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Blu-ray Review: The Scorpion King 3 – Battle for Redemption

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Imagine, if you will, what might happen if Hollywood tried to make their own version of the Gor flicks, Joe D’Amato’s Ator films, and Antonio Margheriti’s infamous Yor, the Hunter from the Future. Only they didn’t have a clue as to how to do it “right,” and so they wrote in all of the very worst buddy and comedic elements they could possibly find from movies by the Cannon Group, like Firewalker, Over the Top and The Barbarians. Now visualize they somehow managed to get this rotten project financed, and the finished product was unleashed upon the world as The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption.  Go on, now — picture it!

Oh, damn you all to Hell: you imagined this nightmare so vividly that it actually came true!

Yes, kids, just when you thought it was safe to seek out an adventure flick, co-producer Stephen Sommers, director Roel Reiné (who did a great job with Death Race 2 but really got the shit end of the stick here, getting stuck with this bargain-bin project to complete) and screenwriters Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn (from a story by Randall McCormick) team up to bring us what could very well be the worst film of 2011, though Universal has wisely decided to release it (direct-to-video — fancy that) in the beginning of 2012, probably just so it won’t be included on any “Worst of” lists for the previous year (hey, we can always do it next year, right?). Boasting some of the most unbelievably bad acting and dialogue this side of the lowliest Ed Wood production, The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption seems to forego any possibility of plausibility, and opts instead to deliver cheap jokes and even cheaper thrills.

You know things are bad when even the actors who played the Scorpion King in the previous films don’t want anything to do with this outing. Instead, Mathayus, the Scorpion King is now portrayed by television actor extraordinaire, Victor Webster. Hired by a Roman King to remove his evil brother from am abusive position of power. At least, I think that was the plot: it’s hard to focus on what the story is supposed to be about when you’re stuck wondering if those really are supposed to be Romans or not (what with the modern hardwood floors and household furniture). The Roman (?) King (played by Ron Perlman, who should really find a new agent) even sends along a fighting companion with Mathayus: a slobby, fat fellow named Olaf (played by Otis himself, Bostin Christopher).

Together, the odd couple of Mathayus and Olaf argue a lot, get into fights (often with each other), and crack one terrible quip after another. It’s really, really bad, folks. And, to top it all off, the producers hired Billy Zane to prance around and chew up every piece of scenery — from the sets that were only built the day before, to the ancient temples of the Thailand jungles wherein this shameful waste of five million Yanqi dollars was filmed. Delivering unforgettably forgettable lines like “I will rise again like a bad idea, and you will be crushed,” and singing others as he calls forth a number of Mortal Kombat rejects for the film’s finale, Zane imbibes all of the qualities of a has-been; the likes of which you would — not coincidentally enough, I’m sure — find in an old crappy Cannon Group film. Selina Lo, Temuera Morrison, and Krystal Vee co-star in this mess, and former WWE champ Dave Batista and UFC jock Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson pop up to show us what steroids do to your veins.

Oh, and be sure to look for the clearly visible security camera at the 1:36:51 mark. This is a Class-A effort all the way, kids.

As is always the case with the truly worst films, Universal has given this a surprisingly decent HD presentation a well as a number of special features, just to torture us all the more with. The film is presented in a 1.78:1 widescreen ratio, with a transfer that adequately shows off the beauty Thailand holds. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is a decent affair, and there are additional audio tracks available in French and Spanish 5.1, as well as optional subtitles in English (SDH), French and Spanish. Bonus-wise, Roel Reiné gives us the movie’s one true saving grace: an audio commentary in which he divulges several low-budget filmmaking tricks and has a lot more fun than he probably did making this.

Apart from the Blu-ray/DVD Combo of this eyesore boasting two (two) different Digital Download Copies (Ultraviolet and the regular ol’ kind — I guess they‘re hoping someone will like this one well enough to download it twice?), additional special features include two behind-the-scenes promotional pieces (“Swords and Scorpions” and “Preparing for Battle”), a gag reel, several deleted/alternate scenes, and a deleted scene montage. They’re all worthless, if you want my two cents on ‘em — and that’s two cents for the whole package, not per piece: I’m on a budget as thrifty as the film, you know!

So bad, even I wouldn’t recommend it.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.