Making the Grades
In an era of prequels, it's no surprise filmmakers jumped at the success of Dwayne Johnson's (pro wrestling's "The Rock") brief appearance in The Mummy Returns and gave him a chance to star in a movie of his own. Traveling back centuries, The Scorpion King tells the story of Mathayus, an Akkadian assassin, who becomes ruler of an ancient army.
Around 3000 BC, the world is controlled by the bloodthirsty Memnon (Steven Brand), aided by a sorceress (Kelly Hu) who can see the future and assure his success before he even steps on the battlefield. His swath of destruction is nearly complete until a few scattered clans form a union. In a desperate effort to oust the ruthless tyrant, the tribal leaders hire Mathayus and his brother to take out the seer and end the premonitions.
Armed with more weaponry than an entire regiment, the skilled killer cuts his way through the enemy's camp and into the clairvoyant's tent. But Cassandra's stunning beauty (or lack of adequate clothing) causes him a moment's hesitation and things go bad from there. Escaping with the girl, Mathayus heads back to his desert dwelling with the army on his heels.
Like the films in the Mummy series, The Scorpion King has countless victims killed by stabbing, hanging, slashing and shooting -- although blood is minimal. Flesh-eating ants, poisonous snakes, and pits of quicksand round out the death tactics. While the body paint made famous in the other movies is replaced with fabric, there still isn't an abundance of yardage. Minimally attired females, including a class of women warriors, use creatively placed bikini tops, strands of hair, and their arms to barely stay within PG-13 standards.
Banking on the success of the previous films and the popularity of the World Wrestling Federation hero, this movie touts the importance of determining your own destiny, an objective The Rock may have had in mind when making the move into the acting industry. However, even his bronzed biceps and trademark eyebrow can't keep this action-packed adventure from getting tangled in the ropes when it comes to family viewing.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Scorpion King.
Memnon claims he is trying to establish an era of peace, but his tactics are harsh and violent (think of the soldier who showed fear). Does a lack of dissidents equal real peace? Can you think of other historical leaders who have ruled with the same brutality? Do you think their people felt at ease under their leadership?
While Memnon and his army rely on the premonitions of Cassandra to ensure their success, Mathayus believes that he can determine his own future. Do you believe in an unavoidable fate or do you think the decisions you make affect what happens to you?