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Red Scorpion (1988)

A Soviet Special Forces soldier is sent on a mission to infiltrate an African rebel army and assassinate its leader, but the war machine they trained starts to think for himself.

Director:

Joseph Zito

Writers:

Robert Abramoff (story by), Jack Abramoff (story by) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dolph Lundgren ... Lt. Nikolai Rachenko
M. Emmet Walsh ... Dewey Ferguson
Al White ... Kallunda Kintash
T.P. McKenna ... General Vortek
Carmen Argenziano ... Col. Zayas
Alex Colon ... Mendez
Brion James ... Sgt. Krasnov
Ruben Nthodi Ruben Nthodi ... Ango Sundata
Vusi Dibakwane Vusi Dibakwane ... Guerilla Officer (as Vuzi Dibukwana)
James Mthoba James Mthoba ... Guerilla Officer
Dinky Motsemme Dinky Motsemme ... Guerilla Officer
Ernest Ndlovu Ernest Ndlovu ... Guerilla Guard / Guerilla
Thapelo Mofokeng Thapelo Mofokeng ... Guerilla (as Thapeld Mofokeng)
Mxolisi Hulana Mxolisi Hulana ... Guerilla
Nicky Rebelo Nicky Rebelo ... Occupation Officer
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

He's a human killing machine. Taught to stalk. Trained to kill. Programmed to destroy. He's played by their rules... Until now. See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

South Africa | USA | Namibia

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

21 April 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Escorpião Vermelho See more »

Filming Locations:

Namibia

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Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,972,994, 23 April 1989

Gross USA:

$4,192,440

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,192,440
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (cinema release)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)| Mono (France)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One special effect that Joseph Zito and Tom Savini wanted to include in the film was Nikolai shooting one of the bad guys in head and blowing it up to pieces with machine gun he uses in the ending of the film, but for some reason this effect scene was never filmed. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[after escaping from torture, he turns towards the woman taking notes]
Lt. Nikolai: Take a memo to General Vortek.
[She gulps and nods]
Lt. Nikolai: Subject: Escape. Message: I am *still* Spetsnaz!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Sound effects of various weapons firing and exploding are heard over the Little Richard song the plays during the closing credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 18-rated German Video-Release is cut by two scenes. The first cut was made at the torture scene not showing a needle stab in the neck of the victim. The second cut was made, where Dolph Lundgren shoots off the arm of the cuban soldier See more »

Connections

Featured in Casino Jack and the United States of Money (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

All Around The World
Performed by Little Richard
Words & Music by Robert 'Bumps' Blackwell (as Blackwell) & Monica Millet (as Millet)
Courtesy of Specialty Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Lame and overpatriotic, but not as brainless as you might think
5 March 2004 | by jamyskisSee all my reviews

Red Scorpion was filmed and released in the final months of the Cold War when communism was soon to fall. The 1980s saw a whole range of anti-Soviet films (which, in their style, were technically propaganda) as well as films promoting peace between the United States and Soviet Union (the most odd example probably being Red Heat)

This is certainly of the former camp. Portraying Dolph Lundgren as a mindless automaton of Soviet-era Russia, he fights with dedication for his Soviet commanders, until he is thrown in jail for drunken behaviour. There he meets a resistance fighter, who the Soviet command have designated as a terrorist threat, and learns the "truth" about the Soviet presence.

Looking beyond the mindless action scenes (which, despite the countless guns and explosions), there is a good fable about the possibility of manipulating truth, and how appearance is not always truth. It's nothing deep, and won't have film academics breaking out in a sweat, but it does add some interesting twists to the story.

Dolph Lundgren's acting, as always, does leave a lot to be desired, but then this film does seem to be concentrating more on the storyline and action. His education by an African Bushman is particularly funny, even touching at times as you see the relationship between Nikolai and the Bushman develop. It's just a shame that more wasn't made of it.

All in all, the film does try to be what it isn't but doesn't suffer for it - indeed, at times, it even shows signs of succeeding.


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