Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

If nothing else ‘The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption’ was a far better movie than ‘The Scorpion King 2: Rise of the Warrior’. If nothing else. At least in my opinion, just in case you swear by the ‘Scorpion King 2’, which I can’t imagine you would. Plus the movie had Billy Zane in it, and Billy Zane be straight trippin’ in this movie yo.

Where ‘Scorpion King 2’ checked in on King Malthayus before he rose to power in the original movie, this one picks up after the glory has all gone away. Now Malthayus, looking less like Dwayne Johnson and more like actor Victor Webster, is all miserable and stuff because apparently he’s the worst king ever. His land has fallen into ruin, his people have died en masse, and worst… by far… I mean being a lousy ruler and allowing your people to die of hunger and disease is one thing, but watching your wife The Sorceress die, as played by Kelly Hu via old ‘Scorpion King’ footage, leaves one with a life that’s just not worth living anymore. Now Malthayus spends his days as a soldier of fortune, kicking ass for the highest bidder.

Today’s highest bidder is King Horus (Ron Perlman), who is mighty concerned about his brother Talus (Zane) who is encroaching on his territory. Thus Horus has hired Malthayus to go to some castle and assist some king so his brother won’t get some book. In the grand scheme of things, the way this movie plays out, the whole Book of the Dead thing is neither here nor there, but just know that Talus really wants this damn book.

So Malthayus, along with his forced upon boorish burping sidekick Olaf (Bostin Christopher), proceed on the journey to mad adventure. First they make it to the castle to help this king (Temuera Morrison), that is after they allow the marauding forces to slaughter almost everybody. I mean they were sitting in the woods literally watching this, then expected money after they finally decided to get into the fight. But this king claims he has no money, which is some bull if you ask me, so he says Malthayus can have his ugly daughter in marriage once he rescues her from the clutches of Talus. We know she’s not really ugly, but they showed us a portrait of some ugly chick for some reason. I was thinking it was for comic relief, but then I was also thinking that the production simply couldn’t afford a decent painter.

More adventure ensues as Malthayus and Olaf find the princess (Krystal Vee), engage in more glorious battles, scrap with a bunch of ninja… yes, ninja… but fail to rescue the princess because she’s a Cobra Ninja! It’s complicated. Eventually Talus gets this book he wants so bad and frees the Warriors of the Underground which consists of Kimbo Slice, Bautista and some acrobatic Asian chick (Selina Lo) which should turn the tide of the war in Talus favor. I guess. Actually these warriors, as far as badass walking dead invincible warriors go, are kinda lame. Regardless, we just want to know will Malthayus find the nobility that used to course through his veins so regally? It’s all up to the Princess. I mean the Princess ain’t the Sorceress, but she will do.

Directed by my man Roel Reine who struck tarnished silver with the ‘Death Race’ sequel he helmed, unfortunately didn’t fare quite as well with ‘The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption’. The story that we are being told is scattershot, inconsistent and borderline incoherent in some places and despite the plethora of action… and this is in action film like few others… it seemed to take a while for this one to get going. It was almost tedious. A lot of this early tedium we can lay on the sturdy shoulders of Victor Webster and Bostin Christopher as the first third of the movie was spent watching their characters ‘bond’ and that was probably some bromancing we could’ve skipped right past in this one. How many times can a guy burp before it stops being funny? We are thankful, however, that we were not subjected to any fart jokes in this one. For this we are thankful. Regardless, Mr. Webster was serviceable in the role of Malthayus, a big dude who has mastered the art of the roughish grin, though his movie swashbuckling skills might need to be polished up a bit, and Krystal Vee is plenty cute, though like Mr. Webster her Movie Ninja skills could stand to use some refining.

The movie kind of plods along from one action set piece to the next, and it is a little on the repetitive side, but then the filmmakers unleashed Billy Zane. I’m not totally sure what Billy was going for as far as his interpretation of the evil Talus, maybe something along the lines of Mel Brooks merged with Larry the Cable Guy glossed over with a Jesus complex, but this clearly wasn’t a role he was taking all that serious, and the movie was better for it. Now the humorous performance put on by Billy Zane did kind of take the evil edge away from Talus, to the point where he didn’t seem all that evil at all and as such he made for kind of a lousy bad guy, but he did kind of turn this movie around.

Now the viewer is into this movie a little more, the action scenes aren’t so plodding, the movie isn’t any more coherent or anything but at least we are at a point where the basics… hero, hot chick, bad dude… are being executed clearly.

‘The Scorpion King 3’ isn’t the best movie around, this much is true, and it is a struggle to get through at times, but it is better than the one that came before it, whatever that’s worth, and the Billy Zane Factor was in full effect. Is it worth watching? Probably only for the Scorpion King completist out there, which is list longer than you can imagine.

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