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The Scorpion King (2002)

A desert warrior rises up against the evil army that is destroying his homeland. He captures the enemy's key sorcerer, takes her deep into the desert and prepares for a final showdown.

Director:

Chuck Russell

Writers:

Stephen Sommers (story), Jonathan Hales (story) | 3 more credits »
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1,945 ( 100)
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dwayne Johnson ... Mathayus (as The Rock)
Steven Brand ... Memnon
Michael Clarke Duncan ... Balthazar
Kelly Hu ... The Sorceress
Bernard Hill ... Philos
Grant Heslov ... Arpid
Peter Facinelli ... Takmet
Ralf Moeller ... Thorak
Branscombe Richmond ... Jesup
Roger Rees ... King Pheron
Sherri Howard ... Queen Isis
Conrad Roberts ... Chieftain
Joseph Ruskin ... Tribal Leader
Esteban Cueto ... Third Akkadian
Nils Allen Stewart ... Torturer
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Storyline

In ancient Gomorrah, thousands of years before the Pyramids, the remaining free nomadic tribes are forced to form an uneasy alliance to put an end to mighty King Memnon's reign of tyranny. One of the few survivors and the last of the Akkadians, the brave assassin, Mathayus, is entrusted with the impossible task of executing Memnon's fortune-telling sorceress, Cassandra, only to find himself up against a seemingly indestructible evil army. Now, with the help of his new powerful allies, including the great warrior, Balthazar, Mathayus returns to the legendary city to infiltrate Memnon's impenetrable fortress in the desert and exact his revenge. Is Mathayus destined to be the next Scorpion King? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Warrior. Legend. King.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence and some sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA | Germany | Belgium

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 April 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Scorpion King See more »

Filming Locations:

June Lake, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$36,075,875, 21 April 2002

Gross USA:

$91,047,077

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$180,630,907
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS (DTS: X)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The theme song "I Stand Alone" by Godsmack was later featured in the video game Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (2004). See more »

Goofs

When Mathayus escapes from the harem, he cuts the gong and rolls it away for cover, without returning his sword to its sheath. When he drops into Cassandra's chamber, he immediately draws his sword. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[the barbarian chieftain is holding up a skull]
Barbarian Chieftain: We have killed Babylonians!
[the barbarians cheer, he holds up another]
Barbarian Chieftain: We have killed Mesopotamians!
[the barbarians cheer]
Barbarian Chieftain: But we have never had the pleasure of killing... an Akkadian.
Jesup: [Tied up] May the gods have pity on you, for my brother will not.
[Mathayas storms in and kills the Barbarians]
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits, only with the Universal logo and the title for the film at the beginning. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the UK the distributor, UIP, removed a headbutt in the final fight sequence between Mathayus and Memnon after advice given to them by the BBFC. This was done to obtain a more commercial '12' rating. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Saturday Night Live: The Rock/Andrew W.K. (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Marching-In
Written by Sho Kosugi
Performed by The Taiko Drummers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Fun for the shear cheese of it

The ability to win over new fans is not easy when one is shoved into the limelight so quickly. After briefly appearing as The Scorpion King in Stephen Sommers' anticipated sequel The Mummy Returns (2001), Universal Studios believed that it was time to create their spin-off starring none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Originally only taking part in wrestling, Johnson was bit by the acting bug and agreed to star in this film as his feature debut. As known by many, this spin-off movie was a prequel, to a sequel of a movie that was a remake of an older movie. Sounds confusing, but it can be understood. Once you think about it, it does make sense. As for being a well-written story,..not really. There are a lot of pluses to this film but it has its drawbacks too.

As a film that tells the background to how Mathayus, The Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson) got his name, it doesn't really declare itself publicly. Yet somehow, everyone knows by the end. Originally, Mathayus belonged to a group of hired assassins during a time when a ruthless dictator known as Memnon (Steven Brand) was looking to conquer everybody and anybody. Mathayus and his fellow assassins were hired to take out Memnon and a powerful sorceress (Kelly Hu) who sees visions of the future. All the same like other assassins hired to kill, they end up getting caught caring too much. This happens when Mathayus and the sorceress become attached to each other. As an origin story, the narrative is mostly predictable. Also, since it is a prequel, audiences already have an idea of what is going to happen. However, this doesn't make the viewing experience unwatchable. Aside from the story being a touch too cliché, there are a couple of other setbacks.

The first belongs to the sorceress' powers to see into the future. There isn't any logic behind this other than it just being shown that she has these powers. In other words, the audience just has to accept this as a fact and not care about the reasoning. Yet for viewers who have a harder time shutting off their brain or are just more inquisitive, the understanding behind how she acquired her powers would've been appreciated to have. The other issue is the tone of the script, which constantly flip-flops in the midst of goofy and serious. Thus, the end result tends to be an entire cheese fest because you want to take the story seriously but can't because of how certain situations are handled. Having a character give a rather immature nod to the audience because someone went to bed with them, kind of breaks the rules on how serious a viewer can take this story. Another example is pairing up the protagonist with mildly unneeded sidekick named Arpid (Grant Haslov). Most of his comments are just too obvious to be even said.

As for who wrote those moments into the script, it most likely belonged to William Osborne (best known for writing Twins (1988) & everyone's hated Stallone film Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)). The other writing credits belong to Stephen Sommers (rightfully so) and David Hayter (X-Men (2000), X-Men 2 (2003) & Watchmen (2009)). So it's not like every writer behind this production didn't have the credentials. The directing was also headed competently by the underrated Chuck Russell (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), The Blob (1988) remake & The Mask (1994)). Even with its cheese factor, the main cast is able to perform okay. Dwayne Johnson was no doubt the right choice to be Mathayus because what would a spin-off origin movie be if the actor doesn't return to play the role he made? Steven Brand is a worthy opponent to Johnson but it probably would've been an even better idea if Michael Clarke Duncan (who plays along side Johnson) was the enemy. It just would've been a better showdown.

Kelly Hu is attractive in her own right and doesn't give a bland performance either. The rest of the cast (including Grant Haslov) also act okay but nothing that is of much importance. They do help near the end and add to the overall cheese at times but they a necessity. Cinematography was ably contributed by John R. Leonetti who was able to mimic Adrian Biddle's work from Sommers' The Mummy (1999) universe. There are lots of desert shots, while the set pieces appear grand and ancient. The action was also well choreographed and since sword fights aren't exactly the most used types of action sequences; it entertains. For the musical score, John Debney composed behind the film. For this listening experience, Debney uses a blend of organic orchestra with what also sounds like occasional rock/pop beats. This was probably used in order to accommodate Johnson's fans but the beats actually don't mess with the score too much. The action cues sound appropriate with the scene it follows and it's in line with the genre. If the story to this movie was taken a little more seriously, this probably would've entertained more.

Its script is not clear on everything and its unequal tone makes the actors look occasionally cheesy on film. It's okay in some ways and others not so much. Luckily, the camera-work, action, music and main cast are able to manipulate it in their favor to entertain on very mindless level.


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