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The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption

tn_scorpionking3For those keeping score, THE SCORPION KING 3: BATTLE FOR REDEMPTION is the sequel to the prequel to the prequel to the sequel to the re-imagining of THE MUMMY. It would’ve been worth reviewing just to point out that important fact, but the truth is I have a sincere interest in the Scorpion King saga. There’s only one movie in that entire lineage that I like alot (THE SCORPION KING starring The Rock), but I believe it’s a series they could do something fun with, even on lower budgets and without The Rock. I believe in hope. I believe America.

Well, part 2 was pretty forgettable, but it seemed like they halfway tried because it was directed by once-exciting Russell Mulcahy (THE HIGHLANDER, RAZORBACK, RICOCHET) and had UFC hall-of-famer/#1 Expendable Randy Couture as a villain who turns into an invisible scorpion monster. You don’t get that every day. Part 3 has a good DTV pedigree too. Director Roel Reine has done what I thought were two surprisingly enjoyable DTV sequels (DEATH RACE 2 – another Paul W.S. Anderson franchise! – and especially THE MARINE 2) and the last Seagal movie I really loved (PISTOL WHIPPED) so he’s a good choice, and as you’ll see the cast is pretty good.

mp_scorpionking3Some guy named Victor Webster takes over the lead, but it’s okay, because he has a beard so maybe that hides that he’s not The Rock. He’s a mercenary and he hides his past as The Scorpion King. Everybody knows about The Scorpion King and they know his real name and nationality but I guess they figure “The Scorpion King of legend was also named Mathayus and was also the last surviving member of the Akkadian race, but he didn’t have a beard so this can’t be the same guy.” Anyway what this means (if I understand the chronology correctly) is that this takes place some time after the events of THE SCORPION KING. The happy ending from that movie has turned to shit and now he has to earn redemption. Real sweet, but meaningless since we know in 5000 years he’s not only cursed to come back as a mindless scorpion monster, but also as one of the shittiest CGI effects ever used in a major big budget motion picture.

The adventure begins promisingly with a cool camera angle and Mathayus strung up by bad guys telling him how screwed he is, but the potential of the scene is squandered when he just listens to the speech and then starts beating them up. No trick or one-liner involved to ease the transition. It’s missing that part 1 energy.

He’s working for King Horus, who is played by Ron Perlman, and that raises an obvious question: how the fuck did it take until part 3 for Ron Perlman to get into one of these? Horus is at war with his brother Talus, who is played by famed Arnold Vosloo lookalike Billy Zane (TITANIC, SNIPER RELOADED). Seriously, I was excited that Zane was in this because

1) when he’s in a groove he can be fuckin great, and

2) the titular mummy who spawned the Scorpion King character in THE MUMMY RETURNS was played by an actor known for looking exactly like Billy Zane. Vosloo even said in an interview with Charlie Rose that people come up to him and ask if he’s “the guy from TITANIC.” Too bad Zane has hair in this one, that was kind of a missed opportunity to create franchise confusion. They must’ve thought it was enough to have the characters constantly talking about a mysterious bad guy called “Cobra” even though that was the name of the mysterious bad guy in Stephen Sommers’ GI JOE movie.

Mathayus is teamed with a fat hairy guy named Olaf (Bostin Christopher, who played the title character in a movie I never watched called OTIS), who he fights and then befriends in the same way he did Michael Clarke Duncan’s character in the first movie. Horus sends them on a mission, something to do with the Book of the Dead and King Ramusan, played by Temuera “Jango Fett” Morrison (who previously worked with Reine in THE MARINE 2).

I like the convoluted way the plot bounces poor Mathayus and Olaf around: they complete their quest to help Ramusan, but he’s out of gold, so he rewards them with his daughter’s hand in marriage. But she’s been kidnapped by Talus, so they have to go on another quest to rescue her if they’re gonna claim their reward. But just as they get to Talus’s camp to rescue her she’s re-kidnapped by ninjas, so Talus sees them and hires them for a quest to rescue her from the ninjas. And they don’t even want her anyway but in a painting she was wearing a valuable necklace so they’re hoping they can steal that. A quest within a quest within a quest – it’s a lot of fuckin trouble for a piece of jewelry. Gotta appreciate how easy you have it, rappers.

In the tradition of part 2 there are alot of dull stretches in their quest. I appreciate that they try to mix things up – it was shot in Thailand, so they have lots of battle elephants and some martial arts. They use different cultural influences for the various tribes and kingdoms so there seems to be some Egyptian stuff, some Greek, some Thai. There’s some catapults. A chariot chase. Some explosions. A tiny bit of old school wire work for ninjas to scurry up some trees.

