Well, you can add 'The Scorpion King' to the "Holy Hell I Can't Believe That This is Now a Trilogy" list, along with other non-award winning franchises like 'The Santa Clause,' 'The Grudge,' and 'Starship Troopers.' Only 'The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption' is even more confusing. It's a sequel of a spin-off ('The Scorpion King') of a sequel ('The Mummy Returns') of a remake ('The Mummy'), which at one point had a prequel ('The Scorpion King 2'). In other words, its existence is as pointless as it sounds.
I'm on the record as saying I enjoy 'The Scorpion King.' Dwayne Johnson makes even the crappiest of movies semi-watchable (excluding 'The Tooth Fairy'). He's got this intoxicating charisma that you can't help but love. Like the anti-Vin Diesel. When they started making cheap sequels to 'The Scorpion King' that's when things got ugly. Michael Copon took on the role of Mathayus in the second 'Scorpion King' movie and turned the wise-cracking, skull-crushing warrior with a soft spot into a bumbling dolt without an ounce of likability. For this film Victor Webster takes on the role and somehow makes Mathayus even more of an idiot than he was in the second movie.
The writing doesn't help much either. The screenplay is written by two guys (Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn) who, and I'm not making this up, wrote a movie called 'Drive Thru' which starred a killer called Horny the Clown. Needless to say, there's no future Aaron Sorkin in this bunch of misfits. The characters talk mainly in catch phrases and plot-forwarding paragraphs. It's almost like watching a live-action anime. Their mouths are moving, but all that's coming out is expository nonsense.
The plot, as far as I could tell, had something to do with two warring king brothers. Horus (Ron Perlman) and Talus (Billy Zane) hate each other. Actually, I don't really know if they do or not. It's not ever made clear who is fighting whom. All we need to know, I guess, is that Talus wants the Book of the Dead so he can raise MMA fighters from the dead to do his bidding. No seriously, with the book he raises Kimbo Slice and Dave Bautista from the dead to be his useless undead minions who growl a lot.
Zane acts like he's more than slightly intoxicated for the entire shoot. He's been a busy man of late acting in absolutely anything that comes his way. As of right now he has no less than 12 movies in post-production. None of them sounding better than B-movie status. That's the way he acts here. Like his career is in the toilet and there's nothing left but hamming it up for a terrible 'Scorpion King' movie. And ham it up he does.
Perlman looks more or less disinterested in the whole affair. Every time he's on screen he's got this kind of look like he's wondering how in the world he ended up here.
'Scorpion King 3' is horrendous on all fronts. Why Universal continues to spend money on this franchise is completely beyond my comprehension. Are there really that many people out there willing to buy this direct-to-video trash? Does this really have an audience of more than a few dozen? I can't understand the reasoning behind spending any sort of money on this. I'm glad I couldn't find information anywhere about what kind of budget this movie commanded. I know I would have been saddened and dismayed whatever the total was.
With what I imagine is an endless line of worthy low-budget indie movies out there waiting to be made we have to suffer through this dreck. Oh, and did I mention one of the executive producers is Stephen Sommers? I guess I could've put that right at the beginning and you could've realized faster that this movie is a steaming pile of crap.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This Universal release comes with all the frills including a 50GB Blu-ray Disc, a DVD copy of the film and a UltraViolet Digital Copy. It also comes with Blu-ray features like PocketBlu and BD-Live. The movie is packed in a standard keepcase with a matching slipcover.
If I had to guess, I'd venture that 'Scorpion King 3' was filmed digitally. It's got that un-cinematic sheen to it. It's produced in 1080p, but features some of the tell-tell signs of subpar digital photography.
Contrast is murky. Blacks are flat and uninviting. Detail is soft during mid- and long-range shots. Close ups do reveal some more miniscule detail. For instance towards the end you can see Ron Perlman sweating like crazy under the hot sun dressed in his ugly leather get up and sporting his even uglier mullet hair extensions.
The picture is clean, free from any artifacts. The special effects leave much to be desired. They're so gimmicky and so underdone that it's easy to see that this was produced on a minimal budget. They're even more silly presented in HD. Some stuff, like Kimbo's orange glowing eyes, look utterly ridiculous. Crushing is a persistent problem, especially in low-lit scenes. There's nothing special about the way this movie looks. It's glossy, but looks exactly how you'd expect a low-budget DTV movie to look. Un-filmic in every way.
The movie is sporting a troublesome DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. This is one of those unbalanced action movie tracks that doesn't pay much attention to the dialogue and pays way too much attention to the gaudy sound effects.
So, when people are talking (not like you'd want to hear their stupid lines of dialogue anyway) they're soft, and at times unintelligible. However, when they start fighting the volume gets cranked way up and punches become piercing THWAPS. Explosions are brash. Yelling is indistinct and grating. Sure the action scenes are loud, but that's all they are. There's no attention paid to anything resembling a well-rounded audio mix.
Rear channels are active, but again the action sounds seem oddly emphasized compared to everything else. This sound mix is more of a grating experience on the ears rather than an immersive experience for a movie.
Why would anyone even consider purchasing this movie? Why, why, why? There are bad movies, and then there is 'The Scorpion King 3.' Movies that have no business existing, or even calling themselves movies in the first place. What a disaster! Skip it all together.