20th Mar2015

‘The Scorpion King 4: Quest For Power’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Victor Webster, Lou Ferrigno, Michael Biehn, M. Emmet Walsh, Esmé Bianco, Barry Bostwick, Roy “Big Country” Nelson, Royce Gracie, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Ellen Holman, Rutger Hauer | Written by Michael D. Weiss | Directed by Mike Eliott

scorpion-king-4

You know you’re in trouble with a direct to DVD movie when the writer has a resume whose titles are made up of over 50% direct to DVD sequels to films that a) didn’t deserve a sequel or, even worse, b) didn’t need a sequel. Yes, from the pen of Michael Weiss – who has written such lauded films as Octopus 2, I Always Know What You Did Last Summer, The Butterfly Effect 2 and Hostel III – comes The Scorpion King 4. A film that is, given just how truly terrible the last film was (a shock given the great DTV credits of its director Roel Reine), truly unexpected… After all, when all you can remember about the previous film is the conspicuous appearance of a CCTV camera on the side of a supposed ancient castle, you don’t expect anyone to give a damn about producing a fourth film!

The Scorpion King 4: Quest For Power has, even for this franchise, the wafer-thinnest of plots. Essentially our hero Mathayus, once again played by a returning Victor Webster, is framed or the assassination of the king of Norvania is assassinated, making him a wanted man. And much like all the other films in this franchise, Mathayus teams up with some unlikely allies – in this case a mysterious woman (Esmé Bianco) and her unconventional father (Barry Bostwick), whose primitive science may hold the key stopping the evil heir to the throne who betrayed Mathayus and framed him for murder… Yes it’s not a great plot but hey, at least this time the film has a better cast, even if said cast are wasted in their respective roles!

To be honest, there’s nothing less appealing to me, cinematically, than yet another Scorpion King movie (OK maybe there is but lets stick with that statement for dramatic, if overblown, effect). But then they had to add Don “The Dragon” Wilson to the cast didn’t they? The one man who can make me watch ANY movie, just to see him bust out some martial arts moves. No matter how small the role; and this role is VERY small. It’s the very epitome of “blink and you’ll miss it”. As are a lot of the “named” cast roles. Although Lou Ferrigno makes for a pretty badass opponent for Mathayus, bringing more kudos to his brief role than he ever did to the sword and sandal epics he starred in during the 80s.

This time round it seems that the cast and crew have actually realised just how truly ridiculous the concept of The Scorpion King movies are and have, at least on this occasion, played up the camper aspects of the film – making The Scorpion King 4 more like an extended episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys or Xena Warrior Princess. And to be fair, Victor Webster – at least in this film – seems to be having the same fun Kevin Sorbo did on Hercules, bringing a cheeky all-knowing “wink” to his performance as Mathayus. Who, it seems, has become less a legendary warrior and more of an everyman Indiana Jones-esque hero, often trading witty barbs as much as he trades blows.

It’s fair to say I enjoyed this outing of The Scorpion King far more than the last. The decision to trade the po-faced action of the previous films with more light-hearted fun has paid off in spades; giving the audience something more akin to the fun of The Rock’s original film – on about a fifth of the budget of course! I can’t believe I’m about to write this but… I was pleasantly surprised by The Scorpion King 4: Quest For Power and if this is the direction they’re taking the series in from now on, I’ll happily keep watching.

The Scorpion King 4: Quest For Power is released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 23rd, courtesty of Universal.

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  • Nerdly » ‘Avengers Grimm’ Review says:

    […] Avengers Grimm is a lof of fun, but it’s also not without its problems. For one the performances of the ass-kicking heroines varies wildly. Lauren Parkinson, as Snow White, and Marah Fairclough, as Sleeping Beauty, both are unconvincing as the fairy tale heroines whilst Team Unicorn members Milynn Sarley and Rileah Vanderbilt, as Cinderella and Rapunzel respectively, really shine – even when going head to head with scenery chewing “big-name” actors (The Asylum always know that names sell, no matter the film) Lou Ferrigno and Casper Van Dien. Interestingly Ferrigno gives another great, scene-stealing performance – he’s now two for two with this and his other recent role in The Scorpion King 4. […]