Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Don’t get stung by The Scorpion King 3…it’s a poor piece of cinema that’s hard for even diehard fans to enjoy! Available on DVD and Blu-ray from today, check out our review below…

Warrior Mathayus is now a deadly assassin who is dispatched by the King of Egypt, Horus, to protect his ally King Ramusan. In return for his services, Mathayus is offered Ramusan’s daughter Silda’s hand in marriage, as well as the legendary Eye of the Gods medallion that imparts extraordinary supernatural powers to its wearer. However, all is not so simple. In order to redeem his reward, Mathayus must show his strength and courage by rescuing Princess Silda who is being held captive but Horus’ scheming brother Talus. Mathayus agrees to the dangerous mission but the evil that lies in wait for him will challenge his cunning and strength in a staggering test of courage unlike any he has faced before…

Let’s not beat around the bush; quite simply, this is a truly awful film! By the time third sequels come to fruition a character or series has often lost it’s way or become less appealing, but this doesn’t even begin to chronicle the problems with this film. Whilst viewing the film, most audiences will undoubtedly find it hard not to imagine that The Scorpion King 3 was written by a 7 year old and made by his 9 year old brother. The complete lack of cohesion behind the plot is the films first unforgivable fault. If memory serves me correctly, the Scorpion King was originally around in Ancient Egyptian times, which makes the setting of this film incredibly confusing. Although references are made to this period of time – hieroglyphics and Egyptian style wall carving artwork are used to illustrate the back-story narrated at the beginning of the film for example – what is on screen begs to differ dramatically. From minor things such as an extremely modern looking wooden floor in King Horus’s castle and inauthentic period costumes, to the more obvious flaws such as lush greenery in the heart of the desert and red brick buildings in an ancient city, it’s virtually impossible to distinguish the period in which the film is set.

Similarly, the geography of the locations is completely illogical too. If the back-story is to be believed, the story begins in Egypt and finds the Scorpion King and comrade Olaf travel across the desert for a day and through a lush forest the next, to reach what appears to be Asia!? This complete lack of logic makes the film virtually impossible to take even the remotest bit seriously. From the obvious total lack of viable locations to fill in for the scripts settings it’s easy to assume that the film was shot in someone’s large back garden! The script fails to add any further sense to the proceedings, with lines that range from the ridiculous (Billy Zane’s declaration that he’ll “…rise again like a bad idea” being a suitable example) to the downright absurd (with this little gem coming during a fight around a campfire: “Make mine a medium rare” – even if steak had been eaten during this period, it seems unlikely that the phraseology of how it’s cooked would have been common knowledge!). Put simply, nothing seems to fit within the film: from the ridiculous settings to the period costumes that have obviously been raided from the very back of the costumer’s wardrobe, via the off the mark dialogue and low budget appearance, The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption has practically no redeeming features…

To add insult to injury, the performances from the key cast are suitably terrible too. Victor Webster ‘stars’ as Mathayus, the former Scorpion King. Webster is all brawn and limited talent. He’s effective in the action sequences (he looks awesome in the opening sequence that sees him sword fight a villain whilst dangling from the ceiling, one arm tied to a rope). However, when it comes to actually acting and delivering dialogue he’s rather wooden, which doesn’t really fill audiences with the sense that he was once a powerful ruler. For most audiences, the only two instantly recognisable faces are likely to be Ron Perlman and Billy Zane. However, despite solid performances in other films, neither really adds anything to the proceedings here.

Zane camps it up as villain Talus, giving a performance that borders on the absurd. The actor tries to make Talus a maniacal supervillain, but instead comes off more as a bit of a loser psychopath who is more interested in getting his leg over than actually fighting battles. Perlman is only featured lightly as King Horus, the ruler of “the largest empire in history” (if the voice over narration is to be believed…). He gives an average performance but seems rather stilted, lacking the presence he has in other rolls. Perhaps it’s the low quality of the script, but Perlman – like Webster – doesn’t convincingly convey an aura of authority that suggests leadership. Temeura Morrison is slightly more convincing as Ramusan, Horus’s ally king in the east. Morrison exudes a certain sense of authority, but is unfortunately underused.

The worst performance in the film is undoubtedly Bostin Christopher though. As the vulgar and grotesque Olaf, Christopher is irritating to say the least. Responsible for the majority of the atrocious one-liners, Christopher is intended to provide comic relief but instead becomes annoying and almost unwatchable at times. The actor provides enough muscle and power in the fight sequences, but like co-star Webster he fails to impress in the acting department. Attractive, but limited support comes from Krystal Vee as Mathayus’s love interest Silda. Like the rest of the cast Vee impresses in the physical action sequences, proving a stellar martial artist, but she also manages to deliver a relatively good performance in the dramatic moments too. The fact that The Scorpion King 3 is a direct to video title would automatically suggest that performances were never going to be Academy Award worthy, but viewers shouldn’t even expect Razzie-worthy acting here!

QUALITY

It’s painfully obvious from the outset that The Scorpion King 3 had a stupidly low budget. Therefore, it’s a complete mystery why Universal bothered to release it in HD? Virtually all scenes have been shot on location, so the light levels are all over the place, plunging some scenes into an irritating dimness and others into a horrible, bleaching brightness. Probably due to this, there’s also a persistent grain that afflicts many of the scenes. Colours are generally overly saturated and the whole film has a rather muted tone to it. However, despite these rather large flaws, there aren’t any moments of major distortion or blemishing and some of the battle images (in particular) are actually quite beautiful. The audio fares better than the image quality, with a clean and clear dialogue track running throughout the narrative (whether this is actually a good thing depends on viewers’ opinions of the screenplay!). Ambient and background sounds are solid, with the battle sequences filling television speakers with an exciting multilayered experience.

EXTRAS

Surprisingly, Universal have had enough faith in the film to include a far more decent collection of bonus features than most viewers will likely expect. With a range of informative featurettes and a comprehensive commentary, viewers can choose to delve into the behind the scenes action of the production…if they can bear any more after the end credits roll! The following supplementary material can be found on the Blu-Ray release:

• Feature Commentary with Director Roel Reine

• Deleted/Extended Scenes

• Deleted Shots Montage

• Gag Reel

• Swords and Scorpions: A Making Of

• Preparing for Battle

Film: 0.5 out of 5

Whoever put the go ahead in motion for this piece of drivel needs their head examined! Atrocious dialogue, illogical locations, complete historical inaccuracy, a less than groundbreaking narrative and poor performances make this one film worth avoiding…

Visuals: 2 out of 5

With a reliance upon location shooting, light levels are often shaky, colours are saturated and an unpleasant and distracting grain persists throughout the film.

Audio: 3.5 out of 5

Dialogue is clean and clear throughout the film, which is actually rather painful when considering the poor quality of the screenplay. Ambient and special effects sounds meander through the back channels to add a small amount of atmosphere to the proceedings.

Extras: 3.5 out of 5

More special features are housed on the release than a film of such poor merit deserves! If viewers can stand any more after watching the film, a collection of featurettes and deleted scenes await them…

Presentation: 2 out of 5

The front cover follows in the tradition of it’s predecessors, meaning that it’s extremely misleading. The menu set up follows Universal’s standard Blu-Ray format, which makes them easy to follow but far more sophisticated than the film deserves.

Overall: 1 out of 5

Be warned – this is TERRIBLE!! If you have any fondness for the Scorpion King character or the other films he features in, then this will undoubtedly tarnish your impression. With a complete lack of cohesion and a poorly performed, virtually unwatchable screenplay, The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption has a battle on it’s hands if it’s going to find any fans…

The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.

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This article was first posted on February 27, 2012