The Scorpion King - PG-13
Best for: Teenagers and adults who enjoy a fast moving action adventure.
What it's about: Five thousand years ago, in the ancient city of Gomorrah, an ambitious warlord named Memnon (Steven Brand) is brutally conquering nomadic tribes upon the advice of a beautiful Sorceress Cassandra (Kelly Hu), who receives visions that guide him to his victories. Fearing for their lives, the remaining tribes hire a skilled assassin, Mathayus (The Rock), to kill the seer. Instead, he kidnaps Cassandra and takes her deep into the desert badlands, knowing Memnon will follow. It's now up to Mathayus and his warrior tribesmen to fight back and defeat Memnon. Michael Clarke Duncan, Bernard Hill, Grant Heslov and an impressive cast of others add to the action.
The good: Remember the old adventure classics Sinbad, Aladdin and Jason and the Argonauts, with their sword fights, villains and cheesy special effects? The Scorpion King brings that style into the new-millennium, with realistic sword fights, phenomenal stunts, amazing special effects and a bigger-then-life action hero. The Rock is something to behold as he uses his hands, swords and other weapons to fight his enemies, falling in love along the way and bonding with his allies. His simple creed: "Live free, die well."
The script is witty, and the plot is filled with funny characters, humorous moments and intense battle scenes. But it's The Rock that commands the screen! His handsome physique, playful smirk and dazzling smile give the screen a larger-than-life hero to root for and a new action star to step into Schwarzenegger's shoes. The characters of Arpid and Philos provide comic relief as they help Mathayus, while the beautiful Hu plays her heroine smart.
I took my teenage son and we had a great time rooting for The Rock. I was a little surprised that I enjoyed The Scorpion King as much as I did.
The not-so-good: The fight scenes are filled with amazing stunts and sound effects, but the violence is graphic. Cassandra's body is barely covered. The Rock literally falls into a harem of skimpily clad women. No nudity or sex is shown, but a couple of sensual outfits and kissing scenes make this an action adventure for mature teens and adults to enjoy. A main character is a seer who can tell the future.
Offensive language: A few crude "barbarisms."
Sexual situations: Cassandra and Mathayus kiss, then lay on a bed. The next shot shows the two laying side by side, with Mathayus under the covers and Cassandra nude but strategically covered. Girls in a harem surround Mathayus and tease him.
Violence: The movie opens with a man getting a steel blade stuck in his forehead. Scene after scene has fist fights, sword fights, and men being shot with bows and arrows, sinking in quick sand and being buried alive. Lots of fight scenes and several dynamite explosions.
Parental advisory: This takeoff from the The Mummy Returns has a well-earned "PG-13" rating because of the violent fight scenes and sensual overtones. If your older kids or young teens handled the action and violence in The Mummy Returns, they'll enjoy this movie, but I caution parents considering taking younger children.
Bottom line: This exotic looking, incredibly choreographed and thrilling story reminded me of why those adventure classics entertained me as a kid. I have to hand it to The Rock: His bigger-than-life performance makes his starring role debut a hit. In other words, he rocks!
The Scorpion King - PG-13