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The Scorpion King

Sex, swordplay and stupidity.

The three S's of a fine movie-going experience come together in this spring's sweatiest fun-in-the-sun pic, The Scorpion King.

The Scorpion King is a prequel to the recent Mummy movies in much the same way that Ice Age was a prequel to Waterworld. It's not.

See, once upon a summer blockbuster there was this successful film called The Mummy. It spawned an equally successful sequel called The Mummy Returns. The Mummy Returns began with a prologue describing some pro-wrestler who made a deal with a God, bit a desert scorpion in half and became an immortal heavy. Now we have the two-hour epic story of said bug-eater, and it actually has nothing whatsoever to do with the five minutes of footage we saw in The Mummy Returns. All it has in common is the name, and the actor.

Which is all it really cares about.

The Scorpion King (the movie, not the prologue) is about this big warrior named Maa..Matry.. Maamaa.. let's just call him The Rock. 5,000 years ago, give or take a month, The Rock is hired by a bunch of downtrodden pro-wrestlers and football cheerleaders to assassinate a sorceress named ... named... let's call her Hot Naked Chick. The idea is that if The Rock kills Hot Naked Chick then the bad guy, named...Mem...Mnem.. Mepp... let's call him Bad Guy, will be defeated in battle.

Raise your hand if you think The Rock is going to kill Hot Naked Chick.

Now raise your hand if you think The Rock is going to sleep with Hot Naked Chick and kill Bad Guy instead.

So while the rest of us sit and wait for The Rock to figure this out, we get to spend a great deal of time running around in the desert, looking at all the pretty, pretty people. Apparently, ugly people hadn't yet been invented 5,000 years ago. Who knew?

If you think The Scorpion King is anything other than eye candy, a Conan for the 21st Century, you're an idiot. And even comparing it to Conan is a bit of a stretch. While Arnold became a star by grunting and looking upset, The Rock is going to become a star by flexing, smiling, and charming the chainmail thongs off of everyone in upper Egypt.

This is The Rock's coming out party, and you're all invited. Pop open a brew, kick your legs up and cheer. The Rock's first line, delivered while holding a ridiculously over-sized crossbow with about twenty arrows lined up on it, is simply "Boo."

It pretty much stays there for the entire film.

Why is this guy the Scorpion King? Well, in The Mummy Returns, he became The Scorpion King by one-upping the Survivor Food Challenges and eating a live, poisonous scorpion. In this movie, he becomes the Scorpion King by... well... by.. well... actually, he never does become The Scorpion King. Hope I haven't ruined anything for you. The symbol of The Scorpion King, carried over from the previous movie is actually used by Bad Guy. Who calls himself King. And keeps pet Scorpions. Which, stop me if I'm crazy, kinda makes me wonder if Bad Guy is actually The Scorpion King while The Rock is... well.. The Rock.

Like it matters - we're here for the action and booty, right?

Plenty of booty. At one point, a bunch of scantily-clad revelers break out their best Britney Spears moves. Hot Naked Chick is incredibly hot, and in one chase sequence, actually naked. And there are other female warriors, each of whom ascribe to the 'stand suggestively, jiggle booty, slash with sword, repeat' philosophy of fighting. And not to be sexist, there are tons and tons of very hot, sexy, naked men as well. A feast for the eyes of all.

And then there's the action. Surprisingly, for a film that is basically a spin-off of one of the largest CGI franchises in recent history, there isn't a lot of CGI. No magic. No monsters. No mummies. Men and women, wearing a wonderfully diverse collection of trashy lingerie, attack each other with swords, arrows and their fists. As if that isn't enough, a couple of the extended fight sequences are, truth be told, nothing more than costumed versions of WWF Smackdown. After all, let's not forget where our hero comes from. He may be the next big thing. He may be a charming, fun personality whom we can't help but want to watch. But strip away his clothes (not a difficult task) and he's still headlining RAW Is WAR.

When all is said and done, is this a good movie? Hell no. Is it a good film to rent, drink beer and taunt? Hell yes. They fight, they stand around waiting to fight, they glisten with sweat under the hot sun. The only thing it's missing is a gratuitous bathing scene. Oh wait, it has that, too.

All told, The Scorpion King picks up 2 Babylons. One for each of Hot Naked Chick's breasts.

Editor's Note:

When the SMC and I saw the Rock performing in RAW IS WAR a while back, he gushed privately to me about the Rock's "luscious breasts" , so he's not fooling anyone.

Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Chuck Russell
Starring: The Rock, Steven Brand, The Rock's left pectoral, Kelly Hu, The Rock's quivering thigh, Michael Clarke Duncan, The Rock's raised eyebrow, Grant Heslov, The Rock's impressive package, and flesh, flesh, flesh.

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