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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Scorpion King: Quest for Power The Scorpion King
Quest for Power

Written by Michael D. Weiss
Directed by Mike Elliott
Released in 2014

Mathayus, now a mercenary working for King Zakkour, seeks the palace of the legendary Lord Alcaman, a sorcerer who is said to have once ruled the entire world.


Read the movie synopsis at Wikipedia


Didja Know?


This movie was made as a direct-to-video release in 2014 as The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power.


We are never given a year in which this story takes place. We do know it occurs some time after the events of Battle for Redemption and before the events of the prologue of The Mummy Returns, which specifically states the year 3067 BC. Oddly, in the audio commentary on the Blu-ray, director Mike Elliott makes a vague reference to the events taking place around 6000 BC; this does not correspond with the rise and fall of the Akkadian Empire as known in the real world.


Victor Webster returns to play Mathayus, whom he also portrayed in Battle for Redemption. He is probably best known as Detective Carlos Fonnegra on the 2012-2015 TV series Continuum.


The film has a number of winks and homages to previous sci-fi and fantasy films. I'll point these out as we go.


The role of King Zakkour of Al-Moraad is played by Rutger Hauer, a veteran of sci-fi and fantasy films.


The role of King Yannick is played by Michael Biehn, known for his genre roles, particularly as Kyle Reese in the first two Terminator films.


Didja Notice?


The three guards at the beginning of the film are all professional martial arts fighters: Royce Gracie, Roy "Big Country" Nelson, and Don "The Dragon" Wilson.


Drazen tells the three guards he is the victim of the Scorpion King, "the most hideous and deformed creature ever to roam the desert." Of course, this is just a joke and Mathayus still looks completely human, but the line may have been intended as a callback to the half-human/half-scorpion monster he will eventually become, as depicted in The Mummy Returns and Revenge of the Scorpion King.


At 1:46 on the Blu-ray, Mathayus sneaks up on the three guards and says, "Boo." This is a callback to The Scorpion King. (He also says it again during the showdown with Drazen near the end of the film.)


At 1:53 on the Blu-ray, Mathayus takes his opponent's sword from him during the melee by grabbing the blade with his hand...somehow without cutting his palm!


The fourth guard who comes out of a nearby tent to battle Mathayus and Drazen is played by Antônio Silva, another professional mixed martial artist. 


After entering the palace to retrieve the Urn of Kings, notice that Mathayus and Drazen are now wearing the guards' leather armor. The Urn of Kings appears to be a fictitious relic. It has ancient writing on it I've been unable to identify, though it looks like it may be based on a legitimate ancient script; anyone out there able to assist with an identification? Urn of Kings


When Mathayus finally acknowledges Drazen as his partner rather than just an apprentice, they exchange the salute, "Live free, die well." This was an Akkadian oath established in The Scorpion King.


The "hall of slicers" Mathayus and Drazen must pass through to reach the treasure room is reminiscent of the "chomper" corridor in GalaxyQuest.


Apparently, Mathayus and Drazen had a key to the treasure room, for they manage to open the gear mechanism of the lock on the double doors.


    At 4:34 on the Blu-ray, Mathayus' leather armor is suddenly missing as he and Drazen enter the treasure room! He's just wearing a cloth tunic. What may be the armor is seen lying on the floor in the hallway as Mathayus and Drazen close the treasure room doors behind them. But why would he take it off? Mathayus then takes the tunic off, exposing the skimpy leather top he wears for the rest of the film, similar but a bit different to what he wore in Battle for Redemption.

   At 5:01 on the Blu-ray, Drazen's armor is suddenly seen to have been discarded as well. Why discard potentially useful armor while still in an enemy edifice? 


When Mathayus and Drazen enter the treasure room, there are already fire pots lit to light the room! I guess somebody else had been in there recently!


The statue of the bearded man with curved ram's horns seen in the treasure room at 4:37 on the Blu-ray may be of Amon-Ra, who was considered to be the self-created first god of the Egyptian pantheon and was the sun god, associated with the wooly ram with curved horns.


A smaller, ram-headed god statue is seen at 4:41 on the Blu-ray. This may be Banebdjedet, the ram-headed god of fertility in the Egyptian pantheon.


At 5:10 on the Blu-ray, it's obvious there is a cage suspended above the pedestal upon which the stands the Urn of Kings. You'd think Mathayus and Drazen would notice this and possibly avoid the trap that soon befalls them!

suspended cage


In an homage to the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, Mathayus and Drazen swap the Urn of Kings with a vase on the pedestal in an attempt to prevent triggering any kind of a booby trap for removing the urn from the pedestal.


The vase that Mathayus and Drazen swap for the urn is covered with Egyptian symbols of various sorts, from headdresses to hieroglyphs to scarabs.


When Drazen suggests they keep the urn for themselves, Mathayus says they're taking it back to the king of Al-Moraad. Al-Moraad appears to be a fictitious kingdom.