Just when it seems like nothing new is gonna happen things take a positive turn for the Mortal Kombat as Talus summons three demonic warriors: backyard fighting legend Kimbo Slice with glowing eyes and painted up like an old movie cannibal, cool-looking WWE guy and lunchbox collector Dave Bautista in skeleton-themed armor with severe stomach burns, some sexy witch lady with a white wig. So this sets up some decent fights between the various good guys and bad guys, there is some magic, etc. The fight with Kimbo is the best one so they probly shouldn’t have done that one first. I forgot to mention there is a sexy ninja girl who fights the witch lady so that they can do the move we all know from trailers where a sword swings toward a Jovovich, Beckinsale or Q type and she leans backwards in slow motion to go just under the blade. I call it the Sword Limbo.

There’s alot of terrible dialogue to induce groans or laughs. Not the audaciously melodramatic wording of the original, but stuff like “What in the name of the demon serpent is going on?” or “Mathayus! Where in Odin’s cod-piece have you been?” Talus laughs about somebody being “no more human than the palace monkeys that wipe my bum,” but it’s never explained if he literally has pet monkeys that are trained to wipe his ass for him. If so I think this is a new detail about life in the Mummyverse, I don’t think it came up in any of the other ones. In my review of part 2 I speculated about a spin-off series for the minotaur character, so here obviously I gotta suggest PALACE MONKEY: CONQUEST OF THE ASS-WIPERS in which the Chosen Monkey fulfills the prophecy to free his people from bathroom servitude. Of course he dreams of someday becoming something other than a royal butt cleaner, and everybody mocks him for it, but he proves that it’s possible. He could be like a towel holder or something.

As long as we’re off on a tangent I wanna bring up this beard thing again. Is this gonna turn into a cultural thing now, like in the ’80s everybody in movies had the mullets to try to fit with the times, now they’re gonna start giving them these straggly fuckin fake southern rocker beards all the twentysomething dudes have? We got a Scorpion King with a beard, we got a Michael Myers with a beard, I’m pretty sure I saw set photos of the new Superman with a beard… is Mickey Mouse gonna have one now? Skinny jeans and a fake hobo beard? Maybe in Spielberg’s Lincoln movie he’ll give Abe a double-sized beard to make him relevant to today.

What I’m getting at is 1) this Scorpion King’s long braided hair and beard look leaves alot to be desired and 2) just fuckin shave every once in a while, you won’t regret it

Old Beardo’s not terrible – his first couple lines got me worried, but he grew on me. (like a beard.) But of course most people don’t have the kind of charm The Rock does, and this guy doesn’t come close. His sidekick Olaf doesn’t help either, he’s merely passable in what is obviously supposed to be a really funny role. You can tell mainly because he burps alot. They try to capture the type of humor the first one has, but most of it doesn’t work that great. There are a few parts that got me, like when the bad guy makes an evil joke and Olaf doesn’t know that he shouldn’t laugh at it because he’s a good guy. Also a weird part where Ramusan proudly shows off a portrait of his daughter, but it’s a shitty painting that makes her look ugly and cross-eyed. Oh yeah, and the slo-mo shot of a ninja flying out of the water and kicking Olaf while he’s taking a piss.

Perlman’s role is generic low grade Perlman, and Zane’s isn’t that great either, but he does do one speech in some kind of redneck accent and I did enjoy his final showdown with Mathayus, where his various attempts at sorcery are so pathetic that His Scorpion-ness just shakes his head sadly.

Kimbo Slice and Dave Bautista both look cool, but should be in it more. In fact it occurred to me – why isn’t Bautista playing the Scorpion King? Is it not allowed for it to be another WWE guy? I feel like he would be more worthy of it. But if not that’s cool, just give him more lines.

Like part 2 this one is watchable and at times fun, but not as good as I was hoping for. We’ll see if they can do better in the sequel to the sequel to the prequel to the prequel to the sequel to the re-imagining.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 at 1:44 am and is filed under Fantasy/Swords, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

74 Responses to “The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption”

  1. Ah another fine addition to the “Billy Zane in a wig” movie club

  2. Vern, I think you’re overlooking the fact that real men don’t shave!

  3. Shave? I thought real men don’t shower. Damn, that explains a lot.

  4. “I believe in hope. I believe America.”

    Vern – did you lift that from Romney’s victory speech?

