STARRING: The Rock, Steven Brand, Michael Clarke Duncan, Kelly Hu

2002, 94 Minutes, Directed by: Chuck Russell

At the beginning of The Scorpion King a man hit by an arrow fired by the hero flies through the air as if a gigantic hand swatted him. Now I have seen people in movies reacting like this to the force of a shotgun or cannonball blast, but an arrow fired from a bow? This is novel. I may have dozed off during my physics class, but logic dictates that an arrow - now matter how fast it travels - would at most probably pass straight through a human body. But like I said, I never paid much attention in physics class . . .

The makers of The Scorpion King probably didn't either, but at least they are not trying to sell us the guy flying through the air. Instead The Scorpion King has its tongue tucked firmly in its cheek. The film-makers are also not taking this piece of hokum derived from Sword & Sorcery pics such as Conan the Destroyer and the Indiana Jones movies (but supposedly "inspired" by a character from The Mummy Returns, itself a hugely unoriginal piece of work) seriously either.

"It is a Saturday matinee flick and nothing more," they seem to be saying. In that they are right, and to its credit, The Scorpion King never tries to be anything else. It is after all a movie about a super powerful (though not superhuman) assassin played by The Rock, a Wrestling champion with minimum acting capabilities, squaring up against an evil dictator in ancient times. Along the way he picks up a scantily dressed female sidekick played by TV star Kelly Hu (however due to the PG rating, there are no gratuitous nudity alas).

Fast-moving and at times funny, The Scorpion King becomes a bit of a drag towards the end as the endless sword fights just carries on for too long and gets repetitious. It's a load of cheesy nonsense all right, but if you're in the mood for some brainless entertainment then The Scorpion King might just fit the bill . . .


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