Scorpion King 2, The (DVD)

The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior DVD DVD review (click for larger image)Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Andreas Wisniewski, Tom Wu, Karen Shenaz David, Randy Couture, Michael Copon

Directed by Russell Mulcahy

Distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment

I know what you’re thinking … “What in the world is Dread Central reviewing this for?” Honestly we almost didn’t. The only reason that it was even on the radar was because this franchise is the bastard son of the effects heavy Mummy movies. Even then though the original The Scorpion King was little more than a straight action movie with barely any supernatural elements at all. The lack of creatures of any kind in the first film was ultimately its downfall. It just deviated way too far from the formula that made the Mummy flicks work. With The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior director Russell Mulcahy is out to correct that wrong and does so on a scale that’s better than expected.

After seeing his fathered killed by a demonic curse young Mathayus (Copon who looks and acts amazingly just like a younger version of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) begins his training so that he may become a warrior strong enough to vanquish those responsible for giving his dad an untimely dirt nap. Nearing his twenties he returns to the scene of the crime to find out that the person responsible, Sargon (the UFC’s brawler, Randy Couture) has now become king with the help of an evil witch who has taught him the ways of the dark arts. The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior pits sword against good old fashioned fisticuffs, and some evil sorcery with enjoyable results.

The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior DVD DVD review (click for larger image)The best part? We finally get some beasties, and enough so to warrant this review here as much as the films of the The Mummy franchise. From top to bottom we get ghosts, minotaurs, mutants, the living dead, swarms of bugs, witches, and of course a giant scorpion for the film’s finale. This flick had every right to suck, and suck hard. Yet those associated with it clearly had other plans. What we have here is a fast paced, well acted (at least for the most part) action flick that doesn’t shy away from its clear and prominent horror elements. Sure it’s not perfect as it does succumb to a plethora of direct-to-video woes such as poorly done CGI, and lines that even the most talented thespian in the world couldn’t pull off convincingly, but it does so with its heart completely in the right place and in the spirit of old-school supernatural themed adventure. I’m still in a state of astonishment that this ended up as well as it did.

Even the DVD is pretty stacked. A movie like this would normally be sentenced to the usual making-of featurette, trailer, and out, way of thinking, but again, we get more than just that. First up is a fourteen minute making-of that in all fairness is engaging but also finds itself on the cookie cutter side of the fence. However, the supplemental goodness then takes a good turn. Up next are five featurettes that clock in at anywhere from four to ten minutes long each, which not only move at a brisk pace but are actually a solid watch. This movie looks like it has a budget way bigger than it did and after watching these featurettes its no wonder why — the cast and crew were enjoying themselves and it really shows. Cap things off with a gag reel and about four and a half minutes of deleted scenes and we’re out the door with a smile. Good stuff.

Oh the joys of watching films that aren’t just phoned-in when they easily could have been! The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior has all of the charm and bite missing from the near depressingly silly The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (review here). It’s a sequel that atones for the sins of the original and surprisingly gives viewers all that could be expected from a low-budget direct-to-video offering and then some.

Special Features

  • The Making-of The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior featurette
  • Fight Like an Akkadian: Black Scorpion Training Camp featurette
  • Becoming Sargon: One on One with Randy Couture featurette
  • On Set with the Beautiful Ladies featurette
  • Creating a Whole New World featurette
  • The Visual Effects of The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior featurette
  • Gag reel
  • Deleted scenes


    3 out of 5

    Special Features:

    3 1/2 out of 5

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  • Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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    • frank_dracman

      This really felt like an old Sinbad movie to me. Group of heros on a mission to get the magical whatever and the dangers they face. Sure, it had the DTV curse as you mentioned, but I was amused all the way till the end. Here’s a good tip. If you don’t have the cash to make a realistic looking giant monster, make it invisable! Worked in Forbidden Planet, and works here. If you forced me to watch this or Mummy 3 again, I’d give Mummy the cold sholder. Way better than I thought. If they do a sequel, not only would I watch it, I’d look forward to it. 4 out of 5 from me.

      • Gus Bjork

        Really? An old Sinbad movie? See, now that’s a sentence that gets me interested and might just give this a shot against my better judgement.

    • Tsotha-lanti

      With this and “Resident Evil: Extinction”, it looks like Russell Mulcahy has become Salvage Lame Franchises Dude. How the mighty have fallen.

    • Foywonder

      I call total bullshit on this review! I just saw this the other night and it’s too long and really boring after the first half hour, no fun at all, and actually made me long for the original which I thought was terrible to begin with. You rave about all these monster but neglect to mention they only appear for seconds at a time. Fast-paced? What fucking movie did you watch because this film drags immensely. And if you don’t think this wasn’t completely phoned in then you’re absolutely nuts because this film is on auto-pilot from the get-go. If Scorpion King 2 warrants three knives then I should have given Mummy 3 a full five. Even Kull The Conqueror was more entertaining than this. For you to have given me as much grief as you did over my 2 1/2 Mummy 3 review and then to turn around and give a higher score to a film that has worse acting, worse dialogue, less action, few monsters, and a slower pace – forget mere differences of opinion, that just takes some serious gall.

      • Uncle Creepy

        I don’t know, man. I really dug it, and three knives is only slightly above average. As far as DTV stuff goes, I felt this was. Different strokes.

        And by the way, I agree 100% with every word of your Mummy 3 review. You were just kinder, way kinder, than I would have been to it. It was the dumbest thing I’ve seen all year, and I stand by my belief that Scorp 2 had a better script, better action, and even though it’s paint-by-numbers adventure in it’s own right, a much better storyline.

        The only thing that Mummy 3 has over Scorp 2 is more monster action, but that doesn’t mean it was better monster action. Even though the creatures here were only on-screen for minutes at a time, the frequency of the different situations they were in kept me watching without mentally checking out, like I did with the last Mummy.

        Again, different strokes. We’ll have to settle our differences via Soul Calibur IV!

        • frank_dracman

          Good job, Creepy. You made Foy drop a F-bomb. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

          • Uncle Creepy

            Hey man. It’s what I do. Wait until you listen to the next DFF. LOL!

            • FilmCritic3000

              And when precisely will the next DFF be available, good sir? We, the unwashed masses, are jonesing something awful.

              I win the lottery Creepy, and Dread Central’s getting a massive cash infusion and DFF is going weekly. Niiice!

            • Foywonder

              You’ll hear me tell Creepy to shut up repeatedly, go off on obscenity laden tirades about some movies I truly hated, and just be highly beligerant to everyone else. The past two weeks have been very stressful and that chance to rant and rave felt quite therapeutic.

        • Foywonder

          I still think you’ve lost your mind if you think this was more entertaining.

          No matter. We shall soon meet on the Soul Caliber IV battlefield. How fitting that we be sparring over Scorpion King because when we face-off you will most assuredly smell what Rock is cookin’!

    • elric300

      Cool! I’m seeing THE MUMMY this week, and this sounds like a nice bookend to it.