  5. I have grown a bit of a faux-hobo beard and I own more than a few pairs of skinny jeans…could I play the (not)Rock in the next one?

    Also, Olaf? Like, Nosferatu Count Olaf?

  6. boy, you know it’s a DTV flick when it stars Ron Perlman and Billy Zane

    also I happen to be a (early) twentysomething who is attempting to grow a beard

  7. Tawdry, I think Nosferatu’s name was Orlok.

  8. Are Billy Zane and Ron Perlman the new Billy Drago and Don Zwayze? Discuss.

  9. I’m pretty sure Ron Perlman just won’t say no to a part. I mean, he’s played Clay in 4 seasons of the popular and critically acclaimed Sons of Anarchy, and in between seasons he’s done much less popular and acclaimed things like this and Conan the Barbarian(maybe he signed a 2 for 1 “ancient warrior movie” contract?), and he’s also appeared in the critically acclaimed Drive. And I think he’s also obligated to appear in almost everything Guillermo Del Toro directs, too(he’s confirmed to appear in Del Toro’s upcoming “Pacific Rim”, alongside fellow SoA star Charlie Hunnam).

    Not to mention in between acting gigs, he’s also the narrator for the “1001 Ways to Die” TV show and does voice acting in cartoons and video games(including the popular Fallout and Halo game series). I swear, I think if *I* had a video camera and was making a movie in my backyard, I could probably get Ron Perlman to show up and do a few scenes.

  10. who will be the next Robert Zdar?

  11. Ron Perlman confessed years ago, that he loves to act in interesting movies by great directors, but loves even more to be able to pay his monthly bills and maybe buy his family some nice stuff from time to time.

  12. This is the quintessential Vern review, and it is a joy to read.

  13. “war, war never changes”

    Ron Perlman’s badass narration in the Fallout games is one of my favorite things by him

  14. I stopped trying to grow a beard years ago, but although I am follicularly challenged, I still need some form of facial hair to balance out my natural boyishness. So these days I’m rocking the George Michael permascruff. It’s great. I never have to shave, and once it starts getting itchy, I just run a beard trimmer over it until I look like a rogue vice detective on the ragged edge.

  15. I go with a light Van Dyck beard. If I would grow a full one, I would totally out-Rob-Zombie Rob Zombie in terms of hairyness.

  16. “Kimbo Slice and Dave Bautista both look cool, but should be in it more. In fact it occurred to me – why isn’t Bautista playing the Scorpion King?”
    Because having a guy who’s 44 play the younger version of a character who was originally played by a 29 year old would be confusing?
    http://youtu.be/jSe-amiQQm0

  17. We wouldn’t want anything disrupting the clear, linear storytelling of this seprepresereimagining.

  18. “They must’ve thought it was enough to have the characters constantly talking about a mysterious bad guy called “Cobra” even though that was the name of the mysterious bad guy in Stephen Sommers’ GI JOE movie.”

    Well, Vosloo was in G.I.JOE too, so maybe that’s the connection. It’s a Zane/Vosloo conspiracy!

  19. D.S.: When I was in film school, a friend of mine was living in the same Burbank apartment complex as Billy Drago, and actually got Drago to appear in his student film. And not in a three second cameo or anything, but in a major role. With multiple scenes, a monologue, ect ect. True story.

  20. Drago’s real name is William Burrows. Funny.

  21. But this takes place after The Scorpion King, so it’s okay for him to be older. If anything I was confused by having the new Scorpion King look younger than the original one. The beard’s not fooling anybody.

  22. OTIS. Vern, you should really watch that one. I caught it on TV late one night and was surprisingly hooked. It’s got a great story – familiar stuff but with some interesting ideas – story and the direction is quite competent, with some really cool lighting and all. The film has a consistent darkly comic tone and the performances are uniformly competent. it also has kevin pollak playing a grade-a asshole and for once i enjoyed the guy, since the character suits the general vibe he gives off, i.e. of a grade-a asshole. i’m sure you’d appreciate this nice little horror-comedy and a review of it by you would be great! please do check it out if you find time :)

  23. “But this takes place after The Scorpion King”
    But before the establishing flashback in THE MUMMY RETURNS, which features young Rock. The only explanation is when they make THE SCORPION KING: THE FOURTH DIMENSION(3D+Smellovision)(working title: THE SCORPION KING 4: THROUGH THE PORTAL OF TIME), we discover he’s got access to a time machine…which he stole from the PRINCE OF PERSIA…who’ll be played by David Belle.
    I wish Batista would come back to the WWE, if only to do a storyline where he reveals current WWE Superstar Mason Ryan is his lovechild/clone
    http://youtu.be/sPXXhH-UvzA

  24. Vern,sorry for the tangent, but when I read Russell Mulcahy’s name I realized you’ve never reviewed HIGHLANDER. Can this be, or does Google search lie yet again? If so (i.e., haven’t reviewed), is this one of those times where you decided “if I can’t say anything nice then I won’t say anything at all”, or have you been meaning to get around to it? Lord knows the thing’s dated in sections, but I loved it to death way back when, and it still entertains (more or less) when I dust it off every couple years.

