Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption (2012)

In the field of reviewing movies, especially genre movies, you end up having to review films you have no interest in watching. Case in point: "The Scorpion King 3: Battle of Redemption", a sequel to a prequel to "The Mummy." Granted, the original "Scorpion King", whilst not a great movie, was a decent little slice of Sword n' Sorcery cheese that benefited from a strong central performance from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. For this direct-to-video sequel? Our hero is played by Victor Webster.

Taking place after the first movie (the prior movie was another prequel), our hero has lost his kingdom and his girl to the plague, and is now a wandering mercenary. He's given a chance at redemption though, because King Horus (Ron Perlman) has hired him to stop the evil tyrant Talus (Billy Zane), who has taken over the kingdom and wants to get the help of 3 ghost warriors (Dave Bautista, Selina Lo and "Tapout Presents" stalwart Kimbo Slice) to help him take over the world. Fortunately for our hero, he's got a sidekick in the oafish Olaf (Bostin Christopher) and a heathen warrior named Silda (Krysal Vee.)

First things first: It's kind of weird to see Perlman here. Granted, he's no stranger to bad direct-to-video movies, but he's got a hit TV show in "Sons of Anarchy", and was in three major theatrical releases last year-one in which was "Drive", which was the best movie of that year. You'd think he's at a point in his career where he doesn't need to take roles like this, but oh well. Also, he seems really bored, and you can tell he knows he's better than this.

I will give the movie this much: Billy Zane is a lot of fun and chews scenery in the best ways imaginable. Every time he opens his mouth, I couldn't help but feel amused. Also, the fight choreography is pretty impressive, and while he's still bad, at least Bautista is better than he was in "Wrong Side of Town" and "House of the Rising Sun." Finally, I liked the score from Trevor Morris, which is better than a movie like this deserves.

Apart from that, this is pretty bad. One of the things that's frustrating is that there are actually things here that have potential to be cool-ninjas, big kung-fu battles, sword fights and gorgeous, scantly clad women, but the movie drops the ball. In the right hands, this could have been like those goofy but fun "Conan the Barbarians" rip-offs like "Deathstalker" or it's sequel-except you know, with a PG-13 rating-but there's little in the way of cheesy enjoyment here. In fact, most of this is pretty routine, with the self-aware humor coming off as underdeveloped, and most of the performances-especially from Morris and Christopher-just come off as bad-bad and not so-bad-they-are good. Meanwhile, the script (from the writers of the obnoxious horror-comedy "Drive-Thru") is poor, and the direction from Roel Reine (whose found a niche for directing straight-to-video sequels) is mediocre at best. Finally, the conclusion just feels anti-climactic, and doesn't offer any sort of punch.

"Scorpion King 3" is nothing more than yet another entry in the endless parade of bad direct-to-video sequels that parade Redboxes and Netflix these days. There's little here that stands out among them, so you probably don't need to see it.

Rating: 2/10

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