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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adevnture > Comedy > The Scorpion King (HD-DVD/DVD Combo format)

The Scorpion King (HD-DVD/DVD Combo format)


Picture: B/B-     Sound: B/B-     Extras: C-     Film: D



These days, when Hollywood gets encouraged by profits over shallow nothingness, they go overboard and the career of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a great example of this.  Pushing someone, anyone to be the next Schwarzenegger, Chuck Russell’s The Scorpion King (2002) was an early Rock release and Mummy spin off essentially meant to sell him as just that.  A spin-off of The Mummy films, it is dreadful and if it had been greenlighted any later, 9/11 probably would have canceled or altered what we got.


The Rock is the title character and that simplicity is matched by the oversimplicity of this mess.  The action sequences are so over-choreographed and sloppy that the film’s attempt to be hip and aspire to Music Video editing is tired on arrival.  Michael Clark Duncan is even here as a sort of parallel to James Earl Jones in the Schwarzenegger/John Milius Conan, but he is especially wasted in this exercise without any of the balls, edge, guts or style whatsoever.  Think of it as Conan-lite or Conan for idiots.  The only idiots now are those who pay to see films with The Rock, but from the recent lack of performance on Gridiron Gang, that is a very, very small crowd.  Note that we have seen no sequel to this mess nearly five years later.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is on the HD side is better than the anamorphically enhanced DVD side, but with all the phony digital and close shots, that is not saying much.  Some aspects of some scenes are sharper and clearer than others, but that is ruined by the second-rate production.  At least the Mummy films looked like they belonged on a larger screen.  Colors are made to match those films, with an emphasis on the signature orange brown that is dullsville all the way.  John R. Leonetti’s cinematography is more appropriate for a dumb comedy than action film, but since this is just a dumb film, it’s a losing situation.


The surround mix on this film epitomizes everything not to do with such a production.  Does every sound have to be overly sweetened?  Maybe this is to cover up for the lack of script, but dialogue is sadly clear so we can hear all the smart-ass comments.  One begins to think Bugs Bunny or Woody Woodpecker will show up.  The HD side has Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and standard DVD standard Dolby 5.1, with the plus just being a boosted version of the standard mix.  John Denbey’s score is like elevator music badly mixing with the lame Rock approach.  This one gives a bad reputation to surround.


Extras are slightly more interesting than the film including two overly long (i.e., full length) audio commentary tracks, outtakes, trailer, Godsmack Music Video and several featurettes about the making of the film that are self-congratulatory to the point of embarrassment.  But then, the whole affair is, so skip it.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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