Universal // 2008 // 109 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 18th, 2008
Hey it's a sequel to a mediocre, underperforming sand-blasted fantasy adventure that no one asked for! Yay capitalism!
Telling the story of "The Scorpion King," before he turned into a guy that looks like The Rock and, eventually, a piss-poor CGI scorpion thing with a head that looks like The Rock, the sequel turns the hourglass back to when the titular badass was a plucky 20-something named Mathayus (Michael Copon).
See, Mathayus has sworn vengeance against Sargon (UFC star Randy Couture), an evil bastard who used black magic to murder Mathayus's father and ascends to the throne. Exiling himself to train as one of the king's premium soldiers, Mathayus hones his skills as a total badass. He returns to exact revenge n his father's killer, only to barely escape with his life. Then it's off on a quest to retrieve a magical sword from the underworld and finish his blood feud, once and for all.
Euthanize this franchise now, please, before it gets any worse. Then again, after having endured the brain-humping terror that is The Scorpion King 2 I'm not sure if could get any worse. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but trust me, you don't want to have anything to with his movie unless you're an absolute whore for Sci-fi Channel-quality twaddle. Don't be fooled by the Universal logo attached to the marketing: This release sports all the production quality, acting prowess and storytelling expertise of the lamest of low-budget fantasy epics.
The headliner for this outing is Randy Couture, who made his bones breaking them in the UFC cage. As a physical specimen, the guy is imposing; a hulking, ripped dude chiseled from whatever rock is indigenous to his homeland. He can carry himself in a fight and grimaces like a champ. Unfortunately, that's where the accolades for his performance end. The guy just can't sell the role, lending the Big Bad the dramatic weight of a coconut with his stilted line readings. In the end, he just isn't menacing, so when our hero eventually does square off with him in the Final Bad Guy Fight...no one cares.
On the other side, our protagonists don't fare much better. As the good guy lead, Michael Copon is lithe and good-looking and wears his leather stirrups like a pro. He sports a dope hairstyle, but, like his hulking counterpart, he's got the charisma of a dodge ball. Karen David plays second banana as the clichéd spunky female ass-kicking sidekick who gets real annoying real fast. They're all upstaged anyway by a Chinese character that doesn't speak English but kicks awesomely.
Even if this enterprise had been stocked with Oscar winners from the past five years, there is one major thing holding it back: It's an excruciatingly boring action movie. The main action set pieces consist of a brief dust-up when Mathayus and Sargon first meet, an awkward, hard-to-see battle with a Minotaur, a girl-on-girl brawl punctuated by this masterful line, "I thought we said no magic! No fair!" Then there's the big finale, featuring fire, kung fu, and some embarrassing CGI. It looks good on paper, but the implementation doesn't work; absolutely nothing crackled and the result was some of the longest 109 minutes I've spent in the awkward embrace of a wannabe action movie.
Video: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, clean and crisp and sun-scorched and amplifies the crappiness of that pathetic computer-generated scorpion at the end. Audio: an effective 5.1 Dolby Digital surround. Extras: a lot actually including a director's commentary, deleted scenes, gag reel, a making-of documentary and featurettes on Randy Couture, the action choreography, the women of the film, the visual effects and the production design.
One more bit of evidence: this film, based in ancient times, is riddled with laughable anachronistic lines like "arrogant jerk" and "turnabout is fair play" and "you've got to be kidding me." Worthless. Like the movie.
Guilty. Bury this one in the largest sand dune you can find.
Review content copyright © 2008 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel
* Cinema Verdict interview with stars Michael Copon and Karen David