The Brendan Fraser Mummy franchise is dead, but it’s legacy lives on in the spinoff, The Scorpion King, and it’s 4 direct-to-DVD sequels. Seriously, the fifth one came out two years ago. Having a spinoff of The Mummy Returns does make some sense as Mr. The Rock was only in that movie for about 4 minutes, and then sort of again at the end when his poorly rendered face is on the big scorpion monster. I mean, you got a popular wrestler before he became a big time movie star, and you barely feature him? No no no, he’s got to have a film all his own!
In the time before the pyramids (keeping with The Mummy Returns‘ timeline, sometime before 3067 BCE), we meet the Rock as… well, we find out 12 minutes in that his name is Mathayus. He and his brethren–the last of the Akkadians, a real people whose empire hadn’t been founded by 3000 BCE–are hired to kill the Sorceress that ensures that the tyrant king Memnon (Steven Brand, AKA Alexander Anderson from the English dub of Hellsing) is undefeated in battle. Mathayus is betrayed by Takmet (Peter Facinelli, AKA Dr. Carlisle Cullen from Twilight), and his brethren are killed. I’m sure they had names listed in the credits. Anyway, the sorceress Cassandra (Kelly Hu, AKA Lady Deathstrike from X2, whose character was so pointless I completely forgot about her in that post) keeps him alive long enough that he could team up with a lame comedic sidekick and escape. Then there’s a child sidekick who is nearly pointless, then briefly a scientist sidekick, and after some hijinks, Mathayus escapes with the Sorceress. They encounter some rebels, including Michael Clarke Duncan (Michael Clarke Duncan, AKA Michael Clarke Duncan), and together they all come up with a plan to defeat Memnon. A coordinated attack ends with Mathayus defying the Sorceress’ vision that he would die, and Memnon is thrown off the top of his castle while it also explodes. Mathayus is now the Scorpion King, commanding Memnon’s army.
This is an… interesting movie. We have a few scenes after Cassandra has escaped that show Memnon’s troops feel uncomfortable that she’s missing, with one guy even saying she’s “a symbol from which the men derive courage.” But when the final battle starts and Memnon orders his men to kill her, they have no hesitation. Also the whole “she loses her powers after she’s had sex” thing is weird, even if it’s revealed to be a fake out.
And then there’s the Scorpion King himself. He was the villain of The Mummy Returns, someone so threatening that even Imhotep is worried about his resurrection. But here he would sacrifice a chance to kill Memnon in order to save a street urchin. I hope that the other 4 movies explain how he goes from a hero of the people to someone who would sell his soul to Anubis to kill his enemies, but I’m not holding my breath.
MUMMY FUN FACT! This film is based on a true story! Sort of! King Scorpion I was an Egyptian ruler before the age of pharaohs. Evidence of his existence was discovered in 1995, showing that he became ruler after defeating the previous king. It’s no coincidence that that’s also the plot of this film.
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