Monday, May 20, 2013

Movie Review: The Scorpion King

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: I eventually became interested in the story
Cons: Slow, predictable, poor acting
The Bottom Line:
Slow moving story
Action is only okay
See it if you must

I've Been Stung

I've actually been surprised by how much I have enjoyed the movies in the Mummy series.  They aren't great cinema, but they are fun.  When The Mummy Returns set up the spin-off The Scorpion King, I put it on my must see list.  But somehow I got too busy and never got around to seeing it until it was on TV recently.  Turns out, I spent exactly the right amount of money on it.

In the world before the pyramids, there are many tribes at war.  But Memnon (Steven Brand) is uniting them by force.  Unfortunately, most of the tribes don't welcome the occupation that goes with it.  Memnon is unstoppable, however, thanks to his seer Cassandra (Kelly Hu).

Into this mix comes Mathayus (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson).  Mathayus is one of the final Acadians and an assassin.  He is hired to kill Cassandra.  Complications ensue, however, when Cassandra sees him coming.  (You think he would have thought of that.)  Can Mathayus stay alive long enough to complete the job?

Being a spin off of the Mummy films, I wasn't expecting much.  And yet this film managed to not meet those standards.  What makes the other films work is their high octane action.  This movie was seriously lacked that.  The story moved along slowly and predictably, which certainly didn't help things either.  One or two surprises along the way would have been nice.

This movie is nothing but an excuse for action sequences and sword fights.  There were plenty of action scenes, but they weren't anything we haven't seen before.

No time is spent developing the characters.  They are only there to serve the story.  Frankly, I think that was one of my problems with the film.

In the Mummy films, there is a great sense of humor.  Even when the world is ending, the characters still throw one liners around.  This movie goes for the serious approach.  In fact, they take everything way too seriously.

And that hampers the acting.  The cast is trying, but everyone is just so earnest that you never fully buy into their performances.

I mentioned earlier that this fill spun off from The Mummy Returns.  I was expecting something to tie into what we learned about the Mathayus character there.  There is no connection at all.  I suspect the producers knew they had a stinker on their hands and the only way to get audiences to come was to tie it into a blockbuster film.

I'm not proud to say it, but I was drawn into the story enough that I had to see how it ended.  Somewhere along the way, I did start to care.  But it wasn't enough to overcome the rather serious flaws.

I had been curious enough, that I am glad I saw The Scorpion King once.  If you are looking for anything other than mindless entertainment, pass right on by.  Even then, wait until it is on TV again so you don't waste any money.

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