Sometimes, I surprise myself as to what movies I choose to rent or stream, but honestly, oftentimes especially after a lazy Holiday weekend, I just want to relax and be provided a diversion with very minimal use of my brain. I guess this was why my friends and I decided to see “Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption”. We knew that going into it that the film may be silly, since the movie (The Mummy 2) and the first movie with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that birthed the character had that popcorn junk kind of B-movie feel going for it (if at all intentional). The difference between a bad movie and garbage is that a bad movie embraces what it is. We expected more of the same outright silliness and even more over-the-top moments with this direct sequel to the original “The Scorpion King” flick.
The film begins with Mathayus (Victor Webster, Surrogates) hanging and being pummeled by his would-be executors. Of course, he breaks free and we find that he had been enlisted by King Horus (Ron Perlman, Hellboy) to prevent an invasion by Talus (Billy Zane, Sniper) and to assist in the rescue of Princess Silda (sexy Thai model-actress Krystal Vee). Mathayus still reeling from the loss of his wife (enter the flashbacks with Kelly Hu) joins with battle-hungry, burping brute called Olaf (Bostin Christopher) to face the armies of Talus and his ghost warriors (former WWE star Dave Bautista, Selina Lo and MMA star Kimbo Slice) to restore freedom in Silda’s kingdom.
“Battle for Redemption” is a fantasy--it captures elements of magic (the only thing linking this to the Mummy films is the Book of the Dead), swordplay with two power-hungry kings that seek control of the territory. Mathayus and Olaf dispatches soldiers, ninjas and even magical warriors in this third installment in the series. The film can be fun to see as the pacing and the story is driven by the action. However, you can only cover up so much with the action as somewhere along the way, the direction by Roel Reine still needed to insert something that resembles a plot in between the action.
This is where the film begins to falter. Victor Webster has a the right presence, but he cannot carry the film’s burden as “The Rock” had in the first movie. Despite all attempts to capture the viewer, Webster fumbles and it became obvious that his partnership with the burping Olaf was meant to be a crutch in the script. Olaf was able to make me smile at times, but the two struggled to connect. What really grabbed my attention was Krystal Vee, as she had the kind of presence that easily captured my eye. She was your strong-willed female type who hides the fact that she is a warrior and Vee has the skills to pull off the fight scenes with credibility. Her duel with Selina Lo may have saved this film from the garbage bin, as she was so alluring whenever she was on camera. But then there is the over-the-top performance by Billy Zane which up to now, I am unsure if he wanted to make fun of his own dialogue. His character is manic, zany and feels like a mash-up of a Christopher Walken and Will Farrell kind of deal. But Zane feels like he was having fun even when the other actors weren’t.
The action scenes were more or less a mixed bag. The Thai stuntmen (some of them were from BKO: Bangkok Knockout) gave some fun ninja vs. Mathayus moments and decent action. But the script was just a little too lazy in its development that things felt that details were coming from left field that it was hard to get into the fights with so underdeveloped stakes. I guess the movie had a little too much going on with a less than capable lead to carry it through. But if you are looking for a brainless diversion, then this movie may fit the bill; it has some decent action, cheesy special effects and eye candy. Krystal Vee is very nice to look at, even without any form of intoxication. However, pizza and beer is advisable to have fun with the movie.
RENTAL [2 Out of 5 Stars]
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