When he is betrayed by a trusted friend, Mathayus (Victor Webster) must marshal all his strength and cunning to outwit a formidable opponent who will stop at nothing to unlock a supreme ancient power.
My only previous experience with the Scorpion King was in The Mummy Returns. I’ve been absent from the franchise, until now. The movie opens with some guards, guarding something, and then Drazen (Will Kemp) shows up in a panic and says he is being pursued by the Scorpion King, who ends up being Mathayus (Victor Webster). Although they occasionally call him by this title, it isn’t clear to me why he is known as the Scorpion King. They defeat four guards and then enter the temple? and Indiana Jones style try to steal some object. They get trapped by a cage, and then the same four guards come into the place and they fight them again. I was under the impression they had killed those guys outside, but I guess not. In fact, this movie goes out of its way to make sure that very few people actually get killed in these battles. This movie is nothing if not extremely predictable. For most of the movie I would casually remark ‘I’ll bet this happens next’ and it did.
‘I’ll bet Drazen betrays him.’ Drazen betrays Mathayus and steals off with the item (some kind of key). Mathayus returns to his king, who then sends him on a mission to make peace with a neighboring kingdom. This just happens to be the home of Drazen, who is the prince. Mathayus has a ridiculous fight with some town guards in a tavern. Most of the fights in this movie are really WWE style arena brawls. A lot of slap stick kind of hits and people jumping on each other from high places. Despite the gross incompetence of everyone involved our hero eventually surrenders and gets taken to jail in the hopes of getting an audience with the king.
In the jail, we meet Valina (Ellen Hollman) who is being forced to marry Drazen the prince because it will legitimize their rule over this land, which I guess actually belongs to her. Long story short (but not short enough at 105 minutes) she is the Red Sonya to our Kalidor (Mathayus). Drazen says he doesn’t trust Mathayus and puts him in a torture device, but the king intervenes and takes him to dinner.
‘I’ll bet Drazen frames him’ Drazen frames Mathayus for killing his father by somehow sneaking a dozen scorpions onto his person. After all, Mathayus is known as the Scorpion King, allegedly. Drazen must have had these with him, otherwise how he procure them in the last few hours? We may never know the truth. The king gives the key from the temple to Mathayus, and it’s off to the races. Drazen cries out for the guards to seize Mathayus, and there is a lengthy escape scene. Half way through this sequence Valina also is making her escape, and they join up. They eventually get up on the castle wall (certainly not the one pictured in the long shots) and jump to freedom. Mathayus gets hit by an arrow, but walks it off, as they walk to Valina’s home and meet up with a crazy old man. That crazy old man is Valina’s father, and his sanity is only so-so. He is an inventor, of a sorts. He built a mechanical wood chopping machine, and a catapult. He can also translate the language on the key. Drazen quickly catches up with them, takes the key, and ties them all up in the house and sets it on fire.
‘I’ll bet they will use that stupid woodchopping machine to get free’ They use the stupid woodchopping machine to get free and escape before the whole building collapses on them. They follow Drazen to a village that the key inferred them to go to, and use a young boy to pickpocket the key from a guard. They then go to a weird female-only underground temple, where they need to use the special key. Men aren’t allowed, so Mathayus and Valina’s father both dress in the least believable costumes we’ve ever seen. This underground temple seems really weird, there are a lot of women down there, all dancing seductively for no reason. It almost seems like over half of the population of this village must be in this temple, and yet there are still women above while Drazen is torturing people for information. Anyways, their ruse quickly fails, but they discover like a carriage or something and put the key into it and it slowly raises them to ground level and directs them towards a mountain range. They pick up some random guy who joins their quest. They enter into a supposedly haunted forest.
‘I’ll bet that forest is about as haunted as Sherwood Forest in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.’ The forest isn’t really haunted, but has a pygmy tribe that makes it seem haunted to prevent outsiders from coming in. They get captured, and the pygmies release a chest full of giant spiders. then Mathayus yells at the spiders, and they retreat and go back into their chest. This tells the pygmies to release them. Meanwhile Valina’s father is still wearing the dress he used to sneak into the girly temple, he wears it for quite of bit of the movie.
‘I’ll bet they end up using that catapult.’ Earlier in the movie I said that, when it showed Valina’s crazy old man father wearing a bird suit, launching himself from a catapult, trying to fly. Well now is the part of the movie where they build another catapult, and use it to lob Mathayus at a giant terrible looking dragon that is blocking their way to the mountain. At first I thought ‘how is it possible this dragon looks so bad?’ But it is actually revealed to be a mechanical dragon, so that is okay. The more we learn about this mysterious sorcerer who had all these cosmic powers, the more we think he was just a genius tinkerer.
‘I’ll bet that random guy turns out to be a spy’ Just as they arrive at the mountain and open the secret lair, the random guy who joined them turns out to be a spy for Drazen. Drazen puts on a metal suit, and then flys around the room, I assume the great sorcerer that they have been searching for this whole time really just was a genius inventor. After a short scuffle Valina’s father gets mortally wounded.
‘I’ll bet this will be exactly like the Last Crusade.’ The movie then proceeds exactly like the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Mathayus uses a list of clues to negotiate several danger boobytraps, Drazen and his henchmen follow. This is actually one of the rare times people actually die. Eventually Mathayus reaches the Holy Grail, I mean, the crown of this ancient wizard. Drazen comes in and puts it on. There was some legend or something that said only someone worthy could wear the crown. Drazen chose poorly, and gets frozen and explodes or something. Mathayus puts on the crown and goes back and heals Valina’s father. What do you know, the sorcerer really did have magic. Mathayus leaves the crown and the key in the tomb, and lets it close, and tells everyone outside it was a myth. Roll credits.