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September 8, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | September 8, 2008 |

00:01: I think the (straight-to) DVD box says about all you need to know about Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior. In huge bold letters, the box boasts: “All New Movie.” Well, it does have that going for it. It’s kind of like Sarah Palin, really: She’s brand new! Just keep her away from critics.

00:05: In The Rock’s stead, this Scorpion King stars Randy “The Natural” Couture, who is a huge, mega-star in the world of Ultimate Fighting. It’d probably be hard to recognize him, though, since the last time you saw him, your eyes were bloodshot, and you’d just smoked some paralyzing weed that prevented you from changing the channel.

01:01: What we got here is an elite force of warriors, called the Black Scorpions. This 12-year-old kid, Mathayus, isn’t allowed to participate because his father — a Black Scorpion himself — doesn’t want him to on account of it involving sharp things and and increased likelihood of poking your eye out. He decides to try out, anyway. I think we’re about to find out what happens when you don’t listen to your father.

05:01: Mathayus gets in a skirmish with Sargon, who is running the tryouts (it’s like soccer tryouts, only with swords and decapitations and it takes place in a coliseum instead of behind the junior high). Sargon (Couture) goes after Mathayus, a fight breaks out, Mathayus’ Dad gets involved, and tempers start to flare like a hemorrhoids battling rubber bands.

07:26: Later, to avenge his humiliation, Sargon sends a black cloud of smoke to Mathayus’ parents house, unleashing millions of little scorpions on Mathayus’ father, who doesn’t take kindly to their stings and decides to die. Pussy. Now, Mathayus is pissed, and vows to “master the ways of the warrior,” so that one day, he can defeat Sargon. Why doesn’t anyone in these movies ever decide to “master the ways of a dentist” and defeat gum disease?

08:06: This lousy training montage has no snappy music. What? They couldn’t get Kenny Loggins for Scorpion King 2? Maybe that’ll be the big draw to the third movie. “Meet me halfway, across the millennium …” Oh, fuck you: You come up with something better.

08:24: It’s suddenly six years later. Mathayus is grown — he left a boy, now returns a man! It’s like the time my Dad left with a boy, and returned a gay! Similarly, my Dad and Mathuyus wear sweatbands, though Mathuyus has a ponytail, and my father had a mullet (he was, after all, a top).

10:00: Mathayus is sworn in as a Black Scorpion — the top graduate in his class, though there appears to be no Valedictorian speech, probably because the screenwriter doesn’t know what that word means. Actually, the writer/director is Russell Mulcahy, who directed both Highlander II: Cinematic Carbolic Acid and one of Ranylt’s favorites, Razorback. Hmmm. Perhaps I’m giving short shrift to Mulchahy, or perhaps he “accidentally” fell and hit his head on a spiked dildo sometime between 1984 and now.

12:01: Here’s a twist you probably never saw coming: Sargon is now the king! His sweatband is made of gold. Fun fact: Randy Couture shits rainbows.

14:00: In another divine twist of fate only a shitty screenwriter could come up with, Mathayus is put on special detail, working as Sargon’s personal bodyguard, the man who killed his Pops with a black cloud of smoke full of scorpions. Why do these Ancient Egyptians all look like they just walked out of a Mall of America costume shop?

17:14: To show his loyalty to King Sargon, a nice man just plunged a knife into his hand. That’s how I showed my loyalty during my nuptials.

19:23: Mathayus’ first duty: Slay his brother, who slandered the king. That’s a slayin’! Mathayus, instead, cuts off his brother’s shackles and takes out all of Sargon’s bodyguards with his handy sword. I am so regretting bringing back real-time reviews.

21:16: Now, Mathayus is throwing a spear at Sargon, but Sargon does this neat little trick with his mind, making the spear stop in mid-air — like in “Bugs Bunny” cartoons — and then redirects it toward Mathayus. An impressed Mathayus still manages to side-step the magical spear. It’s kind of like in The Matrix, when Keanu Reeves watches a bullet fly by his head in slow-motion, only this is a spear, and holy shit this movie sucks dirty anal beads.

23:09: Mathayus jumps a horse and high-tails it out of town with his brother, Noah, who takes an arrow to the back. Noah gurgles a little and rolls up his eyes, like they taught him in the acting class he took next door to the air-conditioning repair class. Fun Fact: It takes 2 to 4 hours for a corpse to begin rigor mortis, and the process is complete within six to eight hours. Watching a body decompose would be more exciting that The Scorpion King 2.

After Noah gives up the ghost, Mathayus shows his anger by jumping back on the horse and making it run faster. Grrrrrr. I think they’re heading toward the food court!

24:00: By the way, for those keeping track at home, Scorpion King 2 is actually a prequel to the first Scorpion King, which itself was a prequel to The Mummy. For no reason whatsoever, The Scorpion King 3, now in production, is actually a prequel to the great Kirk Cameron comedy, Left Behind II: Tribulation Force. Those crazy Hollywood minds!

26:39: Mathayus joins forces with a feisty chick, Layla, who is a former childhood friend. They sort of loathe one another, which means they’ll soon be fucking. It’s one of them screwball relationship comedies, only it’s not funny and the ball-screwing feels vaguely literal.

