The Scorpion King
Calm in the storm. Mathayus uses a quiet moment to woo Cassandra (Hu and Rock).
dir Chuck Russell
scr Stephen Sommers, William Osborne, David Hayter
with The Rock, Steven Brand, Kelly Hu, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bernard Hill, Grant Heslov, Peter Facinelli, Sherri Howard, Ralf Moeller, Roger Rees, Branscombe Richmond, Conrad Roberts
release US/UK 19.Apr.02
Universal
02/US 1h32

4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
warrior. legend. king. This spinoff from The Mummy films quite simply wipes the floor with them! It's much better made, leaving B-movie production values behind for a lively pre-biblical action romp with a post-modern sensibility. Switch off your brain and enjoy. The Rock reprises the role he played mostly in CGI in The Mummy Returns; Mathayus is a charismatic leader hired to kill the sorceress advisor (Hu) of a brutal tyrant (Brand) to free the desert people! But treachery abounds, and to save the day Mathayus must team up with a beefy tribal thug (Duncan), a thief (Heslov, in the Jar-Jar comedy sidekick role), a befuddled scientist (Hill), a pesky street urchin and a bevy of scantily clad desert babes.

The opening scene sets the comic book tone, complete with outrageous (and witty) battle choreography, followed by a silly punchline. But it's all so exaggerated and colourful that we go along for the ride. OK, so the story is preposterous, full of magical gibberish and stock characters from every action movie ever made. The Rock holds his own remarkably, eerily reminiscent of the Conan-era Arnie, but with a grasp of the English language. And he gets fine support from the cast, most of whom are oiled musclemen, simpering cohorts or feisty centrefold-model warriors. Everyone looks fantastic, with better than average production values on all levels--the ingenious cinematography looks like it was lit only with flames, the editing is swift and coherent, the dense musical score shifts from orchestral to heavy metal without a hitch, the effects are eye-popping and nearly seamless (something you could never say about either Mummy). And the action is inventive--way over the top and thoroughly entertaining. The swordplay actually escalates to the point where the blades are on fire! Profoundly stupid ... and fantastic.
violence, themes, innuendo cert 12 10.Apr.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
live free, die well send your review to Shadows... "I've read a couple reviews and I swear we saw two completely different films. Some people will eat anything. OK. Look: This movie sucked ... and I'm telling all. My wife said it perfectly, 'It's a cheesy Errol Flynn 2000.' The ending is unbearably corny. I was embarrassed for me, the crowd I saw the flick with and everyone involved. Don't, I repeat, don't expect anything like the Mummy films (which isn't saying much). There are almost no CGI, and what there is looked reeeaaally bad. I have to admit, I laughed a couple of times, but I laugh at a lot of stupid stuff. Cliches fly by so fast. There is not one scene in this dung that I haven't seen a hundred times. See Conan or Raiders or Mummy and you've just seen it done better. Sword fights does not a movie make. Yawn. I must be getting old." --Kirk Brainard, San Diego 16.Apr.02
2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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