Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption, The (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 9-Feb-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Adventure Audio Commentary-Director Roel Reine
Deleted Scenes-x 6
Deleted Scenes-Montage of deleted scenes
Featurette-Gag Reel
Featurette-Making Of-Swords and Scorpions
Featurette-Making Of-Preparing for Battle
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 105:17
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Roel Reiné
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Dave Bautista
Bostin Christopher
Tanapol Chuksrida
Kevin 'Kimbo Slice' Ferguson
Geoffrey Giuliano
J.D. Hall
Johann Helf
Stephane Lambert
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Trevor Morris


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
German dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
French dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Italian dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Japanese dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Hindi dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
Danish
German
Icelandic
Italian
Dutch
Norwegian
Portuguese
Finnish
Swedish
Mandarin
Hindi
Korean
Japanese
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Mathayus, the Scorpion King (Victor Webster), has lost his queen and his kingdom and is again a sword for hire, a mercenary. King Horus (Ron Perlman) asks Mathayus to travel to the Asian kingdom of his ally King Ramusan (Temuera Morrison), which is under attack by Horus’ younger brother Talus (Billy Zane), while Horus gathers his army. Mathayus is teamed with Olaf (Bostin Christopher) as a travelling companion and while the two are initially antagonistic there are no prizes for guessing they will soon become firm friends. They arrive at the city of Ramusan in time to help him repulse an attack by Talus’ forces. Ramusan is possessor of the Book of the Dead, a book that can unleash evil undead forces. The book must, however, be used in conjunction with an amulet that is currently in the possession of Talus. Indeed, Talus has also captured Ramusan’s daughter Silda (Krystal Vee). Also nearby in the jungle are the ninja forces of the mysterious Cobra, who seems up to no good.

     Mathayus and Olaf set out to rescue Silda from Talus’ camp, reaching it as a battle commences between the armies of Talus and Ramusan. However the ninjas of Cobra get to Silda first and she is taken into the jungle with Mathayus and Olaf in pursuit. They find the camp of Cobra, but get a surprise; Silda and Cobra are in fact the same person. Meanwhile, Talus successfully storms Ramusan’s city and captures the Book of the Dead, using it to raise ghost warriors Zulu Kondo (Kevin ‘Kimbo Slice’ Ferguson), Tsukai (Selina Lo) and Argomael (Dave Bautista) to do his bidding. He sends Zulu Kondo and Tsukai to destroy Cobra and recapture Silda and it is up to Mathayus and Olaf to come up with a strategy to defeat the ghost warriors, destroy Talus, recover the Book of the Dead and save Ramusan’s kingdom.

     The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption is not a good film. Victor Webster as Mathayus is not too bad. He has a good physical presence and a knowing twinkle in his eye that is quite charming, although his acting is very wooden. Krystal Vee is OK and looks stunning in a variety of skimpy costumes. She also engages in perhaps the film’s most interesting fight, a girl against girl scene with swords with an equally skimpily clad, blonde wigged, Selina Lo. From there however, things go downhill. Ron Perlman can add gravitas to films but here he is limited to scowls and a bit of shouting, not that he is in the picture much anyway. Worse is Billy Zane. Some critics have suggested he is so bad he is good, but he’s not. He is just over the top bad, with hammy gestures, a smirk and dialogue that is supposed to be amusing but isn’t. A decent villain can be smarmy, or evil, or terrifying, or charming with a black soul; Zane’s Talus is simply annoying.

     The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption thinks it is funny, but the dialogue and banter is just silly, especially the exchanges between Mathayus and Olaf, who plays the “comic” sidekick role with plenty of bleaches. The script pulls in elements from everywhere, in the same way as the costumes come from everywhere. For a film supposedly set around 4,000 BC (as the director confirms in his commentary), we have troops who seem to be costumed as Greeks and Romans, plus ninjas, war elephants and trebuchets, those huge sling shot weapons with counterweights seen in Kingdom of Heaven, for example (not to mention Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King!) that were not invented until the 11th Century AD.

     However, The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption is just a film, so one would not be too critical of such things if the battle sequences actually worked. But they don’t; they lack any dynamic force despite having real elephants, ninjas and lots of extras running around shouting and waving spears. The budget was a certainly a factor: in his commentary the director confirms there was no time to rehearse and he had only 12 extras with any fighting skills, so he shot the fight scenes like a music video! The result is a static battle with people mostly standing around waving weapons in the general direction of each other.

     The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption is not the worst film around and is watchable for the music of Trevor Morris (The Tudors (2007), Immortals (2011)), which is suitably dramatic, the beautiful looking Thai locations including genuine temple complexes, and a couple of the one on one fights.

     The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption is a straight to video film, and a mess, for which one could blame Dutchman Roel Reine, who was both director and cinematographer, but I think the problems with the script, acting, dialogue and action go further than that. The Mummy / Scorpion King franchise films from Stephen Sommers and his producing partners were never meant to be high art, but with The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption the franchise reaches a new low.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original aspect ratio, in 1080p, using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The print is sharp and nicely detailed. Colours are natural, the jungles and temples of Thailand looking great. Skin tones are good, contrast and brightness consistent, blacks and shadow detail fine. There is a deal of ghosting with movement and aliasing, especially on the jungle greenery, but it is not too distracting. Otherwise artefacts were absent.

     Subtitles are available in a large range of European and Asian languages.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio track options are English DTS-HD MA 5.1 at 2469 Kbps, plus French, Italian, German, Spanish, Hindi and Japanese DTS 5.1 (at 768 Kbps).

     The English DTS- HD MA 5.1 is good. Dialogue is mostly clear and the surrounds constantly in action with music, crowd noises, the clunk of weapons, battle cries, jungle sounds and running water. The sub-woofer provides bass as appropriate without unbalancing the sound stage.

     The original score by Trevor Morris is interesting and dramatic.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Commentary: Director Roel Reine

     Director / DP Roel Reine is an enthusiastic salesman for his film and very proud of it. He chats non-stop about how the project came about, casting, shooting big fights on a miniscule budget and with limited time, using existing Thai temples, locations, working with real tigers, elephants, making a bloodless film to get an American PG-13 rating, using digital cameras and how he filmed certain scenes. As DP as well, this is interesting, including the one take fight. This commentary is probably more interesting than the film itself, although he thinks Zane is very funny; and if I had $1 for every time he says something or somebody was “incredible” I would be able to buy Blu-rays for the next ten years!

Deleted / Extended Scenes (12:58)

     These are mostly extended or alternative scenes, including alternative opening credits. Some of these also play in a box with the closing credits. The scenes are:

Deleted Shots Montage (4:13)

     A montage of scenes to dramatic music.

Gag Reel (2:11)

     Mistakes.

Swords and Scorpions: A Making of (13:16)

     Some behind the scenes and film footage plus interview sections with director Roel Reine and cast Victor Webster, Ron Perlman, Temuera Morrison, Billy Zane, Bostin Christopher, Krystal Vee, Selina Lo and Dave Bautista. They talk about the Thai locations, the casting, the continuation of the franchise and how wonderful everyone was.

Preparing for Battle (5:53)

     A companion to the last featurette concentrating upon the intentions for the fight scenes and the different styles of fighting. Again some behind the scenes and film footage and interviews from the same people as above but with Kevin ‘Kimbo Slice’ Ferguson added.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This is a Universal Blu-ray release that is basically the same worldwide, although other regions include a digital copy of the film.

Summary

     The Mummy / Scorpion King franchise films from Stephen Sommers and his producing partners were never meant to be high art, but with The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption the franchise reaches a new low.

     The Blu-ray looks and sounds good. Extras are not too bad.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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