    Moreover, I’d love to see you power right on through to HIGHLANDER 2: THE QUICKENING, because that movie’s bonkers, just a real crass piece of cash-in craziness that took Superman, shoved him in a blender with Starman, dumped the contents into Van Damme’s cast-off wig, and said ACTION while doing coke on the set of BLADE RUNNER. There’s zero dedication to continuity between the films, and trying to reconcile them has actually caused spontaneous virginity in the not-so-chaste.

    Anyway, I suggest treading carefully if you do proceed.

  25. But part 3 has Mario Van Peebles emerging from an ice cave in Tibet after 700 years speaking perfect English. How could Vern not want in on that action?

  26. Well that’s covered by the fact that when immortals kill each other, they absorb the knowledge and power of their vanquished foes. All he had to have done was kill an immortal who spoke english before being frozen.
    (I’m scottish, HIGHLANDER is our CITIZEN KANE)

  27. So as a Scotsman it doesn’t bother you in the slightest that they’ve got a Frenchman playing a Scot while the world’s most famous Scot plays a Spaniard/Egyptian? I mean, Lambert’s accent almost works in the modern-day footage (as he says, he’s from “a lot of different places” so his mush-mouthed generically European accent kind of fits that) but his Scottish accent in the flashbacks is worse than David Boreanez’s Irish brogue on ANGEL. And Boreanez’s Irish brogue is worse than puppy cancer.

  28. Or do Scots have brogues? I can never remember. How did all you tribes of white people not manage to exterminate yourselves centuries ago trapped on those little islands?

  29. “So as a Scotsman it doesn’t bother you in the slightest that they’ve got a Frenchman playing a Scot while the world’s most famous Scot plays a Spaniard/Egyptian?”
    1986 was a less progressive time for scots actors in Hollywood, so we had to take what we could get. It’s still not perfect. Gerald Butler’s only allowed to be scottish in Guy Ritchie movies and when he’s playing a Spartan and/or Viking. The rest of the time, he’s got to do some weird mid-atlantic thing. Of course, we still have it better than the poor welsh…

  30. The directors cut of Highlander 2 is actually semi coherent, with sporadic attempts at continuity. No excuses for Mario Van Peebles and his prehistoric flat top though

  31. I let my beard grow all the way down my neck at the suggestion of filmatist artist Julian Schnabel. I love it, he was totally right. It gives it a much more natural look. I keep it trimmed but there’s no artificial line that I’m not going to shave exactly right anyway.

    I’d love to get into HIGHLANDER with Vern. That series is amazing because each sequel tried to make sense of the mythology and only made it worse.

  32. My beard is kick ass. I’ve trimmed the cheeks now cause before I think I looked too “taliban”since I’m a nappy haired brown man and was intimidating people. It wasn’t mountain man full but it did cover everything but the lips and the area by my soul patch. Similar to neo-Scorpion King up there. So now I just have this crazy lined up bush growing out of my lower jaw. Beards fucking rule.

  33. I want to just let my shit grow out as much as possible one day shit for shit’s and giggles. I have to stop procrastinating and get serious about pursing a creative career cause that would be the only outlet where it would even be allowed. Damn society and their “civilities” and dress codes.

  34. Oh yeah and even though I skipped the other ones I will add this to the que cause

    “I like the convoluted way the plot bounces poor Mathayus and Olaf around: they complete their quest to help Ramusan, but he’s out of gold, so he rewards them with his daughter’s hand in marriage. But she’s been kidnapped by Talus, so they have to go on another quest to rescue her if they’re gonna claim their reward. But just as they get to Talus’s camp to rescue her she’s re-kidnapped by ninjas, so Talus sees them and hires them for a quest to rescue her from the ninjas. And they don’t even want her anyway but in a painting she was wearing a valuable necklace so they’re hoping they can steal that. A quest within a quest within a quest”

    Seriously that paragraph sold the shit out of this movie to me. I love when DTV’s go “fuck it let’s get ambitious and epic like a blockbuster would” and just layer setpiece after setpiece after setpiece like a bunch legos on top of each other without a care. It’s very admirable cause you see really how creative the director could really get with the limited resources. It’s what seperates the Isaac Florentines from all the other guys.

