Reviews

The Scorpion King

By Garth Franklin
The Scorpion King

Sure 1999's "The Mummy" was derivative to the extreme of "Indiana Jones", but the offbeat humour, enjoyable characters and interesting use of effects turned it into easily digestible and fun popcorn fare.

Last year's follow-up "The Mummy Returns" on the other hand was a mess - the humour was toned down in favour of larger set pieces which rarely worked and the decently tight script of the first film was replaced with a very inconsistent and poorly assembled one second time around.

"The Scorpion King" has even less of a script than 'Returns' but at least a bit more of a sense of down to earthiness about it. 'King' realises its a low budget clone of "Conan: The Barbarian" and so plays to that level, resulting in a bad movie no question, nevertheless there's a small amount of trashy fun to be had.

'The Rock' has proven likeable in interviews and even a guest appearance on "Star Trek: Voyager", but on the big screen he's yet to really shine through and here's no exception. His debut as a leading feature film actor is fine but certainly nothing remarkable and lacking the charisma on which he's become famous.

Steven Brand plays the one-dimensional foreign-accented bad guy and does an OK job with it, certainly better than a very disappointing Michael Clarke Duncan whilst all Peter Facinelli seems to be doing in his tiny role is either playing Memnon's love slave (only vaguely hinted at as after all this is a family film) or more overtly channeling Tom Cruise as the voice and mannerisms seem almost deliberate copies of the Cruiser.

The one shining star to come out of all this is Kelly Hu, the rather stunning lady not only holds her own but surpasses all the men around her and turns a very ordinary role into one which will hopefully lead to more work. None of the action is particularly exciting though it is well paced, FX are also lacklustre, yet there's a likeable goofiness to the proceedings.

'King' takes its subject matter a little more seriously than its parent franchise, but as a result a few subtle moments of humour make it fun. Still this is certainly NOT a franchise-creating movie like "The Mummy" was, mostly due to script which could've used a real re-tooling, and as cinematic fare goes its very ordinary.

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