If you freeze-frame just right at 7:18 on the Blu-ray, you can see that Drazen's sword, as it plunges down towards the guard's foot, is flat on the end in order to give the impression a split second later that the point of the blade has imbedded itself in the foot.

flat blade


The king of the palace, King Skizurra, is played by Lou Ferrigno, a former body-building champion best known for his role as the Hulk in the 1977–82 TV series The Incredible Hulk.


At 8:36 on the Blu-ray, notice that Drazen punches Skizurra in the balls and a metallic bonging sound is heard! Skizurra seems unfazed by the attack; perhaps he was wearing a metal jock strap?


King Zakkour tells Mathayus that the Urn of Kings once belonged to Lord Alcaman, a sorcerer who is said to have once ruled the entire world. Alcaman, of course, is a fictitious figure.


King Zakkour's crown has what appears to be a bull's head engraved on the front, possibly a reference to the Egyptian bull deity, Apis.


King Zakkour tells Mathayus that Drazen was a spy who came from the northern kingdom of Norvania. This appears to have been a fictitious kingdom.


At 14:27 on the Blu-ray, the barkeeper has his hair covered with cloth because the performer is also the stunt double for Mathayus and has his hair done in the same unique braidings.


Though entirely human, the band playing at the tavern in Norvania may be a nod to the cantina band in Star Wars: A New Hope.


According to director Mike Elliott in the audio commentary on the Blu-ray, during Mathayus' dinner with King Yannick and Drazen, the court band is playing an ancient rendition of "La Bamba", a Mexican folk song made popular by Ritchie Valens' rock and roll version in 1958.


At 25:49 on the Blu-ray, the stone parapet is seen to wobble as the guard is thrown over it by Mathayus.


According to director Mike Elliott in the audio commentary on the Blu-ray, the man portraying the doctor to Valina is the film's director of cinematography, Trevor Michael Brown.


The man at 29:43 on the Blu-ray who asks Mathayus who's escaping is actually the film's director, Mike Elliott.


At 32:59 on the Blu-ray, notice that some kind of phone or television cable can be seen on the roof and clamped down along the wall of the building behind the archers.

house cable in 3000 BC


Valina's father, Sorrell, is seen to live in a windmill, with a water wheel attached in addition. In the real world, water wheels and windmills were not invented until around the 3rd Century BC and 1st Century AD, respectively. Here, it's somewhat excused in that Sorrell is an eccentric genius, but I guess he never managed to spread his ideas beyond his own experiments! 


Sorrell's plans for a sky machine at 36:00 on the Blu-ray are similar to those of Leonardo Da Vinci's helicopter in 1493.
Sorrell's sky machine Da Vinci's helicopter
Sorrell's sky machine Da Vinci's helicopter (1493)


Sorrell shows Mathayus his water-powered firewood chopper, which he calls the Chop-O-Matic. In the real world, the Chop-O-Matic is a vegetable cutter marketed by Ronco.


The inscriptions on the Golden Key of Lord Alcaman point to the Lord's old palace as being near the village of Glenrrossovia. This appears to be a fictitious village.


When Drazen takes the Golden Key back from our heroes, he hasn't understood the complete translation of the inscriptions on it, so he winds up looking for the lost palace in the wrong area. This is similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark, in which the Nazis start digging in the wrong place for the Well of Souls because they have only the translation of one side of the headpiece of the Staff of Ra, while Indy and his friends have both sides.


In Glenrrossovia, Mathayus gives a coin to a boy thief for snatching the Golden Key from Boris. A similar deal was made between Mathayus and a boy in The Scorpion King.


To enter the temple of the goddess in Glenrrossovia, Mathayus and Sorrell are forced to disguise themselves as women. Sorrell remarks that he finds the dress he is wearing "quite comfortable". I guess he really does, because he spends most of the rest of the film wearing it!


The non-period music played as Mathayus and Sorrell march with Valina in their women's garb is sort of a generic version of "Bad to the Bone", the classic 1982 rock song by George Thorogood and the Destroyers; the real version of the song was used to help portray the protector T-800 as a bad-ass near the beginning of 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day.


During a couple of points from 52:01-52:05 on the Blu-ray, it can be seen that the raid on the Glenrrossovia market by Drazen's men is taking place on a sound stage from the break at the top of the blue skyline in the background.


At 56:02 on the Blu-ray, Mathayus' horse is seen to have horseshoes on its hooves. But nailed-on metal horseshoes are not known to have been in use until the 1st millennium BC.


According to director Mike Elliott in the audio commentary on the Blu-ray, the music being played by the band at the Glenrrossovia tavern is "Whiskey in the Jar". This is a traditional Irish folk song.


The female fighter called Chancara is played by Eve Torres, a former professional wrestler with the WWE.


At 1:05:10 on the Blu-ray, one of Chancara's teeth is knocked out of her mouth by a kick from Valina and the tooth strikes the lens of the camera! Of course, it's a CG trick.


At the opening of the Tugarin forest at 1:05:52 on the Blu-ray, notice that three skull shapes are carved into the rock of the archway. The Tugarin forest appears to be fictitious, but the name "Tugarin" may have been borrowed from Eastern European fairy tales of a dragon-like creature called Tugarin (our heroes pass through the forest to confront a dragon in order to reach Lord Alcaman's ancient palace).

triple skulls


Mathayus refers to scorpions as insects, but they are actually arachnids.