  35. Highlander 2: The Quickening. Man….I remember when that came out. I remember Roger Ebert’s epic review (“If there is a civilization somewhere that celebrates bad movies, Highlander 2 The Quickening is one of the most sacred treasures of their culture.”) And I remember even the Cinefantastique article about it was incomprehensible.

  36. That was like one of the most confusing movies I ever saw as a kid. I haven’t seen it since it first came out but all I could still remember is a wigged Michael Ironside wigging out in a train and Sean Connery becoming a giant fan’s bitch.

  37. I’ll have to second the Otis recomendation. It’s a pretty sweet movie.

  38. I love in the commentary for the HIGHLANDER 2 director’s cut (which I obviously haven’t listened to ha ha no sir not me I have had the sex with the ladies) the two producers are patting themselves on the back about how this new version totally makes sense and addresses all the problems and is now something everyone can be proud of and Mulcahy just tastefully keeps his mouth shut and pours himself another drink.

  39. Now matter how hard Mulcahy has fallen since HIGHLANDER; I will say that at least he made the only watchable sequel to RESIDENT EVIL.

  40. I’ll agree with that. It’s still not great, but the ending was satisfying enough that it had me ready to watch another one. Then I actually saw the next one and those hopes were well and truly dashed.

  41. On the subject of Russell Mulcahy joints, I wouldn’t mind seeing Razorback II: The Razoring if they ever chose to make such a thing.

  42. I don’t know, man. Mulcahy’s RESIDENT EVIL actually made me give up on the series immediately, after I was able to enjoy the first two as dumb but entertaining B-movies.

  43. BTW, we need a SILENT TRIGGER review one day. But no need to rush it.

  44. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    January 11th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    “How did all you tribes of white people not manage to exterminate yourselves centuries ago trapped on those little islands?”

    We’re really good at eating, drinking, and singing. Well, most of us. Those of us who aren’t good at drinking or singing tend to congregate in karaoke bars, so it can be difficult to tell sometimes. But you get the picture.

    Don’t bother with Silent Trigger. It’s pretty bad. I got through about forty minutes before I gave up on this one. I mean, the action stuff is at least clear, but unfortunately that’s not a recommendation when nothing that happens in the opening action sequence makes any kind of sense. (Seriously, watch the stuff with the helicopter and tell me why the hell Dolph isn’t dead within the first thirty seconds or so, other than he’s the star of the damn movie.)

    Maybe this improves after the first act, but I couldn’t keep watching for that long, so here’s the main thing that bugged me about “Silent Trigger”:

    Dolph’s relationship with Gina Bellman, his “spotter”, is one of those annoying only-in-the-movie relationships which seem to consist entirely of two people who deeply mistrust each other yet still carry on together. Why? The movie doesn’t say. Why should I care? The movie gives me no reason to. What exactly does a “spotter” do in a sniper-spotter relationship? I have no idea, at least from this movie; I only had a very vague idea previous to that, and this doesn’t help any. Maybe trained snipers would be able to get “into” the characters more, but that’s a helluva small potential audience they’re targeting here.

    So what I’m basically saying is that I think Mouth would love this movie, but I can’t see anyone else but an ex-military guy liking it. I just found it intolerably dull. Yeah, another bad Dolph movie, who woulda thunk it? As a point of comparison between Dolph pictures, “Blackjack” and “The Punisher” were a lot sillier than “Silent Trigger”, but they were also a lot more fun.

  45. I hit my hotel in Paris tonight and S. Seagal is The Patriot is on TV (in French). I’m wondering how much less sense (and more entertaining) the Scorpion King preseqresimagining would be in French – or pig latin or some shit like that.

    Also +1 on not needing Silent Trigger. It is kind of dull. Mouth would almost certainly be infuriated by the wild inaccuracies of the Sniper experience.

  46. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    January 11th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Ok, question for you action movie fans.

