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The Scorpion King: Collector's Edition

A fun, and brainless spin-off from 2001's The Mummy Returns (itself a poor sequel to 1999's surprisingly fun and brainless The Mummy), The Scorpion King (2002) stars professional wrestling sensation "The Rock" (né Dwayne Johnson) as an ancient-world assassin hired to eliminate a sorcerer who tips the scales of battle in favor of a ruthless warrior king (Steven Brand). The twist is, the sorcerer is played by hottie Kelly Hu, who may be of more, uh, use alive than dead. Directed by veteran bubblegummer Chuck Russell (who previously directed 1988's remake of The Blob, 1994's Jim Carrey vehicle The Mask, and, more importantly, produced the seminal 1979 Cheerleader's Naughty Weekend), The Scorpion King offers nothing new, but neither does it labor: it bounces swiftly between hyper-charged action scenes, augmented by charming cartoon performances and some unremarkable silliness. Rated PG-13, none of the film's prolific violence is overly gory, but parents may still want to shield their children — who are most likely to enjoy this fine piece of juvenilia — from Hu's nearly naked body and one discreet-but-pivotal plot point centering on a significant deflowering. Also with Michael Clarke Duncan. Universal's DVD release presents a crisp anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras include an uneventful commentary by The Rock (with optional bits of "live commentary" accessible via "on-the-fly" icons throughout the film), another commentary with director Russell, an outtakes reel, alternate scenes, six featurettes (including one devoted to conflicting stories revolving around a fight scene wherein The Rock's thick elbow made solid contact with big Duncan's chin), the Godsmack video "I Stand Alone," and a textual supplement offering some historical perspective on the "real" Scorpion King, which will no doubt provide fodder for countless sequels. Trailer, keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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