“Scorpion King,” the prequel to the action movies “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns,” has plenty of action and bite to it, but there is no substance. Although it did outshine its sequels, it still falls short of being a good movie.
In a previous review, I said the problem with all reviews is that they are trying to critique each movie as if it should stand up to an Academy Award-worthy film. But with action, you can’t expect that. The film does succeed where some of the past action films like “The Mummy Returns” and “Blade II” have failed, so it does deserve some credit. The action has taken WWF’s The Rock and put him into almost Jackie Chan-like fighting sequences.
It was incredibly entertaining and fun to watch. The desert oasis created for this film is pleasing to the eye, yet doesn’t go over the top by trying to “wow” the audience. It is kept simple and even has the universal motive for the lead character: revenge. They should have let the motive lie with just revenge, but of course they had to throw in the love interest, which weakened the credibility of the action. An action film should be action; a comedy should be simply comedy; a romantic comedy or romance film should be romantic. Throwing in romance with action is a technique from which directors and screenwriters should get away.
The action from the very first scene is riveting and well worth the money, but then people speak. The dialogue is horrible. The attempt to mix humor into the action, as well as romantic sentiment and inspirational speeches, made the script itself laughable. And as much as I like The Rock, as well as the other actors in the movie like Michael Clarke Duncan (“Planet of the Apes”), the acting did not help the poorly written words one bit. Understandably, this genre does not attract the crowd normally worried about dialogue and acting choices, but just the same, it is a movie and is subject to the critique.
The choices made in between the action sequences were neglected. It seems as if the director used up all of his rehearsal time to study stage fighting instead of thinking of how The Rock or Duncan were going to deliver their lines.
There is good here, and there is bad, and then there is very bad. There are cheesy lines that have polluted the entire picture and there are action scenes that could rival any action scenes I’ve ever seen. So how do I rate this movie? How does the debut of The Rock in a lead fair? It emerges with a C. It gets a C only because it is better than “Blade II,” if you are looking for an action movie. I feel the good of this movie and the bad of this movie should therefore balance each other out and the perfect medium when given a D- for dialogue and an A- for action (which was hurt because of the computer generated snakes at the end) is a C. Possibly spend money on this when it’s at the Cinema Saver, but rush out to see something better first. n
Suggestions with Michael Clarke Duncan: “Armageddon,” “Planet of the Apes (2001),” “The Green Mile.”