Remember when professional wrestling was popular over a decade ago? I myself was into that particular fad. At the peak of my love of wrestling, I was watching an average of about six hours a week, including old tapes I was recording or buying. I even went to a live episode of Raw. But I stopped after the “Kane raped a dead woman” angle. It got crappy. Not that wrestling has ever been great, mind you. The “illusion” of combat is created with such ingenious tricks as using a steel chair on an opponent’s raised hands instead of his head or playing dead when the wrestler has only taken a stumble off a couch’s worth of a fall.
Since wrestling hasn’t been big since then, you’re probably more familiar with how the Rock has long since become more Hollywood than WWE. The Scorpion King was one of his first movies. It is a sword-and-sorcery movie with the Rock as the hero. But know going in that this is not going to be drama along the lines of the Lord Of the Rings or Game Of Thrones. No, what we have here is a 1980’s style fantasy. For what it’s worth, though, this is better than most fantasy movies of that era.
The Rock is Mathayus, one of the last of a nomadic people known as the Akkadians. He is an assassin who is contracted to kill Cassandra, personal sorceress to the warlord Memnon. Circumstances put Mathayus and Cassandra on the same side against Memnon. And with the help of a tribe lead by a rather dickish guy named Balthazar, they end Memnon’s conquests.
What I just described is almost all the story there is in the Scorpion King. There is the disastrous but incomplete prophecy cliche that you see so often in fantasy and Mathayus and Cassandra get hooked up. Not many subplots beyond that.
The acting is acceptable. The Rock’s not a great actor but he is charismatic. Anyone familiar with early 2000’s cinema will recognize Michael Clarke Duncan and Kelly Hu in this movie, because they were in a lot of other films.
This movie was rather low-budgeted. It shows. Not that a movie set in ancient times that doesn’t have much magic requires too much money.
The musical score is heavy metal. And the Scorpion King, in general, was marketed as kind of a “pop” movie. This was definitely made for teenage and young adult males, the very people who got into WWE’s “attitude” era.
The Scorpion King is not a great or even good movie. But it vaults over a low bar. The other big movies starring a wrestler were Hulk Hogan movies. Compared to them, this film looks absolutely amazing. As simply a standalone movie, though, it’s just OK.
Overall: 5 out of 10