huge appeal the WWF has in the United States.  So it seemed a natural progression that they give him his own movie but instead of creating something new, they used his character from The Mummy Returns to generate another crazy Egyptian story.

To be honest, I can’t remember much of the screenplay.  During this part of the review I go through a detailed description of the plot but with all the strange character and place names, I’m struggling to piece it together in a word form.  But the essence of the story is the same as most every action film that has gone before.  There’s a good guy.  There’s the good guy’s wacky sidekick.  There’s the bad guy.  There’s the bad guy’s girl who gets won by the good guy.  There’s about 10,000 pawns who get killed in the process (none of whom matter).  Have I forgotten anything?

The Scorpion King relies solely on sound effects editing to create the illusion of action.  Like a WWF show (which are on Foxtel way too much these days), it’s all fake and phony.  I’m sure when someone has a sword driven through their body, it doesn’t usually make a horrible squelching sound but when you do it in a movie, it somehow gives people the impression it is real.

The Rock has a presence on screen and I can see he has novelty appeal but I’ll easily tire if he keeps dishing up such films (which he will).  As the Jean-Claude Van Dammes, Sylvester Stallones and Dolph Lungrens have shown us, action stars who aren’t willing to diversify have a very limited shelf life.  Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile) is the most high-profile actor of the cast but you wouldn’t believe he’s a previous Academy Award nominee from his stale performance.

There’s plenty of big holes.  The most obvious is a scene towards the beginning when The Rock has been buried up to his neck and about to be attacked by killer ants.  He is rescued by his friend but what is never explained is how his friend escaped or how he saved The Rock in time.  With such little appeal to me, why bother continuing...