THE SCORPION KING 3: BATTLE FOR REDEMPTION
With The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption, Mummy series director Stephen Sommers is still present in a producing capacity, while direction has been turned over to Roel Reiné. Roel Reiné began making films with an action bent in the Netherlands and entered genre material with his third effort Drifter (2008), going onto the other genre likes of Deadwater (2008), The Lost Tribe (2010) and Dead in Tombstone (2013), before gaining a higher profile with another franchise spinoff Death Race 2 (2010) and its sequel Death Race 3: Inferno (2012), as well as other sequels like The Condemned 2 (2015), The Man with the Iron Fists 2 (2015) and Hard Target 2 (2016).
You sit down to watch The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption expecting no more than disposable fantasy material and are largely proven right. The first half-hour or more grates badly. Canadian tae kwon do champion Victor Webster does reasonably well in the title role. He has an undeniable presence and treats the role seriously for the most part. Unfortunately, the script is determined to outfit him with a series of grating Schwarzenegger-esque one-liners. Webster and Bostin Christopher are paired as an action buddy duo who are constantly trading insults and banter. Whenever the two of them are together in the early scenes, everything is constantly underscored by an irritating barrage of quips and jarring modern colloquialisms make mine medium rare, crime doesnt pay. The other major minus of the film is Billy Zane who is in characteristic over-acting mode and gives a thoroughly awful, campy performance where he plays to the gallery and takes none of the show seriously at all.
Where The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption does work well is when Roel Reiné gets to the action. The film is especially good when it comes to the scenes of dozens of black-clad ninjas leaping around in combat. We get some decent battle scenes the lower cost of location shooting in Thailand allows the employment of plentiful extras, meaning that these scenes have the authenticity of real people on a battlefield rather than visions of CGI massed extras that have dominated historical films of recent years see Alexander (2004), Troy (2004) and Kingdom of Heaven (2005). The other benefit from the Thai shooting is in its being able to use some of the Khmer temples as locations, while the battle scenes are even able to wind elephants in as part of the action. It is these aspects that make Battle for Redemption the best of the Scorpion King films so far even if the substandard and hackneyed plotting never allows it to rise to anything more than a strictly average effort overall.
Victor Webster returned to the series in the subsequent The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power/The Scorpion King: The Lost Throne (2015).