    So I’ve already posted somewhere about my theory of the three main action movie archetypes for both hero and lead action villain (as opposed to the mastermind in the wheelchair, etc – this is the guy who actually does the fighting). You got the bruiser, the machine, and the ghost. Most action movie main characters have elements of each archetype, but one is usually obviously dominant. They are:

    – The bruiser: the John McClanes, Rockies, or Kyle Reeces of the world; the guy who won’t give up, keeps getting hit, keeps taking the punches but also keeps fighting back. This is probably the most common “hero” archetype and the least common “villain” one.

    – The machine: an invincible killing machine. Think every Seagal movie, Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon”, Ivan Drago of “Rocky 4”, Brackus, Bone from “Blood and Bone”, also your Universal Soldiers, Bolo Yeung / Chong Li from “Bloodsport”… the list goes on. (Although strangely, Arnie in “The Terminator” doesn’t count – he’s a bruiser). What distinguishes this guy is he never so much as gets cut until the final fight. At that time he might get cut a great deal, and may even lose – especially if he’s the villain – but until then he’s not just unstoppable, he’s unfazeable.

    – The ghost: the stealth guy. The silent assassin who leaves no trace of their presence except the bodies behind them. Unsurprisingly uncommon among action heroes (although Tom Cruise does a good job of this in the original “Mission: Impossible”). Obvious example on the hero side is Batman, except when he’s in the batmobile, which are generally the least memorable parts of every Batman film except “Dark Knight” anyway; obvious example on the villain side is Mr Han of “Enter the Dragon” (although Bruce Lee has a good amount of this in his system as well, stealth goes out the window pretty early on in the film.)

    Anyway, my point… in my rundown of what I’d LIKE to see from “Expendables 2” I said I thought Lundgren was a natural “ghost”, but that he hadn’t been used that way for the most part. I was expecting “Silent Trigger” to satisfy that craving, but unfortunately he spends most of the opening action sequence running around in plain view shooting at things. Not exactly sniper-like.

    So my question: anybody know of a good Dolph movie where he gets to play the stealth guy, thief, or hacker/infiltrator?

  47. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    January 11th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Darth: “Mouth would almost certainly be infuriated by the wild inaccuracies of the Sniper experience.”

    Ah, it’s inaccurate? I thought the opening action sequence was frustratingly implausible, but I didn’t know if they got the basics of the whole sniper thing right. (Not being a sniper, etc.) Then again, my main sticking point with this movie was it told me nothing about what being a sniper was really like. The moment Dolph comes under fire, he breaks cover and runs out shooting at things.

    Surprisingly good sniper movie? “Shooter”, starring Mark Wahlberg. Ok, it’s not the greatest action film of the decade – or even the month, most likely – but I enjoyed it. Definitely superior in every way to what I saw of “Silent Trigger”.

  48. See, I really liked the opening of SILENT TRIGGER. It was over-the-top and ridiculous and completely implausible and I had high hopes that the rest of the movie would continue in similar fashion. But then it was all downhill from there. I never had any idea what anybody was trying to accomplish or why I should give a shit about these people hiding out in this abandoned office complex in British Columbia. It’s amazing how many movies have this exact same problem.

  49. I first saw a preview for this movie (one of those internet pop up things) a few days ago, and my first thought was, I hope Vern reviews this thing. You, sir, do not disappoint.

  50. CJ Holden – the only Resident Evil movie I could tolerate was the first and only because

    A: in the heady days of 2002, video game movies were still a novelty, it was just a novelty to see a “Resident Evil” movie and that made it worth watching for curiosities sake (the first Tomb Raider was the same way)

    but then Uwe Boll came along the following year and just completely killed the idea of a “video game movie”, God I hate that asshole…

    B: Milla was pretty hot

    but then the second one came along and oh my God, it was HORRENDOUS, I couldn’t make it through the whole thing

    never bothered with any of the others after that

  51. Paul – I don’t know if this is what you’re looking for but Lundgren was kind of sneaking around a bit in Command Performance.

  52. Paul, my issue with Silent Trigger’s reality was in the running around in full view, plus the ability to take a standing shot while holding a .50 Cal rifle, using a sight that is miraculously still accurate after surviving explosions and multiple impacts.

    I also really liked Shooter, by the way, but the books are so, so much better. The character is about 60 in the books, and this irascible old skinny Arkansas hillbilly. Very very far from Mark Wahlberg. The difference is pretty similar to that between Rambo of the movies, and Rambo of the book.

  53. What? You people are hating SILENT TRIGGER, one of Mulcahy’s best and the most surrealistic Sniper drama ever? I’m in shock! Seriously, I don’t know what to say.

