The Scorpion King (2002)

scorpion king poster 2002 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 6/10

Introduces Dwayne Johnson as a leading man

Forgettable story and main villain

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Scorpion King

Studio:  WWE Studios

Genre(s):  Acton/Adventure

Release Date(s):  April 19, 2002

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Ants…why did it have to be ants?

Mathayus (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is a mercenary who has been hired to assassinate the mystic of the ruler Memnon (Steven Brand) .  When Mathayus discovers the mystic is a woman named Cassandra (Kelly Hu), Mathayus finds he cannot do it.  Mathayus is thrust into the middle of a battle to free Egypt from Memnon and to rescue Cassandra.  Teaming with Balthazar (Michael Clarke Duncan), Mathayus will rise and become the Scorpion King!

Directed by Chuck Russell, The Scorpion King is a spin-off of the popular Mummy franchise and features the character that first appeared in The Mummy Returns in 2001.  The film was met by largely average to negative reviews.



While many hated The Mummy Returns, I kind of enjoyed aspects of the film more than the original Mummy.  One high point was the introduction of “The Rock” as the action star of tomorrow (it was backed by WWE Studios).  With Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and all the old action guard growing older, I looked forward to the next generation of action stars.  Unfortunately, the script of The Scorpion King gets in the way of this happening.

While The Mummy films were filled with jokes and fun (too much so), this film takes a more serious tone…but then occasionally decides to throw a joke in which feels out of place.  The story trudges through raid after raid (first will infiltrate a camp, then we’ll infiltrate a city, etc., etc.), and it takes far too long for anything to happen…then a joke is thrown in and negates the action completely.


Mathayus…you bring me to the nicest poorly lit sound stages ever!!!

Dwayne Johnson tries with this movie, but struggles to find the tone of the film.  It is too bad because he has the look of an Arnold Schwarzenegger, but potentially great acting ability…but we’re not allowed to know here.  He is backed up by a rather blase cast and is lacking a really strong villain (Memnon just doesn’t cut it).

The film actually looks decent.  There aren’t a ton of special effects and fortunately we don’t see the awful Scorpion King monster of The Mummy Returns.  Here the acting is more physical and it is more of a traditional swashbuckling film.  It does help play to Johnson’s strengths and is one advantage of the script.

The Scorpion King mostly will go down as the first leading role for Dwayne Johnson.  He does a decent enough job in this film, but as the years have gone by, he has never really found his script.  I do like “The Rock”, and I wish he would find a really good adult action film…Unfortunately, The Scorpion King wasn’t it.  The Scorpion King was followed by a straight-to-DVD prequel The Scorpion King 2:  Rise of a Warrior in 2008.

Related Links:

The Mummy (1999)

The Mummy Returns (2001)

The Mummy:  Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

The Scorpion King 2:  Rise of a Warrior (2008)

The Scorpion King 3:  Battle for Redemption (2012)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response