The story Mathayus tells Valina of how he became known as the Scorpion King is a brief rundown of the events of the movie The Scorpion King.


At 1:08:53 on the Blu-ray, you can see that the stopper of the water skin Mathayus is holding is a plastic screwtop!


The scene of the pygmies capturing and preparing our heroes for sacrifice is reminiscent of a similar scene in the Ewok village in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. 


The black-and-yellow spiders that are released from the box at 1:11:13 on the Blu-ray are similar-looking (but larger) to the black and yellow garden spider Argiope aurantia.
large spiders yellow and black garden spider
Large spiders attack Argiope aurantia (photo by William Engstrom from Fairfax County Public Schools website)


As the spiders crawl over him, Mathayus grabs a couple by their legs in his teeth and flings them away, similar to his actions when covered in very large ants in The Scorpion King.


When Mathayus screams at the spiders to get off, they obey and go back into their box. Presumably, the scorpion venom that runs through his blood enabled him to "speak" to them since spiders and scorpions are both arachnids.


Sorrell likens Mathayus' command of the spiders as akin to horse whispering. "Horse whispering" is a term used to describe techniques used by some individuals who seem to have a natural rapport with horses and are able to get the animals to behave and do things that the average trainer can not.


The reverberating thumping sound of the approaching dragon at the mountain pass is reminiscent of the approaching T. rex in Jurassic Park.


Director Mike Elliott points out in the audio commentary on the Blu-ray, that Roland tosses his half-eaten apple on the trail behind them, leaving a track for Drazen and his men to follow. It is an early hint that Roland has already betrayed the group to Drazen.


When Drazen grabs hold of Lord Alcaman's scepter, he exclaims, "By the power of Alcaman!" This may be a reference to the phrase used by He-Man while holding the Sword of Power in the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series of 1983-1985, "By the power of Grayskull!"


At 1:27:57 on the Blu-ray, Mathayus slams Drazen by the arm over his head onto the floor over-and-over, just like the Hulk did to Loki in the 2012 Marvel film The Avengers. In fact, in the audio commentary director Mike Elliott even refers to the scene as Drazen getting "Loki'd".


A couple minutes after being Loki'd, Drazen is back up on his feet with nary a bruise, not to mention any broken bones!


The need for Mathayus to retrieve the crown of Alcaman in order to save the life of Valina's father is reminiscent of Indy retrieving the Holy Grail to save his father in the 1989 film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The obstacles Mathayus faces to reach the crown are also reminiscent of scenes from both Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Raiders of the Lost Ark.


What happened to the rest of Drazen's men in Alcaman's palace? We see there are still eight left alive after the fight, plus Drazen and Boris. Drazen, Boris and two other men follow Mathayus' trail through the catacombs to find the crown. Boris is killed by the spears in the first trap, but then the other two soldiers are suddenly missing when Drazen catches up to Mathayus and tries to claim the crown. Then Mathayus kills Drazen. So, the two soldiers who came with Drazen and Boris are missing and the six who apparently stayed behind in the throne room have vanished as well! (In the deleted scenes bonus feature on the Blu-ray, Valina is seen to dispatch three of the soldiers in the throne room, but that still leaves three unaccounted for in the throne room, plus the two men who went with Drazen and Boris.)


The crowning of Sorrell, who then passes it on to his daughter, is somewhat reminiscent of the throne room awards scene at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope.


Notice that all of Mathayus' and Valina's enemies from throughout the film (those still living anyway) are all present and cheering gleefully for the crowning of Valina! Notice also that Chancara is seen to be missing the tooth she lost in her fight with Valina earlier!


The closing credits of the film feature an epilogue to story, as the victors enjoy a feast with friends and former foes.


Unanswered Questions


What happened to Mathayus after Battle for Redemption that led him to be a mere mercenary working for King Zakkour? At the end of Battle for Redemption, King Horus had yet to give his blessing or his blade on whether to let Mathayus rule Ramusan's country independently; perhaps he decided to put Mathayus to the blade and he was forced to run and find new employment!


Will Mathayus marry Valina in Norvania and become its king? Seemingly not, for he is unattached and a mere blacksmith in a small village in the next entry in the Scorpion King franchise, Book of Souls.


Memorable Dialog


the most hideous and deformed creature ever to roam the desert.wav

the Scorpion King's not real.wav

I hope that's your knife in your pocket.wav

I am not the person that you send to make peace.wav

what do you really want?.wav

grope all you want.wav

did she kidnap you?.wav

disaster waiting to happen.wav

campfire stories.wav

with the right amount of power.wav

are you sure Drazen didn't leave you at the altar?.wav

use our bodies to heal her.wav

we'll sort all this out when I come back to kill you.wav

this is why we don't allow men.wav

charming as a poisonous insect.wav

guess you could say that's my destiny.wav

cold as ice.wav

a little bit of magic.wav 


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