Published Dec 01, 2002There is no question that the Hollywood action/adventure movie has fallen on hard times, what with the bulk of its tested hunks succumbing to the rigours of age and its up-and-comers having all the combined charisma of an inanimate carbon rod, and Mummy franchise spin-off The Scorpion King is no exception. The debut starring vehicle for Dwayne Johnson (better known as the WWF's the Rock), The Scorpion King is a prequel of sorts to the Mummy movies (although it has little to do with either), and was a far better movie the last time it was made, which was when Kevin Sorbo resurrected the concept and it was called Kull The Conqueror. And considering that Kull was an unintelligent and pale imitation of Arnold's Conan franchise, this bodes poorly for The Scorpion King.
There is absolutely nothing new, original or even all that good about The Scorpion King, with all of its ideas and plot borrowed (and heavily diluted) from better movies. The Rock plays Mathayus, a super-kick-ass assassin hired to kill an evil king (Memnon); along the way he is betrayed and captured. His brother killed, Mathaysus seeks revenge, killing (with surprisingly little gore) everything that gets in his way, picking up the comic relief thief character (who isn't even named in the movie), winning the girl (the clairvoyant sorceress), uniting the oppressed people, defeating everything that is remotely evil and eventually becoming king.
As a prequel it utterly fails, giving no insight into the Scorpion King of The Mummy Returns (they are, for all intents and purposes, two separate and unconnected characters), and as an action movie it is staid, uninspired and bordering on laughable; even veterans like Michael Clarke Duncan phone it in on this one. However, if The Scorpion King possess a glimmer of hope, it is the fact that Johnson possess the natural charisma and base acting ability to carry an action movie, coming off quite well in an otherwise trite celluloid endeavour, and offers hope that with the right script, he good actually carry a good action movie.