Movies You Aught Not Watch: The Scorpion King
Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000-2009.
The Rock sounds like someone who’d kick your ass, then laugh about it. Dwayne Johnson? Not so much.
Using his pro-wrestling pseudonym early in his cinematic career, Johnson often had considerable charisma squeezed out of him under WWE magnate Vince McMahon’s thumb.
That was never more depressingly apparent than in 2002’s “The Scorpion King” — a prequel to a sequel of a remake of 1932’s “The Mummy.” In other words, as unnecessary as the revived “Mummy” franchise’s abysmal second sequel.
Before becoming a CGI heavy in “The Mummy Returns,” Mathayus (The Rock) was an archer with arrows able to blast foes into cumulonimbus clouds. Given that, supernatural assistance doesn’t seem essential to battle evil Memnon (Steven Brand), so resembling Billy Ray Cyrus that you half-expect him to belt out “Achy Breaky Heart.”
Still, to topple someone trained in deadly arts of squinting and sneering, Mathayus must team with a sorceress (Kelly Hu). Her gift is not strategic emergence from bathtubs with her hair draping her nipples, but ESP — which she’ll lose upon her first incident of intercourse. The lesson to women: Sex will rob your occupational skills.
Director Chuck Russell’s first cut allegedly lasted only 70 minutes, so tacked-on tangents consistently interrupt a climactic siege. What seem like moments on actors’ lips are lifetimes on “Scorpion’s” already severely compromised hips.
Boasting sword-and-sandal action more sluggish than a Ye Olde Renaissance Faire, The Rock putting someone through a table would be a welcome anachronism. “The Scorpion King”? More like “Moron the Barbarian.”