The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior (2008) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure
Universal || PG13 - 109 minutes - $39.98 || August 19, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-08-26


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Russell Mulcary
Writer(s): Stephen Sommers (characters); Randall McCormick (written by)
Cast: Michael Copon, Karen David, Simon Quarterman, Tom Wu, Andreas Wisniewski, Randy Couture, Natalie Becker, Peter Butler


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • My Scenes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (DTS MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

The Scorpion King 2 - a prequel to a prequel (The Scorpion King) to a sequel (The Mummy Returns) to a remake (The Mummy).

Taking place years before the events of The Scorpion King we find a young boy named Mathayus (Michael Copon) who is reluctantly forced to join a group called The Black Scorpions where he trains to be a warrior for the great king. After six long years of training Mathayus returns to find out the king was killed and has been replaced by Sargon (Randy Couture) - the same man Mathayus believes killed his father years before. After Mathayus refuses to kill his own brother by the word of the king, the two plan a daring escape only to find his brother has been killed by a magical arrow as they flee from the city.

Seeking revenge, Mathayus sets out to Egypt with the help of a childhood friend Layla (Karen David) and a Greek poet named Ari (Simon Quaterman). The three plan to travel to a great land in search of a sword that could cut through anything - presumably to be used on Sergons heads. Along the way the trio picks up several other key players in the plot who help them along with their journey.

Much like my fellow reviewer Brian (The Movieman), I too feared the worst of this movie when I got it. Most of the direct to DVD/Blu-ray films I receive are usually pretty bad filled with cheesy dialog and horrific CGI that always makes me wonder who actually buys these movies and thinks they might turn out alright. In this case, I was pleasantly surprised by this film - to the point where I think it might even be a bit stronger than the original Scorpion King due to a better use of secondary characters.

In regards to the CGI, while some of it looked decent, the other half looked downright awful. Vines growing in every which directly looked poorly animated, as did the scorpion towards the end of the film. Considering the budget was fairly low for this type of film it is understandable, just a slight disappointment.

Since The Rock (or Dwayne Johnson as he now goes by) didn't want to come back and reprise his role, Michael Copon took over the role as a younger Mathayus (he does somewhat resembles The Rock) and his acting skills are much better than The Rock, who used The Scorpion King as a launch pad for his future film career. Secondary characters include Karen David who played the romantic interest in the film as well as Ari (Simon Quarterman) who both do a decent job at helping Mathayus out on his adventure.

Randy Couture has his name plastered all over the cover art, and while he plays a main character, he is barely in the film. You'll see him for parts of the first act, none in the second, and a short bit in third. But that is definitely a good thing as he is easily the worst actor and character in the film. Did Universal really need to get some other wrestler/UFC fighter to help sell the movie?



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Itís worth noting this releases comes with a slip cover that matches The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. Why the first Scorpion King did not include one still baffles me, even more so with this release having one.

My Scenes - This allows you to bookmark your favorite scenes to watch later. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

As you can see, that's it. Originally this title was announced to be pressed on a BD50 disc and include all the special features present on the DVD (deleted scenes, making of etc.). But instead, this title was released on a BD25 disc and all the special features have been removed possibly because of space issues (speculated of course by myself and others).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Scorpion King 2 is presented in 1.78:1 (VC1) on a 25GB Disc. While I was certainly not blown away by the picture quality, for a direct to DVD/Blu-ray feature the quality is pretty good. Colors look very vibrant and blacks maintain a great consistency. I only have two faults and that's with many of the scenes in the 'underworld' being too washed out, and inconsistent digital noise being added to some shots.

Universal has included an English 5.1 DTS MA soundtrack that, much like the original film before, sounds amazing. Every cling of the sword and small detail can be heard. Rarely is there a dull moment in the film and while dialog at times can get a bit muffled by the numerous action scenes, I found this to be another amazing track by Universal.



.::OVERALL::.

The Scorpion King 2 may not be one of the best direct to DVD/Blu-ray movies available, but it is on-par with the first film and if you enjoyed that, you should enjoy this one.