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HTF REVIEW: SCORPION KING 2: RISE OF A WARRIOR (1 Viewer)

Timothy E

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Timothy Ewanyshyn
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THE SCORPION KING 2: RISE OF A WARRIOR




Studio: Universal
Year: 2008
Rated: PG-13
Film Length: 1 hour, 49 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish



Release Date: August 19, 2008

The Movie
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“The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior” is a direct-to-DVD prequel to the first “Scorpion King” and the “Mummy” movie series. Following the murder of his father, Mathayus (Michael Copon) trains as a warrior of the Order of the Black Scorpions. Mathayus rises to the top of his profession as a warrior and encounters the man who murdered his father, Sargon (Randy Couture), who is now the king. Mathayus’ loyalty is tested by Sargon, as he is forced to choose between his obligations to his king and saving the life of his brother, Jesup (Shane Manie).
After fleeing the king’s palace, Mathayus meets up with his childhood friend Layla (Karen David). Since Sargon is virtually invincible due to his dark magic powers, Mathayus must travel on a quest, first to Egypt and Greece, and then to the Underworld, to obtain the only talisman that can slay Sargon, the Sword of Damocles.
Mathayus and Layla are joined in their quest by various acquaintances met along the way, including Aristophanes, a roguish poet, and Fong (Tom Wu), a Chinese acrobat whom they rescue from the maze of the legendary Minotaur.
The film is directed by Russell Mulcahy, who is better known for directing “Resident Evil: Extinction” and “Highlander”. The direction and cinematography are first rate, particularly for a movie made directly for the home video market.
The special effects also are much better than expected for a non-theatrical movie. Since this movie had a much smaller budget than the “Mummy” movies, it would not be fair to compare the special effects here with the other movies in the series. The “Mummy” series is a set of “B” movies produced with “A” movie effects. The special effects here are excellent for what this is, which is a “B” movie produced on a “B” movie budget.
Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) is sorely missed here, although the actor playing Mathayus (Michael Copon) does a fine job delivering some of his dialogue with the same cadence as Dwayne Johnson in the first “Scorpion King” even if he is not as charismatic as his predecessor in the same role.

Video
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The video is anamorphic wide-screen 1:78:1. The video quality is terrific on this DVD. As mentioned earlier, the direction, cinematography, and special effects provide for bountiful “eye candy”. The opening credits show the influence of Zack Snyder’s “300” as warriors wage battle in black silhouette as a lightning storm rages in the background. The remainder of the movie is not as stylized, however, the video quality is excellent with no flaws that come to mind.

Audio
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The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is perfect for this kind of movie. No matter what environment the adventurers are in, whether it be pitched battle, a crowded city, or a sailing ship at sea, the sound completes the illusion that this is a living, breathing world. Although the special effects do not compare favorably to its big-screen cousins, the audio on this movie is “A” movie quality. This DVD also features French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Special Features
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The special features include all of the following:

Deleted Scenes(4:41): There are a number of short scenes that were cut to quicken the pace of the movie.

Gag Reel(2:13): A montage of flubs and stumbles by the actors.

Making Of The Scorpion King 2 (14:13): Interviews with the cast and crew talking about filming in Cape Town, South Africa.

Fight Like An Akkadian: Black Scorpion Training Camp (6:08): Cast and crew discuss the fight choreography of the film.

Becoming Sargon: One On One With Randy Couture(4:28): UFC heavyweight champion talks about being cast as Sargon after auditioning for a smaller role.

On The Set With The Beautiful Leading Ladies (3:50): Karen David (Layla) and Natalie Becker (Astarte) talk about training for their fight scenes.

Creating A Whole New World (8:33): Production designers talk about the challenge of creating the multitude of sets.

The Visual Effects of the Scorpion King 2 (6:54): Behind the scenes look at mattes and CGI used in the film.

Conclusion
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“The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior” is a better than average direct-to-DVD release. It moves at a slower pace than “The Scorpion King” and it is slightly longer than that movie. If you are a fan of the first “Scorpion King” movie or the “Mummy” series, then this is a good popcorn movie and a true successor of the “B” movie serials of the 1930s and 1940s. This movie does not require any knowledge of the other movies in the series, but you will certainly get more out of it if you have seen the others. If you are expecting a movie as action-packed and fast-paced as “The Mummy”, you will probably be disappointed. If you like true “B” movies, however, even when they have “B” movie budgets, then you might be pleasantly surprised with this film.
 

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