  54. I second the request for a Highlander review.

    Also, great review of this one, Vern. I know in my bones that it’ll be a piece of shit, but reading this post makes me want to watch it anyway if only for the scene you mentioned where Billy Zane fails at magic.

  55. CJ Holden – I know how you feel in the aspect of being the only one who can appreciate a specific movie.I feel I´m the only one who thinks MI:2 is the most impossiblest mission Tom Cruise has ever been on. It makes me feel like an outcast. like I have the bubonic plague or something.

    In fact I feel like singing about it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdug6yHJB40

  56. Griff – as videogames adaptations go,I find RESDIDENT EVIL 1 being one of the most boring pieces of shit I´ve seen.Technically better than all the video game adaptations that gone before. But seriously,the goofiness of turkeys like STREET FIGHTER or SUPER MARIO BROS are so much more worth than the blandness of Paul What a Shithead Anderson´s borefest. I mean for example, they have the nerve to explain the jumping mechanics of the SMB videogames in the movie by explaining it all has to do with pressurized boots! And it looks fuckin´retarded! Imagine yourself “skippin´” to work like that! Good shit!

  57. I kind of liked the first RESIDENT EVIL when it came out because it was a novelty at the time to see a zombie movie in the theater, but even then I thought it was pretty weak sauce. But the second one is so, so much worse. How the hell do you make a scene where two hot chicks fight a ten-foot tall mutant with a rocket launcher for a hand boring? That’s some major cinematical type alchemy right there.

    And I actually just watched SUPER MARIO BROS. the weekend before last. After nearly 20 years, the movie remains completely inexplicable. Who decided that it was a good idea to turn the sun-drenched adventures of a jolly turtle-stomping Italian stereotype into BLADE RUNNER? It seems more like a parody of gritty reboots of childhood classics than a real film that cost millions of dollars and people were expected to pay money to see in a theater. It’s like one of those fake YouTube trailers where somebody reedits STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE to make it look like SUCKER PUNCH.

  58. Another problem I had with RE1 that I forgot to mention was; How the hell can you make a non-gory zombiefilm?! Well,you can,if you´re a hack…. The sequel, however I liked better. Since Anderson is hopeless at creating suspense or horror, they decided to amp up the pace and turn it more “actioney”
    Idiotic, yes but at least it´s not boring..

    Majestyk- I also forgot (dammit!) to question the filmmakers bizarre choice of transforming a trippy kidsprogram cartoonish videogame into cyberpunk. But you didn´t. Good man…

  59. If we’re ranking video game adaptations, let’s not forget SILENT HILL. I think is a terrific film, even if it stumbles a bit in the last act.

  60. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    January 12th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Hamsline – I’ll give it a whirl and see what sticks. (Metaphor soup.)

  61. HT – I like a lot of what Gans did. He COMPLETELY captured the atmosphere of the game. No other adaptation of a video game ever did that like; ever. However I really hated the 3rd act. I only ever played the first 3 games but the one thing that worked for them especially the first 2 was how in the dark you still were about it all by the end. Way too much exposition. I also completely hated the tacked on Sean Bean scenes and I’m usually a fan of the guy.

  62. Oh and I absolutely enjoy the crap out of STREET FIGHTER and SUPER MARIO BROS.

    They’re so batshit insane it’s hard for me to see how they can’t be loved by the entire universe.

  63. Oh and ok maybe MORTAL KOMBAT recreated the tone of the game to a faithful extent so SH actually wasn’t the first and I take that back. I’ll give W.S. that much credit.

  64. I’d argue STREET FIGHTER: THE ANIMATED MOVIE is one of the best video game adaptations. Sure, not a lot of plot, but at least it’s actually about Street Fighters, the animation and fights are excellent and the sillier stuff is easier to accept, which is the problem with a lot of live action video game adaptations. Either they veer too far from the source material and render the fact it’s an adaptation pointless, or they try to be faithfull in all the wrong ways, like the way characters dress, and because these characters weren’t designed with live action in mind, their looks are just downright ridiculous. The success/failure of the superhero adaptations also relies on getting the balance right. I really have some hope in the UNCHARTED movie getting it right, because it already comes prepared for being a movie as the games are so cinematic and rooted in a largely “realistic” world. Nobody has a six foot long sword, sports purple hair or dresses in a bright red leather jacket. It’s just what would be considered an Indy ripoff with very human protagonists, and over the top action set pieces.

