Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior
Directed by Russell Mulcahy
Starring Michael Copon, Randy Couture, Karen David, Simon Quarterman
Universal Home Entertainment
Release date: August 19, 2008
A funny thing happened about halfway through this movie, the Minotaur showed up, and suddenly I realized that I was watching an episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journey. This is not to say I was ever a fan of Hercules, but I was just very much reminded of that series. The dimly lit sets, the goofy comic relief, the bad CG monsters, yes it had it all. And like Hercules, Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior had a simple charm to it, and I found myself starting to appreciate it.
Now let’s get this out of the way. This is NOT a good movie. It looks about as good as you would expect a direct-to-DVD movie to look. The dialogue is pretty wooden, as are a lot of the actors. I mean, you don’t even get to make fun of The Rock, or ogle Kelly Hu’s magnificent figure, which is pretty much the only reason to watch the first Scorpion King film.
My biggest problem with Scorpion King 2 is that it contains none of the fun, dumb action movie sensibilities of the Mummy movies that it is a spin-off of. This movie takes itself way too seriously, and if it had even a little of the Mummy’s tongue-in-cheek humor, I could handle it, but it’s just not there. The movie doesn’t even have the common decency to be so bad as to flip back around to being good, in a stop to look at the train wreck kind of way. The only reason this movie exists is to get a few people who may have enjoyed the first Scorpion King to pluck down a few more dollars. However, little by little, it started to warm my cold evil little reviewer’s heart.
The story is simple enough: young Mathayus (Michael Copon), the future Scorpion King, is shown as he becomes an Acadian warrior, until an evil drill sergeant-type named Sargon (Randy Couture) kills his father and takes over the country with his evil magic. Mathayus plans to journey to Egypt to get a mystical weapon to help him defeat the evil Sargon, but quickly learns that he must get a different magic gewgaw, the sword of Damocles, in order to kill his foe. He’s joined by his childhood sweetheart Layla (Karen David) and a traveling poet/historian Aristophanes (Simon Quarterman), and they have to battle a whole range of mystical creatures in order to gain the sword. Eventually they do get the sword, big battle ensues, you know the drill, and everybody learns that the hero’s journey isn’t always an easy one. Simple story, because this isn’t Shakespeare, and anytime the movie even attempts to be Shakespeare, it fails horribly. It’s only in the middle section, when the film ventures into Legendary Journey territory, that the film comes close to actually being fun.
The special features for the Blu-ray edition are about the same as the rest of the movie, actually they might be a little better, because there are no special features. No commentary, no behind the scenes documentaries, nothing. There’s a bit that seems to be standard on all Blu-ray discs where you can pick your favorite scenes and watch them later, but that seems to be a Blu-ray feature, not a disc feature, so I’m not counting it. It’s just more proof that the studio behind this movie didn’t have any intention of making a decent product, they just wanted to rush out a cheap movie to get a few bucks to coincide with the third Mummy movie.
So I’ll call this a rental at best. Really, no one should buy it because it encourages studios that they can put out bad products, and still make a few bucks and that serves no one. The film has its charms at times, but fails to be as enjoyable as the Mummy movies that it springs from, because it just doesn’t have the likable actors, big action set pieces, and really the heart that connected with the audience. There’s really just not much to recommend about this, even to fans of the series. If you’re looking for something decent to watch, break out the first Mummy, get some popcorn, and have a decent time. It will be a much more productive use of your time.