With the success of the first The Scorpion King and the onset of another The Mummy film, most studios would be content merely re-releasing the titles on DVD or on Blu-ray—which Universal did both of (well, at least a Blu-ray release for Scorpion King). But Universal also took it one step further by making a sequel to The Scorpion King, in which we see a young Mathayus learn the ropes and how he grew up to become the warrior we saw as portrayed by The Rock. If this sounds like an exciting adventure film to you, then you are very, very wrong.
After his father is killed by King Sargon (Randy Couture), Mathayus (Michael Copon) vows to exact revenge on the king and avenge his father’s death. Unfortunately for Mathayus, but the time he completes his training to take down the king, Sargon has become so powerful through the use of black magic that he cannot hope to defeat him alone. With the aid of his friends, Matahyus sets out to obtain a weapon that would take down the evil King—but the only problem is the famed weapon, the Sword of Damocles, is buried in the Underworld. Mathayus must literally travel to Hell and back in order to take down the man who killed his father.
If ever there was a “I’m going to slam my head against my desk” moment, watching The Scorpion King 2 is it. I apologized to my PS3 as I slid the disc into it, promising that if it played it throughout without exploding from the stupidity it undoubtedly contained, I’d later let it play some good films on a constant loop. Unfortunately for me, my utter dislike of the first The Scorpion King didn’t make viewing this one any easier. I already had a sour taste from The Mummy Returns not being as good as I’d hoped it be, but with the recent expedition that was The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, I simply wasn’t sure how much bastardizing of ancient mythology I could take. Needless to say, The Scorpion King 2 tested my limits.
The only nice thing about watching films that take place in the past is that they aren’t fraught with dialogue that spews forth from the youth of today. Apparently writer Randall McCormick didn’t understand this concept, however, as he instead threw in some very modern sounding dialogue to come out of Mathayus and his friends, including the repeated use of the word “ass” and its many variants. I guess this was intentional for whatever, reason, but I just don’t know how anyone can take a film like this seriously. Surely they must have realized while shooting this that if they were wearing revealing leather outfits that rebellious teen dialogue shouldn’t be thrown into the mix. Whatever, that’s just one point against this film.
I feel like I could write about how horrible this movie is for hours on end, but I’m going to stop myself in an effort to not completely shredding this film a new one. The story of this film is about as basic as you can get and after having just watched another sequel to a horrible early 2000 action film, The Art of War II, I feel like I’m being punished by having to watch these two. August of 2008 will be remembered by me as the month that horrible action films received even worse action sequels and it’s all these two films fault. I just can’t wrap my head around the dialogue, plot, characters or, really, anything about The Scorpion King 2. It is quite simply a horrendous film on all accounts that has absolutely not a single appealing factor going for it. Nothing. At all.
I’ve seen bad films before and while almost all films have some kind of small redeeming quality that could maybe make them worth watching, there is absolutely nothing of value in The Scorpion King II. Quite frankly it sucks and is something I hope to never lay my eyes on again in fear that I might have to gouge them out. I already disliked the characters from the first film and seeing Mathayus’s origin in this film just was absolutely excruciating to sit through. It’s not entertaining on a superficial level or even “so bad it’s entertaining.” This film is just absolutely bad in every way, shape and form. Go make an appointment with your dentist, as having your teeth drilled would bring about a more pleasant two hours (yes this film was just ten minutes shy of two hours) than this movie. Avoid It.
Universal clearly knows when to put effort into a release and when to just say “eh, screw it.” This is one such release. The Blu-ray comes housed in a standard case with a reflective foil slipcase and an insert inside advertising present and upcoming Blu-ray releases. The menus for the disc are the usual Universal layouts and are simple and easy to navigate.
Video for the film is presented in an 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen VC-1 encoded transfer. Since the film looks like it was made-for-TV (and shot as such), the aspect ratio is right at home for this film and there is nothing particularly engaging about the transfer presented here. It looks nice enough, but there isn’t any real depth to the picture and just overall looks rather weak and disappointing. Perhaps that’s just complaints about the film in general seeping through again, but this is quite a boring Blu-ray transfer. The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is a decent surround effort, but like everything else about this film (and release), there is nothing worth noting here. Props to whoever had to mix this soundtrack, I’m sure you were tempted to cut the dialogue track out and just loop some heavy metal music for the entire film. That’s what I would’ve done.
So…extras! The DVD edition had a fair selection of making-of’s, deleted scenes and general behind-the-scenes shenanigans being shown, so we’d expect the same for the Blu-ray release, right? Nope. Universal has completely neutered this disc, offering up only the “My Scenes” as an “Extra” on the set. So…let me get this straight. Instead of any extras slightly redeeming any chance I have of maybe even remotely enjoying this film, I’m supposed to pick out my favorite scenes from the film for easy access in the future? Uh, yeah. No thanks.
So that wraps up the Blu-ray. Crap film, a fair audio and video transfer and absolutely zero extras. A true winner. Avoid at all costs.
The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.