3 StarsIf you do not recognize the name of the man behind the camera, Roel Reine, then you obviously aren’t a fan of upper echelon direct-to-DVD fare. This helmer from Holland has been relegated to projects for studios that typically are b-level follow-ups to theatrical release franchises. A look at the prolific director’s resumé revels as much; The Marine 2, Death Race 2, and now The Scorpion King 3. Without the involvement of Reine this film would be an utter bore, but due to his lively camera work and nuance for giving modest productions an oversized (and greatly appreciated) grandiose feel.
This latest entry of the spin-off that originated back in 2002 with the sequel to The Mummy (following this?), wisely disregard the lame misbegotten previous sequel and focuses picks up five years after the events of the original. Mathayus’ prophecy has come to pass, leading to the loss of his peaceful kingdom and the death of his beautiful Queen Cassandra. Distraught over the despair reaped on his subjects Mathayus’ believes his reign of nobility to be over. Now he works as a mercenary offering his violent rage for parcels of gold.
King Talus (Ron Pearlman) hires the Arcadian to stop his brother, a wayward ruler King Horus (Billy Zane hamming it up, as usual) from sacking a neighboring kingdom and protecting the sexual purity of kidnapped princess. Paired with a Scandinavian warrior, Olaf (Bostin Christopher) the duo set out to retrieve the girl and stop the evil conqueror, but things get out of hand when ninjas show up and take the princess of their own nefarious agenda.
As the plot description revels, The Scorpion King 3 is a frantic and throughly messy movie that is given style and grace by the inspired hand of Roel Reine and his fine casting choices, particularly Victor Webster in the lead and an ever entertaining Billy Zane as the antagonist. Mention must be made of the directorial choices that add to the exuberant tone of the picture, Reine employes an ever-moving camera that feels free and alive. this man shoot elephants marching in parade formation and warriors battling, like Scorsese shoots Goodfellas, with a ferocious intensity.
To say that this level of material is beneath this filmmaker is a vague insult. I would like to see him given the chance to work on a theatrical production from a major Hollywood studio. I’m sure he would do justice to The Expendables or Marvel Universe franchises. Yet, while he toils away on the direct-to-DVD circuit, I admit to being excited for each of his follow-up releases. Roel Reine is the most unheralded talent working today.
Director: Roel Reine
Stars: Victor Webster, Billy Zane, Ron Perlman