Main cast: Dwayne Johnson (Mathayus the Scorpion King), Steven Brand (Memnon), Kelly Hu (Cassandra), Michael Clarke Duncan (Balthazar), Grant Heslov (Arpid), Peter Facinelli (Takmet), and Ralph Moeller (Thorak)
Director: Chuck Russell
Good cheese must be fun. It is okay if the women are dressed in nothing more than sheer curtains and the heroes are beef on legs. It is okay if the plot makes no sense – if there’s a plot at all – and it is okay if there are gratuitous flashes of boobies and skanky sex. That’s what genre movies are all about.
It is not okay to boring. So die, The Scorpion King!
It is such a shame, actually, because this movie has all the right ingredients to be glorious cheese. Dwayne Johnson is actually pretty good as a Conan the Barbarian type.
But The Scorpion King is so heavily digitized that even the Rock himself feels like a computer-generated image. He plays Mathayus, one of the last of the Akkadians, who along with his ragtag family and a camel (yes, a camel), rents his assassin services out to a bunch of rebels. The target? The sorcerer of the general Memnon. This sorcerer is a psychic fellow who is directing Memnon to victory, so this person must die.
Faster than you can say “excess baggage”, all of Rocko’s folks but Rocko die in a betrayal that is done with no subtlety at all. But he gets a new sidekick, the non-stop human Jar Jar Binks named Die Die Binks. Okay, I didn’t get that motormouth’s name, but Die Die Binks is evil on my nerves. And the Sorcerer turns out to be an almost-99%-of-the-time almost-nekkid sorceress named Cassandra (oh boy). Rocko lumbers around like a slow-mo clumsy behemoth surrounded by CGI images, and he saves the day and becomes the Scorpion king. Or something. No, I don’t care. I can barely stay awake.
I really like how the Sorceress, wearing only a bedsheet thingie over her naked body, can ride a camel astride for hours at top speed without getting painfully sore. Even better, after days of wearing only a bedsheet over her nakedness in the hot, hot desert, (and no shoes, mind you), her make-up is still perfect. Gotta love a girl who knows her beauty secrets.
The Rock does try. There’s no one who embodies the perfect cheese. Watch his lift his eyebrow in his trademark sneer and hear him say “Boo!” and I go “Hee!”.
But forget the dialogues – which are corny as hell, it’s just like kiddie scriptwriters trying to emulate bad Conan comic books – and bad acting. What kills this movie is the lack of soul. The Scorpion King is like a robot programmed to entertain only in the most cursory way. There’s no passion, no spark, nothing. Life’s dead and everything’s barren in this arid movie. How boring.