" It's been done before, it's been done better, and it shouldn't be done again. "
Title: The Scorpion King by Universal
Format: Action Movie
Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult
The Hype: You know him best as the horribly rendered CGI villain from "The Mummy Returns". Now, the Scorpion King's rise to power is documented in this new action flick starring WWF's The Rock. Finally, you can watch him swing swords, throw punches, and raise his eyebrow on the big screen.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Acting: Let me start
off by answering the first question everyone I know asked: Can The Rock act?
Well, the short answer, surprisingly, is yes. Unfortunately, the long answer
is that you'll only get to see it in 3-second snippets once or twice throughout
the movie. The rest of the time, you'll see The Rock, as The Rock, with a sword.
Not that that's necessarily a bad thing…it's just a little bland. In a strange
twist, however, the 2 dimensional acting and paper thin characterizations you
might have been expecting Rock to deliver was instead manufactured by the vast
majority of the rest of the cast. From Michael Clarke Duncan's down right laughable
co-starring attempt to Steven Brand stick-up-the-ass-wooden presentation as
the villain, it's almost 2 hours of bad high school drama cinema. The only notable
exception to this is the motivated, though script-limited performance by Kelly
Hu as the female lead. She's smart, funny, and sexy…and is quickly lost in the
tidal wave of crap this movie shoves at you.
But, in the actor's defense, it's probably not their fault. I say that because backing them is one of the single lamest scripts Hollywood has coughed up in the last decade. The story, simply enough, is that we are introduced to the soon-to-be scorpion king when he was just a lowly assassin who wanders the land, trying to pretend he's a bad ass killer for higher, but all the while actually displaying his inner bleeding heart liberal roots. He spares lives, falls in love, protects children, and in general does everything else imaginable to completely betray his supposed murderer persona and that would get a real life hit man killed in 45 seconds. All the while, he's surrounded by a Xena reject cast that would make even Sam Raimi blush. There's the enemy turned best friend barbarian, the inexplicably magical but ultimately worthless comic relief, the villain without cause, the moody mount, the kid (why is there always a frickin' kid!?!), and even the completely unexplained fake-breasted Amazon horde. Yes, every cliché you can think of manages to be represented here. Badly. And the story…the retarded, resurrected, recycled, rubbish that tries to act as the backbone of the flick, is downright painful to think about. Bad guy is put in good guy situation, becomes good guy, falls for girl, saves kid, makes friends, saves world.
The Scorpion King is among the worst cookie-cutter Hollywood has to offer…and pray to the High Monkey that it's not something we'll see a lot more of in 2002. 1 out of 5
Action: Without question the highlight of the film, which is good 'cause it's an action movie, is the action. Dynamic, elaborate, and most importantly, constant- this flick delivers fight after fight after fight after fight. Even better is the fact that almost none of it is pro-rasslin'! Now, don't get me wrong, I love the WWF as much as the next monkey…but we don't need to see another transition actor who runs around suplexing and pile driving everyone. We got enough of that with Hogan and Piper. Instead, The Rock actually demonstrates some dynamic hand-to-hand, some proficient sword work, and a performance that is almost completely void of his wrestling origins. All in all, it's pretty damned sweet. 4 out of 5
Visuals and Directing: You know what I love about Hollywood the most? Every now and then they'll come along and make a movie that is really just a compilation of a whole bunch of movies that came before it…so you don't actually have to and watch all those old movies, you can just watch the new one to get all the best scenes instead. Have a craving for the "1 man hunts a squad" scene from First Blood? No problem, it's put, almost verbatim, into The Scorpion King. Missing the "foreign guy with gun powder" gags from such classics as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves? No worries! The Rock and pals have it as a secret weapon 1000 years before Egypt! Yes, all your favorites are represented here. From Conan the Barbarian to the Beast Master, Scorpion King begs, borrows, or down right steels ¾ of its content from the tripe that's come before it. Add to that some down right crappy camera angles and half assed lighting and you've got a movie that will make you nostalgic for the 80's again. .5 out of 5
Sound Track: The other great aspect of this film, the music is crisp, sharp, and absolutely appropriate. From its occasional rock offerings to the score, Scorpion Kings sound track is a complete winner. 4 out of 5
Value vs. Admission: Well, you get lots of fighting, Rock's acting debut, a cool soundtrack, and the almost painfully sexy Kelly Hu. Unfortunately, you have to sit through an incredibly crappy and regurgitated movie to get there. Worth it? Well, we paid matinee and are still wishing we hadn't. 2 out of 5
|Not only is it crap, but it is recycled crap to boot…and that just makes me angry. They had a great cast, a cool hero, and a built in audience with all the wrestling fans who will flock to see it. Why they couldn't got the extra step and actually make it worth watching is beyond me.|
The Good: The Rock is fun, Kelly Hu is sexy, and the fighting is good.
The Bad: This movie is one giant recycled joke.
The Overall Ugly: It's been done before, it's been done better, and it shouldn't be done again.
What it's Worth: Rental with lots of other people to defer the cost.