Title: The Scorpion King 4: The Quest for Power
HTS Overall Score:
“The Scorpion King” was a fun little prequel spawned off of the success of his portrayal in “The Mummy 2”. Neither movie was an incredible film, but Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made the role his own and does what he does best. Hit people in the face while looking good doing it. It was a cheese fest, but a fun cheese fest nonetheless, with some fun actors involved and lots of muscly goodness. Then the series took drastic turn for the worse with “The Scorpion King 2”, a prequel to a prequel of a sequel (say that 10 times fast) that showed young Mathayas when he was but a boy. “The Scorpion King 2” has to be one of the worst movies on the face of the planet and seriously was scared when I heard they were continuing the series. Instead of going with the young Mathayas they jumped forward many years, after the happenings of the first “Scorpion King” movie, making it a sequel of a prequel of a sequel (confused yet) and recast Dwayne Johnson with Victor Webster (who happens to be a decent actor in his own right) and breathed new life into the shaky series. Now don’t get me wrong, “The Scorpion King 3” was downright awful as well, but it was saved by the unplanned hysterics of Billy Zane who hammed it up so much that he had the entire audience laughing. Unintentional as it was, the humor saved the movie and let it just be a bad movie that was plain fun to lampoon. Now comes along a sequel, to a sequel, of a prequel, of a prequel, of a sequel (I’m having too much fun with this) that falls somewhere in the middle of the previous two movies. It’s not as soul crushing as “The Scorpion King 2”, but nowhere as unintentionally amusing as “The Scorpion King 3”, but instead tries a bit too hard to replicate that unintentional humor, intentionally.
Mathayas (Victor Webster) is back again, this time he’s hunting down Drazen (Will Kemp), a former comrade who has stolen the secret to a magical power that was once wielded by a king who dominated the world with said magic. Tracking him across the borders to Drazen’s home land, Mathayas is framed for the murder of his father and must escape with the help of a beautiful damsel in distress named Valina (Ellen Hollman). While escaping, Mathayas happens to retrieve said item he came for and has to use it to unlock the powers of the Alchemist as the only way of defeating Drazen and his crazed subjects. With the help of Valina’s inventor father, Sorrell (Barry Bostwick, who hams it up as a knock-off of Belle’s father from “Beauty and the Beast”), the trio must traverse through the kingdom, unlocking clues from the stolen artifact in a treasure hunt of epic proportions in order to track down the famed lost Palace of a long dead King of immense power.
The movie itself is just plain bad. I love bad cinema, and have plenty of bad movies in my collection that I love to death, but sometimes bad cinema is just that, bad. “Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power” revels in all the pitfalls (and some benefits) of a DTV movie, filled with dialogue that would shock a high school dropout, poor camerawork and cheap CGI to boot. Most of that was pretty understandable for a DTV release, but when even Victor Webster is sleep walking through the series you know something’s up. He’s always been an enjoyable B actor, but his work in “Continuum” elevated my esteem of his acting skills quite a bit and after just finishing up “Continuum Season 3” it’s a start contrast to seeing him here, dozing in his suit of armor.
While “The Scorpion King 3” was unintentionally hilarious due to Billy Zane eating up every bit of scenery that he could (the special features of the 3rd movie actually state that Billy Zane just started hamming it up and the director let him go with the flow), but here the director (or writers) tried to run with that and just filled the movie with cheap humor. Barry Bostwick runs around as a crazy inventor who talks to himself in bird noises and even mimics Belle’s father in “Beauty and the Beast” quite heroically. Then we have a cross dressing scene that makes Val Kilmer in “Willow” look absolutely feminine in comparison that went from bad to just plain worse. By the end of the movie the tongue in cheek humor go so bad that I felt like ramming my head through my own TV in an effort to get it to stop. The positive side is that there is a handful of solid fight scenes, albeit mixed in with all the other regular DTV fight scenes. The chick fight between Valina and Eva Torres (of WWE fame) was actually rather well done and certainly the highlight of the entire film. There as actually a ton of old fighters strewn throughout the film, with appearances by Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Royce Gracie, Antonio Silva, Eva Torres, and the list goes on. We even have a small cameo by both Michael Biehn and Lou Ferrigno (in all his speech impeded glory).
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, and some suggestive material
Well, you may not find much in the way of enjoyment from the movie itself, but “The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power” looks fantastic on Blu-ray. It’s a low budget work, but the image itself shows tons of detail and sparkles with color and a shiny veneer that digital photography will impart on a film. Colors are cheery and very natural, with plenty of natural lighting to light up the stage. The green countryside looks lush and inviting and the only real downside to the image is the cheap looking props and CGI monsters, but that is more a comment on the movie itself than the transfer. Blacks are appropriately inky, but do show some instances of washed out colors and the resulting lack of shadow detail in a few scenes. Overall an excellent looking image.
The audio is almost as good as the video, but the limited budget starts to show its cracks here as the movie isn’t as aggressive or as immersive as other similar films. The dialogue is quite good and doesn’t show any signs of poor mixing, but the front soundstage is still the most important feature of the film and the rears don’t get as much play as I would have liked. There’s still some good surround usage during the battle sequences and the score livens it up a bit, but it just didn’t feel as if I was in the center of the action.
• The Making Of: A Brand New World / Great Chemistry
• Gag Reel
• Feature Commentary with the Cast and Crew
“The Scorpion King 4” is just another DTV sword and sandal film that follows in the path of the last two before it. It’s a bad film, and one that knows it’s bad, but unfortunately can’t rise above it. I’d say skip it, but since it’s already been released on Netflix and you’re up for some punishment (at least be kind enough to yourself to make sure Alcohol is on the menu for the night), then you can give it a rental. The disc itself looks and sounds quite good, so if you’re a fan of the series, there’s no reason not to pick it up. My own personal recommendation for people who haven’t seen the two sequels….skip it.
Starring: Victor Webster, Ellen Hollman, Rutger Hauer, Michael Bienh
Directed By: Mike Elliot
Written By: Michael D. Weiss
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French DTS 5.1
Runtime: 105 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 13th 2015
Buy The Scorpion King 4: The Quest for Power On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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