The Scorpion King (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

With the overwhelming success of the first two “Mummy” movies, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood gave us more of what audiences clamored for. Yes, anything and more “Mummy”. Though it would be until 2008 that we’d see another installment in the series, we were graced with a spin-off of sorts in 2002 with a then fairly unknown Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson reprising his role from “The Mummy Returns”. Since this film Johnson has gone onto further stardom and perhaps it’s because this movie wasn’t as successful as the first two “Mummy” movies or that Johnson’s asking price was just too high but “The Scorpion King” is a spin-off that will likely just remain just that.

The Rock reprises his role as Mathayus from “The Mummy Returns” and as an assassin he and his brothers are the last two of their tribe. Mathayus is hired to take out The Sorceress (Kelly Hu) and is suspected of giving Memnon (Steven Brand) his power. Lest we forget that Memnon is the so-called “king” in the next village over. As Mathayus and company set out to do their job, they’re captured and instead take the Sorceress prisoner as opposed to killing her and somewhere along the way they (Mathayus and the Sorceress) develop some deep and meaningful feelings for one another.

Obviously there was a little something missing from “The Scorpion King” and at a scant 88 minutes, didn’t have the plot or character development to really hold its own like the previous “Mummy” movies. The Rock’s performance isn’t all that bad, however the paper thin characters and somewhat lackluster plot made it easy to assume why this wasn’t really a success at the box office six years ago. I’m quite sure that the only reason this is one of Universal’s inaugural releases on Blu-ray is merely marketing for the new “Mummy” movie. Fans will no doubt pick this up, though it is lacking several of the features from the special edition DVD.

Video: How does it look?

As with the two previous “Mummy” movies, “The Scorpion King” shares a lot in common with them in terms of how they look. Namely we get the same earthy tones that have a preponderance of browns and oranges, though this one is a bit darker in my opinion. The 2.35:1 VC-1 HD transfer is certainly on par with the other films and though not perfect, it does make for a quality presentation. I found little to comment about on the physical look of the film, the source seems clean and vibrant and only in a few pieces (namely towards the end) did I see any fault in the transfer. A few of the scenes seemed to be a bit grainy, but aside from that “The Scorpion King” looks pretty darn good.

Audio: How does it sound?

As we might expect the DTS Master Audio mix is down right amazing, packing depth and a very strong bass to some of the more adrenaline-fueled scenes. Dialogue is very clean as well and I was surprised at how often the surrounds kicked in. This one is all about the LFE though, it seemed to really resonate in the battle sequences and give the soundtrack a much needed “oomph” when needed. Like its predecessors, this mix is fully dynamic and has quite a range that fans of the film will no doubt enjoy.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Universal is all about their “U-Control” interactive feature which gives us the same supplements found on the standard DVD (and now discontinued HD DVD), though it’s a bit frustrating that we can’t access these all by themselves. Still, those familiar with the supplements will find them all here in one form or another. I have to say that the commentary by director Chuck Russell is a bit hit and miss. He lacks the enthusiasm of Steven Sommers (director of the “Mummy” movies), and he sort of gives us a play by play of what’s happening on screen as opposed to giving us information as to how the scene came to be. Still, it’s not a totally worthless track but one that we’ve all heard before.

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