Cast: Victor Webster, Bostin Christopher, Billy Zane, Ron Perlman, Krystal Vee
Running Time: 104 minutes
Synopsis: Warrior Mathayus is dispatched by King Horus to protect ally King Ramusan from imminent attack. In return for his services, he is promised Ramusan’s daughter Silda in marriage. But to collect his reward, he will have to rescue the princess from the scheming Talus.
Having never seen the first two films in THE SCORPION KING trilogy, I may not have been the most qualified to review THE SCORPION KING 3: BATTLE FOR REDEMPTION. However, after voluntarily sitting through such straight-to-DVD ‘classics’ as INVISIBLE MOM and SPACE BUDDIES I certainly know crap when I see it, and THE SCORPION KING 3 has it by the bucket load.
Originally portrayed by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, then re-cast and played by Michael Copon in the 2008 prequel, warrior Mathayus is now Samatha’s neighbour in one episode of SEX AND THE-CITY star Victor Webster. Playing a human male with a good body and decent face, Webster is convincing. He is less so as an Ancient Egyptian warrior but you get what you pay for.
An unexplained Morgan Freeman-esque narrator tells us that Mathayus’s kingdom and Queen have been destroyed by a plague — or some sort of evil, it’s not really clear — and the Scorpion King is now a mercenary for hire, wallowing in regret. His new outlook seems to be, if he can’t be happy he may as well have mad cash.
Egypt has since been split into three kingdoms, ruled by Horus, Talus and Ramusan. Challenged to protect the Book of the Dead the evil King Talus — played by the King of Wigs, Billy Zane — Mathayus teams up with a hairy, overweight, comic-relief archetype named Olaf. The pair discover Talus has kidnapped Ramusan’s beautiful daughter and set out to rescue her and stop Talus from raising the dead. There’s also a magic medallion which we know is magic because it glows. Got to love that.
Olaf — played by Bostin Christopher — provides some of the films wittiest dialogue, such as ‘Your hat looks stupid!’. (A notable mentions goes to the anachronistic ‘I like mine medium rare’ when setting fire to a bunch of people.) Olaf also likes to belch. Seriously, have a shot each time he belches. More well-known actors take supporting roles in THE SCORPION KING 3, namely TITANIC’s Billy Zane and HELLBOY’s Ron Perlman.
Perlman, most recently seen in the thrilling DRIVE, brings little to the screen and clearly turned up on set to collect a cheque. Though he does manage to out-wig Billy Zane which is no mean feat. Zane, however, seems to relish his role as the evil King and gets increasingly camper and more shirtless as the film goes on. One brilliant scene sees Talus rip a man’s ear clean off his head with ease, though this may be because the ear already comes off in his hand before he can pull. Yeah, the special effects aren’t great but it makes things much more fun.
THE SCORPION KING 3 is unsurprisingly low-budget but the film makes the most of what it has. Namely elephants, which are in the background of almost every fight scene. Seriously, have a shot each time you see an elephant. I think it’s just the same one over and over.
The battle scenes use plenty of slow-motion in lieu of exciting camera effects, but they get the job done. If you‘re a fan of people getting shot with arrows and set on fire there‘s a lot for you here, and the arrival of ninjas at the half-way point also provide some genuinely thrilling action sequences (and questionable historical accuracy). Later, when Talus inevitably raises dead warriors to do his bidding, THE SCORPION KING 3 manages to find its footing. The story moves away from the Mathayus/Olaf belching bromance and generic sword-on-sword fighting to some supernatural/ninja battling goodness. Plus there’s a female ghost warrior looks like a trashy porn star which is pretty great. Yes, THE SCORPION KING 3: BATTLE FOR REDEMPTION is rubbish, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It may not be a great DVD to watch alone, or more than once, but it’d make decent drunk viewing at 3am with friends. There’s just about enough here for fans of THE MUMMY and SCORPION KING franchises, and the film manages to serve up a couple of decent twists along the way.
Extras: Deleted/Extended Scenes, Deleted Shots Montage, Gag Reel, Swords and Scorpions: Making Of, Preparing For Battle
You can win a copy of THE SCORPION KING 3: BATTLE FOR REDEMPTION on DVD or Blu-Ray with The Hollywood News right here, and the film is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 27th February 2012.