Scorpion King review: Good Entertainer, Far Better Than Mummy Returns

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After the massive success of the mummy (1999), the filmmakers worked on a terrible idea, that is, to make a sequel that will make one hate the original as well. Well, they made two. *sigh*(don’t forget 2008 disaster that dragged in Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li). The mummy returns was a very disappointing film which was a clear repetition of its predecessor. The sequel, while attempting to make profits as well as a career boost for Brendan Fraser, succeeded in desecrating the cult classic. But, there was a very catchy element from the movie, a giant hypermasculine personality named the scorpion king (Dwayne Johnson) and his side story. The scorpion king was shown as the antagonist but Johnson’s charisma as well as the amount of redemption the character was able to make, prompted the makers to go for a spin-off. These are my obvious presumptions,not factual. Scorpion king was entertaining and a far better movie in terms of comic timings, action, and plotline. The movie is about Mathayus (Dwayne Johnson), the last living Akkadian who is on a quest to kill King Memnon (Steven Brand) for his brother’s vengeance. He was also hired to kill Memnon’s sorceress Cassandra (Kelly Hu) as she is responsible for his victories and conquers. Eventually, Mathayus finds himself amidst a situation where he has to do more than just assassinate.

The movie is generally about Mathayus’s rise to power and it belongs to Dwayne Johnson. I have always admired his acting style and his ability to lure the audience in with his effortless performance. He has done several genres and is not just a pretty face or man of muscles. Scorpion king is who is he because of Johnson. Kelly Hu is beautiful and graceful but her role is reduced to a pretty face. Mostly due to the lack of emotional range for her character. Cassandra is shown as someone who is loyal and brave. She took rough and tough decisions to protect people in the face of danger but her character lacked soul, notably due to the phallocentricity. The only scene where I enjoyed watching her performance is the scene where Memnon conducts a loyalty test, A.K.A virginity test, using 6 pots with snakes in two of them placed at random. We see a sense of fear and determination in her eyes and the shot where she pulls out a live snake is well executed.When compared to Cassandra , Balthazar (Michael Clarke Duncan) is more interesting as he has more depth and Michael Clarke Ducan always shined on-screen. Steven Brand did a fine job. Another one of my favorite characters is Arpid (Grant Heslov). His comic timings played an ample role in the movie’s steadfast flow and to have breathing space after all the action. He delivered a lively performance and his combination scenes with Dwayne Johnson were fun to watch. The cinematography captured the war sequences and the sandstorm scene. But when you watch that scenes, after 10 years, the CGI used is too obvious. The usage of a layered storyline and characters with depth is the film’s major success. 

I enjoyed this film and the action scenes make it rewatchable. The movie has the message against capitalism and excessive power gaining along with subtle yet on point proto-feminist messages related to a woman’s bodily integrity and autonomy. Cassandra’s sharp upper hand in Memnon’s test is the showcase of her determination to take up her space. Female warriors shine along with men, making a gender neutral environment. However, when it comes to the hero or the villain, it is like neither will live while the other survives. Scorpion is an enjoyable entertainer and a good ride for Dwayne Johnson fans.

3.5/5

Featured image: alphacoders.com

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