3 1/2 Stars
Toward the start of The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power — fourth and arguably best in the series that began with The Scorpion King in 2002 — Mathayus (Victor Webster) and his sidekick Drazen (Will Kemp) are orchestrating a plan to enter an unlucky king’s palace and steal a valuable artifact. The journey into the inner workings of the kingdom is difficult and laced with peril. Beefy guards stand watch and booby traps stand in the thieves’ way to their prize. The sequence is a mashing of the openings of both Desperado and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Buried within the sacred urn is the golden key of an ancient sorcerer, enriched with magical powers and capable of leading the controller to riches beyond imagination. Once in possession of the contents, Drazen double crosses Mathayus and frames him for the murder of the king of Norvania (Michael Biehn). Now, our hero must flee his imprisonment and team with a beautiful woman warrior (Ellen Hollman) and her wacky father (Barry Bostwick) to stop the evil Drazen from finding and unleashing a mythical power.
Part of the ongoing fun of the film is in spotting a familiar face in virtually every scene. From actor to athletes, nearly each new sequence features a celebrity personality. This could make for a very dangerous drinking game in some circles of viewership.
In a film that is sure to blast open the gates on a slew of follow-up installments,everything’s in a hurry; the film’s makers know that action is the one essential in this series, and they waste no time getting into the goods. The producers also seem to realize that style and story execution are far more integral than scripting; and that the second unit needs to be quality in order to bring the sword fights and battles to life.
Honestly, that’s appreciated. Throughout the film’s 100-plus-minute running time, the energy rarely lags and busy plotting contains enough moments of excitement to entertain throughout.The movie is full of moments of low genius. That’s why the young-male audience, which it unabashedly courts, will lap it up in droves.
Director: Mike Elliott
Stars: Victor Webster, Will Kemp, Ellen Hollman