The Scorpion King
***.7 BM
Starring: The Rock, Kelly Hu, Steven Brand, Grant Heslov, Michael Clarke Duncan


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I'll admit it up front - I like the pro wrasslin'. I know it's been considered 'intellectual slumming' for people who aren't beer-guzzling rednecks with mullets, but it's absurdist comedy and lots of obnoxious fun, not to mention some pretty cool stuntwork. So of course, when they whip up an action flick with it's most bankable star, there's pretty much no way I'm gonna miss it. Of course, I'm well aware that it's going to be ridiculous, but it's the good kind of ridiculous. The type of ridiculous where you know everything that's gonna happen, but you WANT it to happen, so you enjoy the hell out of it anyway.

The film seems to be quite aware of its own goofiness, so it has less of a sense of serious adventure than the two "Mummy" movies did and more of a sense of "Woo-hoo, fightin'!" The story is inconsequential - The Rock is a badass warrior assassin who, when betrayed and on an avenging mission, figures out that morals are good and becomes a benevolent king by the end of it - which sorta makes a fella curious as to how he became evil at the beginning of "Mummy Returns," but again, making sense isn't the focus of the flick - and hooks up with a hot babe, a kid and Michael Clarke Duncan on the way. Good silly fun, the fights had just the right amount of nods to wrasslin' moves without overdoing it, and Kelly Hu is hot as the proverbial balls.

There's a lot of chatter about good ol' Rocky being "The Action Hero For The New Millennium" and all o' that rot. We'll see about that. His actual acting ability is hardly showcased here at all - this is a movie designed around the combat scenes, after all, since Rock's built his life around pretending to fight. However, I've seen enough of his wrasslin' career to know this guy'll probably be able to pull off action-comedy rather well if he gets to develop his chops a bit more. He's the guy in the WWF with the least-gimmicky gimmick - he's not a swaggering redneck, he's not a surly biker, he's not a guy in a superhero outfit and he's not "The Red Rooster," for fuck's sake. He's just a semi-regular guy who, through sheer force of personality and the tendency to come up with really pithy things to say, became popular enough to be a movie star. He's the most relatable guy in the wrasslin' biz, like the life of the party that stops short of putting the lampshade on his head. With that kind of talent and the decent head he seems to have on hi shoulders, the chances look pretty good that he's not gonna pull a Hulk Hogan and wind up in "Mr. Nanny II: Mr. Nannier."

Or at least we can all cross our fingers and hope so.

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