29:23: On the ship to Egypt or wherever the fuck they’re going, they meet Aristophanes the Greek, who is played by Simon Quarterman, a New Zealand soap opera actor. Aristophanes suggests that the only way to kill Sargon is with the Sword of Damocles, which was transformed by Zeus from a lightning bolt into a sword.

Strangely enough, there is actually a myth about the Sword of Damocles — it concerns a guy named Damocles who Dionysus allowed to serve as king for a day. Only, Damocles discovered a sword hanging above his head by a single horsehair, after which he lost his taste for fine foods and boys. The Sword of Damocles is used as an allusion to represent imminent and dangerous peril by those in power.

That’s fucking deep, huh? I’m sure it was the first sword’s name that Mulcahy found when perusing his Greek Myth for Dummies book.

33:00: Just, FYI: Our hero, Mathayus, is being played by Michael Copon. He was one of the Power Rangers — the Blue Time Force Ranger. Perhaps someone can correct me on this, but it appears that “The Power Rangers” and “The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” were distinct from one another. Oh wait, I see: “The Power Rangers” are a spin-off of “The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.” In either respect, I think they’re all colorful people who keep watch over National Parks.

41:00: These guys have been walking down a hallway with torches for going on five minutes, just whispering indecipherable shit to each other. I don’t know what’s going on. I didn’t see the first Scorpion King, so maybe I’m just lost.

42:00: Finally, some goddamn action! Our lovable crew of warriors have run upon a flesh-eating Minotaur. It’s hard to tell, from the quick cuts, exactly what he looks like. From what I can see, he sort of looks like a slab of manure with horns.

44:00: Ooooooh, damn. Mathayus just poked the Minotaur in his underbelly with his phallic sword. Boom goes the Minataur. But, the feisty girl, Layla, got a little flesh wound. She’s OK, though. She gives this soft little ouch moan, like the chick in the Street Fighter video games. “Oooh. Ah. OUCH.” Fun Fact: The sound effects for the video game were actually sampled from Chris Evert Lloyd’s tennis matches.

46:00: Layla is played by Karen David, who many of you may be familiar with as Court Reporter #1 in Batman Begins. She’s from Meghalaya, a fully autonomous state in India. It won zero medals at the Beijing Olympics.

47:00: Fuck, I’m hungry. This big bowl of suck is not very filling.

47:58: Some weird, science-fiction shit is happening now. All the bricks in a room they were in just flew away with some weird Tron like shit, leaving them on a mile-high slab of concrete in the middle of the desert. Mathayus, listening to the spirit of his father, decides to step off of it. Magical stairs appear — isn’t that what happened in one of the Indy films? Anyway, now the ground is hurtling toward them and … whish, now they are all safe in the underworld. What?!

52:04: The crew has one hour in the underworld before their bodies turn to stone, which is what my brain has turned into watching this. You should probably know that they picked up about 10 prisoners or so that have decided to fight with them, in honor of Mathayus’ father. They’re nameless, so I’m sure they’re all about to buy the pyramid.

53:54: This movie doesn’t even deserve the tagline, “Brand New Movie.”

57:35: The underworld is full of dead creatures; if you look into their eyes, something bad will happen. I’m not sure what, but I think it’s akin to eating six Cinnabons in one sitting. (Fun Fact: No one has ever eaten more than 2 and half Cinnabons in one sitting and survived). The underworld, which is full of corpses and stuff, has also changed everyone’s moods — now they all need Prozac just to keep from killing one another. One dude says, “Save your blade for chopping onions,” and then Mathayus has this great comeback: “Save your tongue for licking my boots.” Yes! That’s some Oscar Wilde shit right there.

60:27: Nothing is happening. They just keep walking and walking. It’s like fucking LoTR, only with a $4 budget and the dude from Power Rangers. I don’t even understand why they are in an underworld — I suppose they have some task to complete before they can return to wherever they are from and kill Sargon, who is basically watching them in his little crystal ball.

62:01: It’s been less than two minutes since my last update. Feels a little like an eon. Kill me. Please. I think some tree branches just sucked some of the prisoners into their stumps. It’s hard to tell what’s going on. I can’t see through the glaze that has built up around my eyes.

63:03: Fucking hell: Here we go! A witch with no legs who floats has taken issue with their presence. She is, Astarte, the goddess of love and war. Well, there’s a job description with some conflicts. She’s trying to get into Mathayus’ pants by whispering evil nothings into his ears. Her voice is worse than The Dark Knight’s. A real weenie shrinker. “I can force you, with a single glance, into obeying my every depraved whim.” I bet she couldn’t make him watch this movie.

66:02: Layla doesn’t like Astarte fucking with her man, so she’s decided to fight her. “I daresay you could not seduce a beggar if you jiggled coins between your breasts!” Aha! Astarte’s witch outfit just transformed into a warrior bikini. Now we’re getting somewhere!

No, we’re not.

