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King Scorpion . . .
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Review: The Scorpion King

Live Free,
Die Well . . .
  He may rule the box office, but he is not the ancient ruler of Egypt.
He is "The Scorpion King." Accept him for what he is-a sword-fighting, bow-wielding, knuckle-busting fighter. WWF wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the star of the Scorpion King, will make action adventure fans cheer, but for those intrigued with the film's predecessor's,
?The Mummy? and ?The Mummy Returns?, this is a weak link to the world of ancient Kemet.
Where the Mummy blockbusters at least maintained an Egyptian motif, "The Scorpion King" has
spun-off into a world of it's own-a land of mixed-up myth and lubricious legend.

The story line is simple, direct and born to serve the action. And, the action is non-stop, frenetic and dramatic. Director Chuck Russell ("The Mask") acknowledges that he is a big fan
of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and the swashbuckling classics of another Hollywood age,
and it shows. The basic idea is: avenge, defend and the best revenge.
 
  As the film begins, Mathayus ("The Rock") one of the last of nearly extinct race, the Akkadians,
agrees to get rid of a sorcerer-the power behind the cruel leader Memnon's (Steven Brand)throne. He finds that the sorcerer is beautiful (Kelly Hu) and, his brother is slaughtered before his eyes. The last words of the dying brother: "Live free . . ." A distraught Mathayus answers: ". .
. Die well." And, then the game is afoot, or rather ablaze, full-screen, full-blast and full of fights.

The best way to enjoy "The Scorpion King" is to approach it as a grand dance. The film is a
well-lit, handsomely cast, seamlessly choreographed battle. And, "The Rock" is center stage.

?The Rock? is charismatic as the assassin turned avenger. Despite his size, the muscular actor
gracefully executes eye-popping stunts and, just as easily, melts into a cunning, toothy grin.
 
  Kelly Hu displays her stunning figure to full effect as she utilizes her considerable martial arts training-she has a black belt-to join some of the skirmishes. Hu is "The Rock's" leading lady, but it isn't the limited love scenes that drive this movie.

The hard-won camaraderie between Mathayus' ("The Rock") character and that of actor Michael
Clarke Dunne is delicious to watch. Though the two don't get near enough time for on-screen
dialogue, they are quite an awesome pair when confronting the forces of Memnon. Actor Steven
Brand brings a brash, nastiness to the role of the archvillain, Memnon, that adds just the right
edge to the back-and-forth, hit-and-run blood battles that ensue.
  The film is beautifully photographed by cinematographer John Leonetti and every battle is
underscored by a rousing rock theme. The makeup hair and costuming, much like the grand-scale set designs draw viewers into the ancient world-inspired fantasy. But, Egypt is barely a whisper in the design and direction of the film.

Unlike ?The Mummy? movies, which were shot on locations in Morocco, this film was shot entirely on Universal Studios backlots and on desert locations in southern California, far from Egypt.

So, you want to fight? Or rather, want to watch a string of great fights that utilize bows and
arrows, daggers, swords?--then, front-row center at the ?The Scorpion King? is the place to be.
 
Photos Copyright Universal Pictures, 2002


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