Red Scorpion (1988)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure  |  21 April 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 6,004 users  
Reviews: 50 user | 55 critic

An elite Special Forces operative is chosen to assassinate an anti-Communist rebel leader, but defects after witnessing the brutality of his comrades, leading the resistance against their oppressors.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Nikolai Rachenko
Dewey Ferguson
Kallunda Kintash
General Vortek
Col. Zayas
Alex Colon ...
Sgt. Krasnov
Ruben Nthodi ...
Ango Sundata
Vuzi Dibukwana ...
Guerilla Officer
James Mthoba ...
Guerilla Officer
Dinky Motsemme ...
Guerilla Officer
Ernest Ndhlovu ...
Guerilla Guard / Guerilla (as Ernest Ndlovu)
Thapelo Mofokeng ...
Guerilla (as Thapeld Mofokeng)
Mxolisi Hulana ...
Nicky Rebelo ...
Occupation Officer


Hesitating in the moment he is about to kill the rebel leader, Nikolai fails and is captured. Rather than being killed outright, he is forced to undergo a shamanic initiation ritual. The ingestion of the poison of a local scorpion, and his initiation ceremony, including scarification (a scorpion), give him a new identity and role in the world -- the Red Scorpion. Written by Phillip Batz

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They think they control him. Think again... See more »


Action | Adventure


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |



Release Date:

21 April 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Escorpião Vermelho  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)


$4,192,440 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut) | (cinema release)

Sound Mix:

(4 channels)| (France)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The "Mil-24 Hind" in reality is a Sikorsky S-62 modified to look like a gunship. The same helicopter was also used in the movie Braddock: Missing in Action III (1988). See more »


During the first chase scene, a Russian soldier fires an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) at a truck. The soldier fires the weapon even though there is clearly no rocket inserted in the launcher. See more »


Colonel Zayas: [Menacing Nikolai with a grenade] This is such a small space... and this is such a very big grenade!
See more »


Referenced in Resident Alien (1990) See more »


Jenny, Jenny
Performed by Little Richard
Words & Music by Enotris Johnson (as Johnson) & Little Richard (as Penniman)
Courtesy of Specialty Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Have you ever seen a bushman?
19 January 2005 | by (Stockholm, Sweden) – See all my reviews

If there is something I connect to the 80's more than anything it's movies like this one. It came at the shivering end of the decade, when the cold war was nearly over. But it shows a technique honed through literally dozens of cold war action movies. A genre of it's own.

The Russian KGB-agent Nikolai (Dolph Lundgren) is sent to Africa to kill a native revolutionary. However he is betrayed by his own people and instead befriends the man he was to kill. Soon he exacts his vengeance on his deceitful commanders.

Dolph Lundgren is known from cold war epics like Rocky IV and Pentathlon. It seems his blonde Swedish looks are very Russian in the eyes of the American audience. Also his garbled accent might be appropriate as a substitute for real Russian. Here he shoots, explodes and slices half the Russian and Cuban armies in his quest for vengeance on the men who betrayed him. The machine of the communist party just needed one small deceit to see the error of his ways and instantly team up with natives and guerrillas to fight for their freedom.

A touching story if you don't think about it. So, you've seen Rambo II and III? You've seen Missing in action with Chuck Norris? You've seen dozens of other cold war action movies where Russians are killed in the hundreds and the hero hardly flinches when he is shot? Then you KNOW what this is about. And this might just be the best of the lot. This is simply 80's propaganda-action in it's most purified form. Entertaining to say the least. Rating is 1/10 for quality, 7/10 for entertainment and 10/10 for accents.

38 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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