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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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$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

When Lt. Nikolai Rachenko is lifting the truck out of the ground in the final battle be props his gun up leaning on the truck. As he lifts, you can notice the gun sliding off; and in the next shot, its back standing up. See more »

Quotes

Dewey Ferguson: Man, what I'd give for a bacon-cheeseburger right now. Wash it down with an icecold glass of beer. Fuckin' A.
Kallunda: When we arrive at Porto Silva, there will be a celebration, and much feasting. Beer too.
Dewey Ferguson: Fuckin' A!
Lt. Nikolai: Do the americans all swear so much as you do?
Dewey Ferguson: As a matter of fact, in America, an american can swear whenever, wherever, however much he or she fuckin' well pleases! It's a little something we call freedom of speech, which I'm sure you russians aren't real familiar with!
Lt. Nikolai: We are free to ...
[...]
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 Australian, Korean, German, UK and US DVD all lack the scene, where the Russian soldiers are burning down part of a village with flamethrowers. This scene comes right after the choppers drop the poisonous liquid on the rebels. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Solo (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Long Tall Sally
Performed by Little Richard
Written by Enotris Johnson (as Johnson), Robert 'Bumps' Blackwell (as Blackwell) and Little Richard (as Penniman)
Courtesy of Specialty Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
not even worth it for over-the-top Cold War propaganda
13 December 2011 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Red Scorpion - produced by Jack Abramoff, formerly one of the top lobbyists in Washington, now a convicted criminal behind bars. At one time, before he reaches his notoriety with his embezzling of Native Americans at their casinos, among many other things, he was into movies, and was also part of the 'Young Republicans', who were, basically, a bunch of right-wing nut-jobs exerting their influence at the tail-end of the Cold War. Also, they were interested in propping up dictators in Africa and elsewhere who happened to be vehemently anti-Communist (that they may have also been totally blood-thirsty maniacs, such as the one Abramoff helped out in Angola, wasn't as much of a concern). I mention this in part as background on this movie, funded by right-wing folks and African heavies, but also that this story- mentioned in the documentary Casino Jack- is much more fascinating than the film itself.

This didn't mean I was expecting something truly amazing action-wise, and chances are you aren't (or did not) expect it either. This is a Dolph Lundgren action flick where he comes in like an action figure (just off of playing action figures He-Man and about to be the Punisher) and tears it up where it may lay. It's quite stupid, though not incompetently made as an action movie. It's got a couple of decent character actors, both from Blade Runner, M. Emmett Walsh and Brion James. It's got lots of action, the kind that if you're still hankering for lots of s*** blowing up real good and the death count going past 100 before the 30-minute mark after the Expendables is good enough. Hell, even Lundgren gets to let his action-pecs fly, and it's entertaining in bits to see him do to (these bits are mostly at the climax).

But there's little of way of interest past it being a mundane action movie where a) because it's really funded by Americans and meant to be an anti-Commie screed, the Russian killing-machine will be changed after seeing th oppression his people wring on the African tribes, and fights back with them becoming... uh, an oppressor for African dictator rule! Morally the film is confused, unless you are so anti-Commie that you agree with the comic-book aesthetic. But even if one can go into it as a mindless action movie, certain moments (like when Lundgren escapes from the "prison" which is just one room) don't make sense, and the dialog takes itself too seriously. This should be a lot of fun, not something that makes us "think". Lots of crap does blow up real good, and at one point ol' Dolph lifts up a tank. That's about it.


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