Film Review: 'Scorpion King' doesn't rock too well

    Well folks, we are on the brink of another action-packed summer and it’s all starting with “”The Scorpion King,”” staring Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. WWF superstar The Rock. Using The Rock’s popular character from the equally popular “”The Mummy Returns,”” “”The Scorpion King”” is a jam-packed action escapade that doesn’t try anything new but nevertheless packs a sting.

    The Rock is Mathayus, an assassin for hire from an Akkadian tribe. When he is called upon to kill the sorceress of the evil Memnon, Mathayus and his brothers take on the challenge with steely resolve and their motto: “”Live free, die well.””

    Of course, the sorceress would be a whole lot easier to kill if she weren’t a scantily clad beauty named Cassandra. The plot thickens when Mathayus’ brothers are killed and the lone assassin must seek revenge.

    Helping Mathayus with his quest is an eclectic group of individuals, including Michael Clarke Duncan (“”The Green Mile””), who plays the formidable Balthazar, chief of a rival tribe serving as Mathayus’ backup with his own reasons to kill Memnon. Others include Mathayus’ comedic sidekicks: a horse-thief, an inventor with a knack for explosions and a street urchin boy. And let’s not forget the camel capable of understanding human speech.

    In the past, members of the WWF such as Hulk Hogan have made a mark on Hollywood, and The Rock is no different. It appears the wild antics of the wrestling world might even have helped The Rock’s acting abilities. Sure, he won’t be the next Godfather, but cocked eyebrows and his well-timed one-liners make him perfect for this genre of movies. It helps that he’s got big muscles, too.

    The action of “”The Scorpion King”” should draw in the crowds, and rightly so. The fight scenes are carefully choreographed, sometimes even running like a WWF match. In addition, the costume design of the film provides a provocative take on the traditional North African garb. Let’s just say the women are not in shrouds.

    While some will be amused to discover that silicon breasts did in fact exist in ancient times, there are also other factors to look for.

    The special effects of “”The Mummy Returns”” are present again. One computer-generated moment has Mathayus buried up to his neck in sand about to be eaten alive by a horde of fire ants. The result is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl.

    “”The Scorpion King”” relies heavily on its action sequences to make up for the weak lapses in cinematographic judgement. However, these lapses remind audiences that “”The Scorpion King”” is all in fun. Some will complain about Hollywood’s exploitation of “”The Mummy”” plotlines and box-office earnings, but honestly, get over it. This is the beginning of summer fun and “”The Scorpion King”” will rule, at least for the moment.

    Scorpion King

    ***

    Starring Dwayne Johnson (the Rock) and Michael Clarke Duncan

    In theaters April 19

    Rated R

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