Matthias, The Scorpion King, is living a quiet life as a blacksmith in a small town. When King Nebserek finds a cursed sword, he uses it to plunder the land and enslave its people. His henchmen capture Matthias, but he is then freed by the Nubian Princess Tala. She is on a quest to find The Book of Souls, the only way to defeat Nebserek and the sword. Their journey takes a few unexpected turns but eventually, The Scorpion King must face the evil king and bring peace back to the land.
2018, Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 42 mins
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Zach McGowan, Pearl Thusi, Nathan Jones
Directed by Don Michael Paul
Sex: Some sensuality
Ever since a crude CGI version of The Rock crawled along the ceiling in The Mummy Returns, we have been treated to a parade of franchise films based on The Scorpion King. Most of them have been released directly to video like this current installment. As action flicks, they are entertaining to watch with a few friends and a lot of popcorn. As cinema, the storyline is thin and derivative at best. And The Book of Souls proves that stuntmen and MMA fighters are not good actors. Only the principals manage to convince us we’re watching events in ancient Egypt. This disc is certainly worth a rental, but I doubt many viewers would choose it for repeat viewings.
The image is rife with vivid natural color and good contrast. Detail is a bit soft throughout, as though it were shot on 16mm film. Fight scenes are presented with a bit of blur which keeps things intense without a lot of extra violence or gore. A few slow-motion shots help punctuate the action.
Audio is encoded at an extreme volume. At my default listening level, a few scenes even tickled the underside of distortion. Backing off the volume knob a few clicks helped clean things up. Bass and surround effects are excellent, but dialog is recessed and poorly defined. The actor’s occasional mumbling did not make things any better. Most of The Scorpion King’s dialog is over-dubbed and I saw instances where the lip sync was off.
There are no bonus features with this release. My package included both Blu-ray and DVD copies of the film plus a digital download code.