The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a warrior Blu Ray Title: The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior Disk Release Date: August 19, 2008 Rated: PG-13 Screen format: 1080P High Definition Widescreen 1.78:1 Studio: Universal First theatrical release: NA, released “Direct to disk” Previous releases on disk: Day and date with Anamorphic DVD Director: Russell Mulcahey Starring: Michael Copon, Karen David, Simon Quarterman, Andreas Wisniewski, Randy Couture, Tom Wu, Nathalie Becker Sound Formats: English DTS-HS MA 5.1 Length: 1 hour, 49 minutes, BD-25 Subtitles: English, Spanish and French Plot: 1.5/5 “Ain’t this a mess, Sherriff? If it ain’t it’ll do till the mess gets here” If the plot of The Mummy 2 and The Scorpion Kings were accurately described as real messes, what would that make “Rise of a warrior?” It’s tough to put too fine a line of hyperbole in describing just what a stinker this film is but I will try: Alternatively stealing the worst parts of Mulan, A Knight’s Tale, Scorpion King and other films is just the most obvious of The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a warrior’s sins. That it tries to make up for its lack of creativity with action sequences that are more WWE than Hollywood would also be big on the list as would the wooden acting, the linear plot, the legion of plot holes and the boatload of anachronisms that litter the screen. Even special guest villain Randy Couture can’t do much more than mug for the camera and put up two half hearted fighting scenes that make him look more like a bully picking on ill prepared opponents. The real big problem though is that it’s about as much fun as a “Hallmark presents” afternoon special, and while this shouldn’t be too shocking for a direct to disk sequel, the pedigree would indicate that it deserves better and absolutely nobody is surprised that Duane “The Rock” Johnson would have nothing to do with this film, not even putting in a cameo for the role he created. In this ‘prequel’ to The Scorpion King, we are witness to the childhood to man transformation of titular character Mathayus, this time portrayed by ‘Blue Power Ranger’ Michael Copon. Matty wants to get revenge for the untimely death of his dad, a legendary Black Scorpion Warrior himself who was killed by the scheming warrior trainer (and soon to be new king) Sargon, who is played with grace and subtlety by acclaimed children’s actor, Randy Couture. Mathayus rises through the ranks of Black Scorpions and is given the chance to be Sargon’s bodyguard, but blows that immediately in a failed revenge attempt that gets his kid brother killed. To enact his real revenge Mathayus will have to travel to the underworld and retrieve the Sword of Damocles in order to have any chance of taking on Sargon. If, that is, he can get past the goddess who guards the sword by outwitting her and solving a series of spine-tingling (or not) puzzles along the way. I’d say it’s a real mess but that would just be repeating myself. If nothing else this will make a truly excellent episode of Mystery Science Theater some day. Sound Quality: 4/5 At least someone was doing their best on this film, as sonically it is better than it has any right to be. Bass is well presented with good weapon effects and atmospherics that use considerable low end punch. The sound stage is fully enveloping and makes good use of the DTS-HD MA bandwidth, giving solid presence to the otherwise un-remarkable situations Mathayus and his band find themselves in. Even the soundtrack by Klaus Badelt is at least half decent and lifts the action to a mild notch higher than otherwise would warrant. It’s not a reference level track by any means but it gets the job done and is more than up to the low standards set by the rest of the disk’s quality. Visual Quality: 3.5/5 Visually I’d compare the film to a high quality HD television episode, tho there are flashes of brilliance. The background mattes and visual effects are ok but not up to the level of a triple-A feature film release and the high definition details highlight where a lot of production corners were cut. The sharpness and color quality levels are adequate but not amazing, and I have to say the transfer was plenty clean without any dirt or smudges. If you are up for analyzing the level of grain the transfer shows (which was fine by the way) you are over-thinking this one by a huge margin. I was never distracted by any edge enhancement which is good news, but keep in mind that my setup is relatively good at masking that problem. Extra Features: 0/5 “Zero POINT Zero. Mis… Mr. Blutarski HAS no grade point average, all classes withdrawn” Not even a trailer. Lets us know just how much Uni cares about this one, doesn’t it? Overall: 2/5 (not an average) Even if you are a huge Randy Couture / Mixed Martial Arts fan, even if you simply have to see all there is to see in the “Mummy” and “Scorpion King” franchises you would do well to get no closer to this one than a rental. I could have almost made a case for it based on the decent sound track, but even that doesn’t make up for the pain of sitting through nearly two hours of the worst writing I’ve been subjected to in a while. Avoid!