Universal // 2011 // 106 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 10th, 2012
Good news: No CGI mummies.
Bad news: This movie is terrible.
Victor Webster (Surrogates) takes over as Mathayus, aka The Scorpion King, a rugged sword-swinger wreaking havoc during an unknown period of Arabian history. The third film picks up with the bad news that Mathayus has lost his kingdom and everyone he loves has died from the plague. Now a mercenary, he's hired by King Horus (Ron Perlman, Sons of Anarchy) to bail out his kingdom, currently under siege by an evil tyrant (Billy Zane, Titanic) and a group of fearsome ghost warriors who really aren't all that fearsome.
The Scorpion King 3 is not a good movie. It is, in fact, objectively putrid...and yet I can't bring myself to completely loathe it. I was sure I was going to be shoveling the dirt on its grave, after a quick glance of the cover: Billy Zane, Kimbo Slice, Ron Perlman, some guy named Victor Webster? A straight-to-Blu installment in a franchise I had no idea still existed? There's seriously enough of a customer base to mandate such a production? All the ingredients needed for a recipe of sand-blasted awfulness.
And then director Roel Reine threw me a slider. He injected humor and self-deprecation into the affair. Friends, that made all the difference. Okay...maybe not all the difference. The Scorpion King 3 still smells like my feet, but how refreshing not to sit through another painfully self-serious low-budget action/fantasy. That's one of my biggest gripes about so many Syfy original productions and Uwe Boll movies -- not a molecule of humor to be found.
Reine and company recognize they're not dealing with high art and adjust accordingly. Billy Zane chews through his lines like a bobcat on a soup bone, creating a villain so quirky and slimy (oh, the low-riding bootcut leather pants) he's hard not to like. Even better is Webster as Mathayus and his fat drunken doofus sidekick Olaf, played by Bostin Christopher...which has to be a made-up name. These guys can't act if their pets' lives depended on it, but they take the humor written into the script and run with it. Granted, Olaf does a lot of farting and stuff, but he also beats up a guy and tells him he hates his hat. Gold! (Best comic moment: The reveal of the princess portrait.)
Unfortunately, the goofiness is all that The Scorpion King 3 has going for. While I'll gladly award points for the distinct lack of corny CGI, its largely practical action sequences fail to thrill. Also, Ron Perlman needs to sock some cash under his mattress or something; these hamhocky roles are below him.
The movie gets a solid Blu-ray from Universal, opening with a sharp, top-shelf 1.78:1/1080p widescreen high definition transfer. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix can get raucous, and the alternate language tracks sound strange, as if they were dubbed in post-production. Extras: Commentary from Roel Reine, deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a pair of featurettes looking at the making-of and the combat.
It's bad, but I just can't hate on The Scorpion King 3. Perhaps I'm getting soft in my advanced age.
Nah, still Guilty as balls.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (French)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 106 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel
* Digital Copy