(2002)2Josh RalskeExpectations weren't very high for The Scorpion King, a prequel/spin-off of The Mummy Returns, but it still disappoints. The Scorpion King relies on extensive fight scenes rather than the elaborate CGI effects of The Mummy films. This seems appropriate enough, as the film is the first star vehicle for professional wrestler The Rock. With his ethnically ambiguous good looks and his chiseled physique, The Rock is well-suited to star in this physically demanding role. As an actor, he comports himself efficiently, though naturally he's given extremely little to do beyond swing his massive arms around and look mean. Director Chuck Russell (who also directed the Jim Carrey vehicle, The Mask), gives the film a certain shabby B-movie charm. But Scorpion King was clearly designed to maximize its box-office potential by avoiding an R rating, so while it's extremely violent, there's surprisingly little blood. Unfortunately, this bloodlessness detracts from the visceral impact of all the death and destruction on display, and drains some of the life from the film. The script, meanwhile, is a silly collection of sword and sorcery clichés, interspersed with groan-inducing comic relief. The most amusing moment in the film comes early. The brother of Mathayus (The Rock) is about to be killed while a large group of warriors and their harem girls look on. The Rock makes his grand entrance, busting into the room, and a hush comes over the onlookers as they gape at him. Before hacking and slashing his way through the crowd, he breaks the silence by quietly saying, "Boo." This anachronistically goofy line sets the tone for all of the film's forced humor. The story doesn't do much to sustain interest, and all the swordplay eventually gets tedious. What could have been cheesy dumb fun is mostly just cheesy and dumb.