The Scorpion King (2002)

Rating: C

Dir: Chuck Russell
Star: Dwayne Johnson, Steven Brand, Kelly Hu, Michael Clarke Duncan

I’m struggling manfully to avoid a review filled with wrestling references, so will keep this simple. Luckily, it’s a pretty simple movie: hardly a dull moment, admittedly, but hardly any especially exciting or memorable ones either. The Rock plays the Mathayus, last of his tribe, an assassin hired to kill the evil warlord Memnon (Brand). When Mathayus’ brother is killed, it all becomes rather more personal, and sorceress Cassandra (Hu) adds another dimension. Or about 0.1 dimensions, anyway. Making fractionally over two in total. If this is no more than you’d expect, neither is it any less, and everyone involved treats things with the correct level of seriousness i.e. none at all.

The PG-13 rating limits things somewhat (it only plays at being sexy and violent; there’s no blood, and the only nipples are The Rock’s), while you can’t help wonder about the morals of a film which says sweeping across a continent to create an empire is bad, yet assassinating the emperor and ruling in his place is good. Not that such thoughts deserve consideration – that the film gives them a chance to arise is perhaps significant, however. It needs to be more absorbing, instead of largely predictable; by the end, I was almost expecting Hulk Hogan to run in and bash The Rock from behind with a chair. Between this and resisting the frequent urge to shout “Ta-ble…Ta-ble”, it’s questionable whether or not you might be better off watching RAW is WAR instead.