69:03: Before the Goddess can dump Layla into a pit of despair (which is where I’m at right now), Mathayus sweet talks the Goddess of War into letting them go. She tries to talk him into being her love slave, but he kindly declines, reiterating his desire to avenge his father’s death rather than lay down, forever, with the best goddamn lover this side of Egypt.

72:03: Meanwhile, elsewhere, Aristophanes has found the Sword of Damocles (oh yeah! That’s why they’re here). He brings it back to Mathayus, and then they all run like hell. Jesus. All this running.

74:14: I don’t know what just happened, but everyone except our three heroes just turned to stone; by the power of movie magic, Aristophanes, Mathayus, and Layla are instantly zapped out of the underworld. The special effects here are PBS worthy.

74:38: I think you probably had to see the first Scorpion King to truly understand the greatness of the sequel.

75:00: Elsewhere, Sargon was trying to bang an Egyptian hottie and suddenly, she turned into Arstate, who has a simple message for Sargon: Get that sword back or I’ll make a soufflĂ© out of your stomach lining. Sargon agrees in exchange for more black powers. They’re in cahoots!

76:00: Hmmm. Arstate just dropped some blood on Sargon. Now Sargon has some sort of tattoo comb-over. Whatever works, buddy.

77:30: Scorpion King truthism: “Inside every hero lurks the potential for a monster.”

79:19: The big showdown with Sargon is impending, and yet there are still 28 minutes of the movie left. I’m hoping that the credits are 27 minutes long.

83:02: There is an immense amount of walking around in this movie; they really ought to call it a walkathon and take donations. Go Pink!

86:14: I’m not sure how it’s happened, but Mathayus is chatting with his dead fath … oh, wait. It was just Sargon, shape-shifting into Mathayus’ Pops.

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87:20: The fight is on. “I fight for what my father believes in!” Ugh. There are some fisticuffs. Then, Sargon takes the Sword of Damocles. Score 1 for the Scorpion King.

88:18: Mathayus challenges Sargon to a fist-fight, without any magic or trickery. Why do people always fall for this shit? It really is a testament to the power of the penis, as well as lazy scriptwriting.

89:00: Aristophanes, for reasons I can’t explain, is under a table writing. He’s got the sword. Oh, snap: He just gave the Sword of Damocles to Sargon in exchange for some jewels. Traitor! You can never trust a Greek. Sargon: “That’s right, you fool. I planned every detail of your heroic journey into the underworld. This sword makes my power Supreme!”

91:00: Sargon uses the Sword of Damocles on Mathayus, and it snaps in two. “What!” Damn — the sword wasn’t what it was cracked up to be.

91:15: Aristophanes walks back in and throws the real sword to Mathayus. Oh, double snap! “I’m a poet, not a scribe, you jackass!” The one-liner of the movie goes to Aristophanes.

91:30: Outside the castle, Layla is laying some steel on Sargon’s henchman.

92:15: Oh, damn: Sargon just shape-shifted into a giant Black Scorpion. Oh, it’s on! If by “it’s on” you mean: I’m kind of bored.

94:14: The Scorpion is now blowing up shit and destroying the castle. It looks like a cartoon hologram, although it’s mostly invisible. That’s sort of the cheap way out, really. No budget? Just make your creature invisible! It’s just a bunch of lousy sound effects and tables crashing. And, I’m not sure, but I think the set pieces are all left over from Mortal Kombat.

96:03: I’m not sure what’s going on outside the castle, but it has to do with oil. Lots of it. Some weird black oil that travels, like on “The X-Files.” Now, the castle is on fire, and another trial of fire seems to be traveling toward Mathayus. Layla and a dude named Fong are trying to put it out with sand because they didn’t have volunteer fire departments back in the day. “Stop the flames from reaching the walls!” they scream.

98:41: Fong’s witticism: “Not good.”

99:01: Ha ha ha ha. Mathayus just threw a vase full of black paint at the invisible scorpion. Now he can see it.

99:25: Well, that was lame. He killed the scorpion by holding up the sword and allowing the scorpion to run into it. “This is for my father.” It’s a faux-climax, because you just now that …

100:41: … there she is: Arstarte. She steals the Sword away with her magical power.

102: 32: Not sure what happened (again, I’m paying attention, it’s just that nothing makes any fucking sense), but Arstarte holds the sword up to him, says, “Why should I show you any mercy. You dared spurn me. Not to mention, you stole my sword.” Mathayus says “Because my lady, you know you’ll have me soon enough.” Then Mathayus falls asleep. How’s that for a grand finale?

103:32: Mathayus wakes up three days later, kisses Layla, and a guy that hasn’t been in the movie is now being crowned king. “Should’ve been you,” Layla says. “No thanks. Not my cup of tea,” says Mathayus. Brilliant exchange! Turns out, Mathayus would rather go on to more adventures.

104:03: Cue sequel foreshadowing. And credits! That’s it? Wow: That was a dumb fucking ending.

I think I’m going to go pour myself a big bowl of cereal. And then drown in it.

Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives in Portland, Maine. You can reach him via email, or leave a comment below.

It's Morphin Time!

Scorpion King 2: The Rise of the Warriors Real-Time Review/ Dustin Rowles

Film | September 8, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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