Join an exciting new chapter in the action-packed adventures of the legendary warrior, The Scorpion King! When the king of Norvania is assassinated, the evil heir to the throne frames Mathayus and sends an entire kingdom of soldiers after him. Mathayus’ (Victor Webster) only allies are a mysterious woman and her unconventional father, whose primitive science may hold the key to disrupting the evil ruler’s quest for an ancient and unstoppable mystical power. Featuring Lou Ferrigno (“The Hulk”) and an all-star cast of fighters, including Roy “Big Country” Nelson (Winner of “The Ultimate Fighter”), Royce Gracie (UFC Hall of Fame) and Don Wilson (11-time World Kickboxing Champion). Also starring Ellen Holman (“Spartacus” TV series), Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins), Barry Bostwick (“Cougar Town” TV series), and Michael Biehn (The Terminator).
So, within the first 15 minutes of 'Scorpion King 4' two people are stabbed in the butt for comedic effect (two of the screenshots included with this review show the disturbing results). I wish I could end the review there, because that sentence is all you need to know about this movie. Why Universal keeps cranking these low-budget sequels out is a mystery. Is there that much of a market for these movies? Movies that look like they were made with cast off props and sets from 'The Mummy'. It doesn't make any sense.
This movie is so devoid of original ideas, so allergic to creating an original story, that it blatantly grabs… no steals, from far superior movies, notably 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' and 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'. These instances are homages as much as they are barefaced robberies. The sheer audacity of its plagiarism is almost admirable. Perhaps they think that not enough people will see their movie, so they won't have to answer to these facts. I'm sure they're probably right. I mean, who is willingly picking up 'Scorpion King 4' at the store and saying, "Yes! It's finally out! I can't wait to get home and watch it."?
I watched the entire movie, and honestly, thinking back on it, I couldn't tell you exactly what they were doing, and why. There was something about a gold key, magnetism, and an evil turncoat prince who murders his father with bad CGI scorpions to become king. Using the scorpions apparently switches focus from him to the Scorpion King, because of course the Scorpion King would kill people with scorpions. It only makes sense.
After being framed for murder Mathayus (Victor Webster), otherwise known as the Scorpion King, meets up with a Valina (Ellen Hollman), so he can have some female companionship as he searches for whatever he's searching for. As they quest for power – the movie's tagline is "The Quest for Power" – Mathayus, Valina, and Valina's dad Sorrell (Barry Bostwick) run into all sorts of wacky inventions that appear to be magic. Sorrell, who is a complete rip-off of Crazy Old Maurice from 'Beauty and the Beast' informs us that it isn't magic, that instead it can all be explained by science. Which is a hilarious assumption, and basis for a movie that disregards science and physics at every turn.
At one point our trio of do-gooders is apprehended by a tribe of little people living in the forest. They tie our heroes to stakes, and let loose horrible greenish yellow CGI spiders, which surely can't be explained by science. As they're crawling over Mathayus, he yells. Apparently, Mathayus can communicate with arachnids, because the spiders reverse course and leave him and his friends alone. Because, you know, science!
The center piece of the movie's cover art is Lou Ferrigno who shows up for about two minutes, looking like someone dropped him on the set without his knowledge of where he was going. He shows up, leaves, and since this movie is 'Scorpioin King 4' commands the biggest presence on the front of the cover because nothing sells direct-to-video movies like Lou Ferrigno's slightly annoyed face.
Most of you probably didn't even know 'Scorpion King 4' was something that actually exists. Sorry for bringing it to your attention. Now with your newfound knowledge you can go on not ever seeing it, because that's exactly what you should do.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is a two-disc set, which comes with the DVD and 50GB Blu-ray. It also comes with a code for an UltraViolet Digital Copy. Standard keepcase encased by a standard slipcover.
I mean, you can tell that it's a terribly low-budget affair. The presentation is lacking largely due to its humble beginnings. However, it just doesn't look great on Blu-ray any way you slice it. Colors are slightly washed out. Black areas are stifling whenever the night comes. Shadows bleed into one another, disabling detail, and causing significant amounts of crushing. There's never a point in the movie where you sit back and say, "Now that looks good."
Daylight scenes are fine, if a tad phony looking. Nothing about this movie looks cinematic in the first place. At least with the lights on the detail is pretty decent, even if it does look like a step down in visual quality than an episode of 'Xena'.
The biggest loser here is the movie's shoddy CGI work. Under the microscope of high definition it just doesn't hold up at all. The CGI spiders look as bad, or worse, than 'Camel Spiders'. The fire-breathing dragon they encounter is hilarious. Whenever CGI is used it's terribly washed out, doesn't match the colors of its surroundings and its faults are only exacerbated by viewing it on Blu-ray.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is fine, I guess. There's nothing overtly special about it. Nothing that really stands out. Since it's an "action movie" (I use that term loosely), you'd expect a little more in the way of engaging sound.
Fights are your standard fare. Speaking of old episodes of 'Xena' that's what this sound presentation reminded me of. Hollow sound effects, but clear dialogue. Little to no effort in the surround channels. The sub-woofer gets a little workout here and there. It's all very generic though. Nothing that will give you goosebumps, or even cause your ears to perk up. Like the movie, the best thing you can say about it is that it's forgettable.
To be fair, if you take 'Scorpion King 4' for what it is… it's still really bad. There's no redeeming value here. It's stupid, childish, and ultimately serves no discernible purpose. Even Lou Ferrigno got out of there as fast as he could, and he's the cover's face-sake. With middling video and unimpressive audio 'Scorpion King 4' is predictably something you should skip so you can spend time doing something else. Anything else.