  65. i would argue Mortal Kombat worked DESPITE it not recreating the tone of the game, since it was goofy and PG13 and all. I WISH the game was as awesome as this clip: http://youtu.be/P9wOHJa-GgI

  66. I always wanted to do a ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBOURS movie. But now that zombies are all the rage again (even though the game is about all kinds of [famous movie-] monsters), it would either look like a cash-in or some producer is working on a movie at the moment anyway.

  67. CJ – I’ve always thought Zombies Ate My Neighbors would make a fun movie too (and it’s a great game to boot) and supposedly some guy actually IS trying to make a movie of it

    ShootMcKay – oh I totally agree that I’d rather watch Super Mario Brothers or Street Fighter than Resident Evil any day, Super Mario Brothers and Street Fighter are at least entertainingly bad (and Street Fighter has so many hilarious quotes, “QUICK CHANGE ZE CHANNEL!”)

    and I have to admit the cyberpunk city stuff in Super Mario Brothers is legitimately cool, out of place though it is, since it was all a giant set they built in an empty cement factory in North Carolina

  68. by the way, the Silent Hill movie sucks if you’re familiar with the game

  69. Griff- Actually I kind of liked SILENT HILL-The Movie. It captured the atmosphere of the game a lot more than RE did. SILENT HILL-the game is probably the most terrifying experience I have ever had in my life. I spent most of the gametime running ´cause the game just literally fucked with my head and I didn´t wanna face all the creepy shit. Goddamnit! Those shadowbabies almost made me seek therapy! The movie may not be scary, but it felt more like the game than Anderson´s non-gory shitfest.

  70. ShootMcKay – the subject of Silent Hill is a whole big can of worms for me since it’s one of my favorite video game series and I’m very passionate about it

    I’ll just say that while the movie had some interesting visuals, it felt like the filmmakers really didn’t understand what Silent Hill is actually about, throwing in Pyramid Head and other random creatures, turning Alessa into some sort of demonic witch who kills people, changing the cult from being occultic to irritating caricatures of Christians, the list goes on…

    but I admit maybe the largest reason I dislike the movie is that it seemingly ruined the video game series itself, the western developed Silent Hill Homecoming, which was awful and pretty much ruined the whole series, lifted scenes almost directly from the movie

    I could on, but there is in fact an entire documentary devoted to the series in case you’re interested (shameless plug)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMHMiyl4zLQ&feature=channel_video_title

  71. Paul whatever-your-name-is — Dolph’s COVER UP (1991) might be what you’re looking for.

    Plus it reunites him with PUNISHER co-star Louis Gossett Jr, and is currently rocking an impressively low 3.8 stars on IMDB.

    My memory from seeing it when I was 10 shows that it also has a good ending [SPOILER] where Dolph dies. I cried at the time. I’m not ashamed, it was 1992, everyone was crying.

    On a separate topic, have there ever been other sequels to prequels to prequels etc?

  72. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    January 13th, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    3.8? Sold!

    “Cover up” and “Command Performance” will be added to my “to watch” list forthwith!

  73. I absolutely loved this movie. Comparing it to the Unisols or Undisputeds is like apples to oranges – this doesn’t come close to being on that level, but from a purely “fun” standpoint, this may be one of the best DTV movies I’ve seen. The action is alright, the characters are likable, the one-liners are awesomely terrible. Any movie where a hero kicks a dude into a fire and says “i’ll take mine medium rare” is alright by me. And that Slumdog Millionaire dance/tai chi sequence during the end credits – simply awesome.

    And Zane – holy crap, this is an incredible performance. Everyone here who likes Jason Patric in The Losers will be happy to know that Zane takes that same type of role and lifts it to another stratosphere. A super-cut of his best moments on youtube would probably make this movie a Room-style viral sensation.

    Oh yeah, per IMDB they’re making a Scorpion King 4?? It’s got Victor Webster again (he’s actually quite good) – but also has Royce Gracie, Michael Biehn, Barry Bostwick(?), Lou Ferrigno, Antonio Silva, and Don “The Dragon” Wilson. I can’t wait.

  74. Scorpion King 4 is on Netflix now and it’s something. Even though I enjoyed the goofiness and humor of the last one, this goes way, way, WAY over the top – it’s more of a comedy than an action movie now, even though the action is plentiful and well-shot. Webster is still surprisingly good and the female lead is ridiculously attractive, but I like that this series has taken a weird turn into being a showcase for genre stars. The aforementioned Don The Dragon Wilson, Lou Ferrigno, and Michael Biehn cameos are cheesy fun, but the cameo from M. Emmet Walsh is kind of a minor DTV classic. Keep expectations super, super low and enjoy the nonsense.

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