The Scorpion King

The Scorpion King

**

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

The Scorpion King is a Conan movie. All the way. A big, ridiculously overmuscled hero, not so dim as everyone expects, with a murdered brother to avenge, an evil warlord to defeat, superb fighting skills and a foolish weakness for women. A cowardly comedy sidekick who tags along to share in the spoils of his adventures. A loyal steed. A beautiful sorceress who starts out distrusting everybody but gradually comes to like the hero so much that she risks her life to heal him from his injuries in the desert. Desperate tribes of people in need of a leader.

Swordfights. Chases. Ancient citadels. Even that old matinee favourite, the hero running along taking shelter behind a rolling gong. We've seen it all before, but the remarkable thing is that The Scorpion King does it well, and does it with such good humour that it is almost impossible to dislike.

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In the central role, The Rock (or Dwayne Johnson, as he now prefers to be known - perhaps the first time since Aliens that anybody has wanted to be called 'Dwayne') gives a surprisingly confident and convincing performance - he's not required to stretch his acting talents, but he's not just another wooden Beastmaster.

The film's main weakness is its villain, who simply doesn't have the charisma to achieve a balance, nor to convince as a man who has led thousands into war.

The film's strength is in its technical crew. Whilst the direction is formulaic, it's always spot-on; the pacing is superb; and the choreography, especially where multiple fights are going on at once, is exceptional. Those scenes are further enhanced by clever use of lighting, something which made this film's predecessor, The Mummy, stand out from the crowd. This is not a deep film by any means, nor is it particularly memorable, but it's great popcorn entertainment. Robert E Howard would have been proud.

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2007
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The Scorpion King packshot
Sword and sand epic, with wrestler The Rock resurrecting his role from The Mummy Returns.
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Angus Wolfe Murray **

Director: Chuck Russell

Writer: David Hayter, Will Osborne, Stephen Sommers

Starring: The Rock, Steven Brand, Kelly Hu, Michael Clarke Duncan, Grant Heslov, Peter Facinelli

Year: 2002

Runtime: 87 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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