Movie News: Scorpion King 3 – why??

Ok, now I love cheesy fantasy and science fiction occasionally, but this seems like a really bad idea…

Did I sleep through the sequel to the original (and horrible) movie The Scorpion King?

And why would Ron Perlman or Billy Zane get involved? Don’t they have careers to consider??

–Fitz

The Scorpion King
Image via Wikipedia

FROM THE PRODUCERS OF “THE MUMMY” COMES AN ALL-NEW ACTION-PACKED ADVENTURE

THE SCORPION KING 3 BEGINS PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY IN THAILAND

Ron Perlman, Victor Webster and Billy Zane Star in the Newest, Action-Filled Fantasy Epic Exclusive to Universal’s DVD Originals™ Line

Universal City, California, December 2, 2010– A legendary hero returns to fight his most fearsome adversary as an all-new adventure unfolds in The Scorpion King 3, now shooting in Thailand. Steeped in intrigue, sorcery and romance and featuring more of the spectacular action, mindboggling stunts and astonishing plot twists that have made The Scorpion King franchise an outstanding addition to Universal Studios Home Entertainment‘s groundbreaking DVD Originals™ line, The Scorpion King 3 is slated for release on DVD in early 2012.

Picking up where The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior left off, The Scorpion King 3 continues the story of Mathayus, now the deposed leader of an ancient desert empire, as he faces the most terrifying challenge of his life. The film, which began shooting on October 29 in and around Bangkok, introduces an all new cast featuring Victor Webster (“Melrose Place,” Surrogates) as Mathayus; Ron Perlman (“Sons of Anarchy,” Hellboy 1 and 2) as Horus, the powerful King of Egypt; Billy Zane (“Samantha Who?,” Titanic) as the conniving King Talus; UFC star Kimbo Slice as Zulu Kondo; Bostin Christopher as Mathayus’ comrade-in-arms Olaf (Unbreakable); WWE champion Dave Bautista as Agromael; Selina Lo (28 Weeks Later) as Tsukai; Krystal Vee (Streetfighter: The Legend of Chin-Li) as the beautiful princess Silda and Temuera Morrison (Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith) as the ill-fated King Ramusan.

The Scorpion King 3 raises the bar for DVD Originals, encompassing the most stunning action, visual effects and production values to date, including a cast of over 400 warriors and elephants,” said Glenn Ross, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Universal Home Entertainment Productions. “The Scorpion King saga, with its compelling characters, engaging storyline and non-stop action, is a perfect complement to Universal’s hugely popular and successful DVD
Originals offerings.”

The Scorpion King 3 is directed by Roel Reine (Death Race 2). Leslie Belzberg (Crazy Heart) is the producer along with executive producers Stephen Sommers, Sean Daniel, Jim Jacks and Kevin Misher. The film’s production team includes director of photography Roel Reine, production designers Kuladee ‘Gai’ Suchatanun and Patrix ‘Pae’ Meesaiyaat and editors Radu Ion and Matthew Friedman.

As The Scorpion King 3 begins, Mathayus has lost his beloved queen and been driven from his former kingdom by a virulent plague. Now, an assassin for hire, Mathayus is dispatched by Horus, the King of Egypt, to protect his ally King Ramusan from imminent attack. In return for his services, he is promised Ramusan’s daughter Silda in marriage, as well as the legendary Eye of the Gods medallion, which imparts supernatural powers to its wearer. But to collect the reward, he will have to first rescue the princess, who is being held captive by Talus, the scheming brother of Horus. Mathayus agrees to the perilous mission, but the evil that lies in wait for him will challenge even his cunning and strength in a staggering test of courage unlike any he has faced before.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment is a unit of Universal Pictures, a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is a part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and Entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi.

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DVD Review: Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassin’s Ball

Hi all…

Back in 2006, the movie Smokin’ Aces introduced us to a world of very unique assassins. In it, wanna-be mobster and magician Buddy “Aces” Israel (Jeremy Piven) decides he can run his own mob, which doesn’t sit well with his former mob ties. They put a million dollar contract on “Aces”, who squeals to the FBI to get their protection.

Every hit man or woman willing to take the contract shows up at the casino in Lake Tahoe where the FBI has “Aces” for safekeeping, which causes immediate carnage.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t like the original, even with the amazing cast. Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Wayne Newton, Piven, Ben Affleck, Peter Berg, Andy Garcia, Alicia Keys, Chris Pine… the list goes on. But I found the story to be a total mess even with all the unique characters.

Now in 2010, we have Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassin’s Ball. This time, I thought there was a framework and a story I could wrap my head around.

Walter Weed (Tom Berenger) is a mid-level FBI analyst nearing retirement who suddenly has a three million dollar contract on his life. When the FBI gets wind of the contract, they put him under protective custody while they try to figure out why this guy is the target.

There were a few familiar actors, such as Tommy Flanagan as hit man Lazlo Soot, Ernie Hudson as FBI agent Anthony Vejar, and Vinnie Jones as assassin Finbar McTeague. But I was largely unfamiliar with the cast. That didn’t stop me from enjoying this intriguing movie.

Where the first film failed to capture my interest with its frenetic action, Smokin’ Aces 2 managed to present a unique set of characters while keeping the plot and story relatively linear with a satsifying ending.

The bizarre array of assassins, each with his or her own unique signature traits. Lazlo Soot with his penchant for taking molds of his victims’ faces so he can later use them as masks. Finbar McTeague with his love of power tools and torture techniques. The beautiful and deadly Ariella Martinez (Martha Higareda) with her knowledge of poisons. And the family of crazies who strap bombs onto midget clowns fired from a cannon… Did I mention they were crazy?

When you add the great story about Weed and the detailed underground vault in Chicago where the FBI team attempts to keep him safe, there are many levels to this movie to keep you entertained. As the team escorts Weed into the vault, I couldn’t help but think of the many episodes of Cities of the Underworld where they explore hidden realms beneath the ground.

The gun battle in the jazz club was also more realistic than many others I’ve seen in other films. Real-life gun battles are often brutish, short, and bloody events. And when you have as many guns being fired as were in the club, things get messy quickly.

The DVD includes many interesting extras in addition to the rated and unrated versions of the film.

Most of the available deleted scenes found their way into the unrated version but the gag reel was less than exciting. A few laughs, but not much more.

However, the rest of the features presented some interesting points of view about the film:

  • “Behind the Scenes with Joe Carnahan” allows executive producer Joe Carnahan, producer Mike Elliott, writers Olatunde Osunsanmi and Olumide Odebunmi, and director P.J. Pesce to talk about the world of Smokin’ Aces and some of their thoughts about the film.
  • “Confessions of an Assassin” lets director Pesce and much of the cast explore how the movie was made – blood, guts, bullets, and all.
  • “Ready, Aim, Fire: The Weapons of Smokin’ Aces 2” introduces you to the armorer who provided the 20+ guns and other weapons in the film.
  • “Cue the Clown” – easily my favorite feature on the DVD – walks you through the process of launching exploding clowns through the front door and windows of the jazz club – one of the most expensive stunts in the movie.
  • “The Bunker Mentality: Designing the Set” lets production designer Chris August, along with Pesce and Carnahan, talk about the open design they used to give them freedom to shoot nearly everywhere and the Art Deco look and feel used throughout.

Also included was feature commentary from Pesce and Carnahan.

Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassin’s Ball was a solid spy thriller with some serious carnage. Definitely a much better film than the original! Be sure to check it out when it’s released from Universal Studios on DVD January 19th, 2010.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this movie and others from Amazon!

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