BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Scorpion King 3 & In the Name of the King 2
Two straight-to-video sequels hit hi-def home video...
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When it comes to medieval, sci-fi, or fantasy movies, there always seems to be room for a sequel or two...or even three sometimes. Thus, it's not surprising to find another new Mummy sequel with the recent release of The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption. Likewise, it's not surprising to find yet another Uwe Boll straight-to-video movie based on a video game with the release of In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds. While neither movie will be mistaken for a blockbuster (of any kind!), there's no doubt fans of medieval B-movies featuring scantily clad women and overly muscled men will at least appreciate what's happening here...even if it makes little or no sense.
Let's be honest, neither of these movies is going to attract new viewers to their franchise. If you enjoyed 1999's The Mummy or 2001's The Mummy Returns, you may have seen 2002's The Scorpion King in theaters. Staring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at the beginning of his Hollywood career, when he was known more for his muscles than his acting, the film had a solid budget of $60,000,000 and grossed over $160,000,000. Obviously sequel-worthy, right? Enter 2010's Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior and 2011's Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption - neither featuring the original film's star nor the original's production value.
The same can be said for In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds. While I'm not a fan of Uwe Boll, I still went and saw 2005's In the Name of the King because - let's be honest - it featured Jason Statham in the lead as he kicked, flipped, and punched his way to victory as main character Farmer...which, I kid you not, was both his name and his job in the movie. Now, six years later, Boll is back and better (and by better, I mean worse) than ever with this new Dungeon Siege movie that has little - if anything - to do with the role playing video game.
Considering these straight-to-video sequels have little going for them, it's at least entertaining to see a who's who cast of yesteryear movie and current TV actors - including Billy Zane, Victor Webster, Ron Perlman, Temuera Morrison, Dave Bautista, Kimbo Slice, and Dolph Lundgren - filling the lead roles in both of these movies. Dressed for their parts as medieval warriors and looking more like video game characters than any actual historic fighter, both movies feature shallow acting with little to no real substance. Of course, neither of the screenplays nor stories are that spectacular either. And, as previously mentioned, the production values here are a fraction of what the original films were, giving the movie makers less to work with on these straight-to-video sequels.
As for video quality, both look like what they are: straight-to-video money makers. Neither has any major issues, but there's nothing really here that's that impress either. Same goes for the the audio. While there's nothing majorly wrong, neither is overly impressive; both soundtracks simply do what they are intended to do and delivery the roaring sound effects, dialogue, and score to those watching.
As for special features, Scorpion King 3 at least a decent amount, with a director's commentary, a 13-minute "Swords and Scorpions" and a 6-minute "Preparing for Battle" featurette which focus on the film's production and action/fight sequences. Six deleted and extended scenes are included as are 4 minutes of deleted shots and a 2 minute gag reel. As for In the Name of the King 2, two audio commentaries are included; one with Uwe Boll and a second with writer Michael Nachoff. A 6 1/2 minute "Behind the Scenes" making-of featurette which shows - you guessed it! - behind the scenes video. Lastly, a 5-minute "From Page to Screen" featurette includes writer Michael Nachoff chatting about making the fantasy movie with a modern twist.
All in all, neither of these movies is terrible. If you're a fan of the genre, you may even find these films mildly entertaining. After all, you don't often see a former UFC fighter and a WWE wrestler pick up swords and war hammers to fight. Of course, neither of these movies is all that great either. In fact, neither of these movies are really that good. For most movie watchers, the only time these movies will ever see play is if, on a random Friday night, when you has nothing else to do, the re-runs of your favorite show aren't on, your Netflix streaming isn't working, and Hulu has yet to update with the week's new shows, you pop one of these in and zone completely out for 2 hours.
The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption and In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds are both available now wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley