THE SCORPION KING 3: BATTLE FOR REDEMPTION
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me whether I rate direct-to-video movies on the same scale as I do theatrical releases. My honest answer is no, simply because when a movie goes straight to video, there’s an understanding about its quality. Similarly, when I have a chance to review one of The Asylum’s movies, which are notorious for being low-rent rip-offs of bigger films, I’m not expecting the best that Hollywood can offer.
Sometimes I am surprised at a direct-to-video release. This can occur with an independent film which was picked up and passed through the Dimension Films meat grinder (such as “Cypher,” a great little indie flick from Vincenzo Natali that Dimension buried after acquiring it). Others can be set for theatrical releases but never get one (such as the delightful genre homage “Trick or Treat” or New Line Cinema’s “Amusement”). But these are the exceptions to the rule.
It is less common to find a movie that was made strictly for a direct-to-video audience that is in essence a lame movie but for some reason I find really enjoyable. “The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption” is one of those movies. It has every element you’d expect from a Uwe Boll film, including Ron Perlman and Billy Zane as stars in a sword-and-sandal non-epic. However, for all the warts it has, “The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption” is surprisingly fun.
With Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson long gone from the franchise, UFC star Dave Bautista steps in as Mathayus, the titular character. With his kingdom fallen, Mathayus becomes an assassin for hire, agreeing to find a missing heir and overthrow an evil tyrant.
This is hardly award-winning material here, and there are tons of problems with it. But beyond the laugh-out-loud bad acting of Bautista and the B-list stars whose names grace the cover box, it’s a fun movie. Films like these are less about depth of character and more about delivering a fun action experience. And here’s where the film actually shines.
Sure, the wannabe “Braveheart” battle moments are clearly staged with a couple dozen soldiers shot in a creative fashion, but these scenes also include battle elephants and honest-to-god trebuchets launching fireballs a hundred yards away. It is this bizarre inclusion of impressive action that really sold the movie for me.
Additionally, the characters were entertaining and funny enough, even if they were a bit two-dimensional. But after seeing plenty of movies and television series this year which expected you to cheer for awful, horrible people, it’s a welcome refreshment.
“The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption” comes with a bonus DVD and Digital Copy disc, along with pocketBLU access. Special features include deleted and extended scenes, a deleted shot montage, a gag reel, a making-of featurette, commentary track, D-Box Motion and the featurette “Preparing for Battle.”