Notice that the narrating voice of the film is that of Aristophanes
the Greek scribe (sorry, poet) who accompanies Mathayus on his journey to
and the underworld.
The film suggests that the Akkadian civilization had a group of
elite warriors called the Black Scorpions, of which Mathayus was a
member, as was his father before him. The members even have a tattoo
of a black scorpion on their right arms (though Mathayus burns his
off near the end of this film). However, in the original
Scorpion King, no mention is ever made of Mathayus' assassin
training having occurred under a group by that name; his Scorpion
King name was derived from the scorpion venom that remained in his
blood after a poisoning attempt by Memnon. Since this film's story
takes place years before that, it seems the filmmakers felt the need
to insert another scorpion connection in order to justify the
franchise's title for those who were not familiar with (or had
forgotten the details of) the earlier film.
At the beginning of the film, Hammurabi is the king of Akkad. If the
stories of The Scorpion King franchise take place circa 3000 BC as stated by the
original film's director Chuck Russell, then this must not be the
renowned historical figure of Hammurabi, who was the ruler of
Babylon from 1792-1750 BC. Also, the historical Hammurabi was not
succeeded by Sargon (as in this film), though there was a real Sargon who ruled (and
is generally considered to have founded) the Akkadian Empire for
many decades. However, later statements in the current film
suggest it takes place much later than 3000 BC, e.g. references to
the pyramids of Egypt and the writings of Greek historian Herodotus.
The Scorpion King films seem to take a lackadaisical
approach to ancient historical time periods, mashing many epochs and
cultures together the way the two TV series Hercules: The
Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess did in
At 8:18 on the DVD, actor Michael Copon as Mathayus seems to do a
subtle version of the "people's eyebrow", otherwise performed by The
Rock in his original portrayal of the character in
The Scorpion King
as a nod to his wrestling character.
The scene of the city at 8:22 on the DVD is the same as the one at
2:06, complete with the same clouds and same men on horseback
After returning home a man from Black Scorpion training, Mathayus is
greeted by his brother, Noah, who feels his bicep and exclaims,
"What do they feed you, rock stew?" Besides a comment on the boy's
growth, this may be a joking reference to The Rock, who portrays the
adult Mathayus in
The Scorpion King.
In this movie, Mathayus seems to have two brothers named Enki and
Noah, but there is no mention of Jesup, the brother who is killed
near the beginning of
The Scorpion King. Jesup does appear to be older
than Mathayus in that film, so it may be that Jesup has left the
roost and is on a mercenary mission abroad at this time. (However,
an actor credited as Jesup is listed in the film's ending credits,
with no mention of Enki; possibly the two names were mixed up
between the scripted dialog and credit text?)
At 13:39 on the DVD, notice that Sargon appears to have a
cauliflower ear, a permanent swelling of the outer ear tissue caused
by a serious blow. This was not a prosthetic for the character;
actor Randy Couture is a former mixed martial-artist and wrestler
who suffered injuries in the ring which left both of his ears
cauliflowered. Many such athletes have had one or both ears injured
in this manner.
Throughout the movie, notice the hilt of Mathayus' sword is in the
general shape of a scorpion. There is also a scorpion design
engraved on the flat of the blade.
Somehow, Mathayus' sword is able to slice through metal chains (in a
single blow) to free his brother Noah in Sargon's court!
Mathayus tells Layla that he goes to Egypt to ask Pharaoh if he may
borrow the magical Spear of Osiris in order to kill Sargon.
Ironically, Mathayus will be slain with that weapon himself when his
cursed half-scorpion form returns to life in 1933 AD in
Mummy Returns. Osiris is the name of the ancient Egyptian god
of the afterlife.
At 28:46 on the DVD, notice that Ari is writing in the Greek
alphabet (probably on sheets of papyrus).
Ari tells Mathayus and Layla that he is from Naxos. This is a Greek
island in the Mediterranean Sea. He also admonishes them not to
confuse him with the Aristophanes of Corinth, whom he refers to as a
hack. Corinth was an ancient city-state of Greece; the mention of
another Aristophanes who was a writer may be a joking reference to
the Greek playwright of c. 446-386 BC.
Ari also tells that he is a former court poet to the king of Elam.
Elam was an ancient civilization located mostly in what is now
Dismissing the Spear of Osiris as not useful for killing Sargon
since it was meant to be used only against Egyptian monsters, Ari
tries to think of the perfect weapon for Mathayus to seek,
considering and rejecting the Hammer of Zeus and the Shield of
Cronos. These appear to be artifacts made up for the movie and not
from actual mythology. Zeus was the mythological father of the Greek
Olympian gods and Cronos (more commonly Cronus) was leader of the
Titans, the race of gods said by the Greeks to be the precursors to
the Olympian gods.
Ari finally advises Mathayus to seek the Sword of
Damocles which he says was the weapon used by the man who killed
King Philpman. Both King Philpman and the Sword of Damocles are
fictional constructs for the film, but the phrase "sword of
Damocles" is borrowed from a Greek legend that
tells of a man named Damocles who exclaimed that the emperor Dionysius
truly fortunate for all his power and fortune. Dionysius offered to
let Damocles exchange lives with him for a day so he may feel what it's like
and the man eagerly agrees. Damocles is then treated like a king and
enjoys a sumptuous meal in the court. Only after he finishes eating
does he notice a sword dangling precariously above him, held by a
thread, whereupon Damocles asks the emperor's leave, saying he no
longer wants to be so fortunate.
Ari tells that Herodotus' fifth book of The Histories tells
of how Damocles' sword was transformed by a lightning bolt from Zeus
into a blade that could cut through anything. Although Herodotus was
a real historical figure who wrote the 9-volume The Histories,
the story of Damocles and his sword is not one of them.
Mathayus decides to join Ari in Knossos to seek the Sword of
Damocles. Knossos was an ancient city on the Greek island of Crete
during the Minoan civilization of the Bronze Age (c. 2700-1500 BC).
Ari tells Mathayus and Layla of the Minotaur, a half-man, half-bull
creature that wanders the labyrinth beneath Knossos and guards the
entrance to the underworld. Greek mythology does tell of the
Minotaur which was banished by King Minos to the labyrinth
underneath Knossos. In the mythology, the Minotaur is eventually
killed by Theseus; here, the Minotaur is slain by Mathayus. (In
Rise of the Akkadian, Mathayus again sails to the
island of Crete, this time to seek the mystical Sword of Osiris to
kill Magus and faces off against the Minotaur! I guess there is
somehow always a new Minotaur to replace the one that gets killed.)
Notice that at 37:55 on the DVD, Mathayus simply opens the door of
the prison cell in which he and the others are held! What kind of a
cell is that? Is it simply fear of the Minotaur wandering the
tunnels that keeps the other prisoners in their cell? And, if that's
so, why doesn't the Minotaur simply open the cell door himself and
attack the prisoners?
Pollux refers to his men as
Illyrians. These were generally known by the Ancient Greeks as the
inhabitants of the modern-day Balkans and parts of Italy.
One of the mercenaries insults the Minotaur by telling it his mother
was a cow. Actually, according to the Greek mythological tale, the
creature's mother was human...it's father was a bull.
Ari plays his wooden flute to entrance the Minotaur long enough for
Mathayus to kill it. Ari then explains,
"Music has charms to soothe the savage beast," then remarks, "Say,
that's good," as if he plans to use the phrase in his writings.
It's actually a paraphrasing of a real world quote, "Music hath charms
to soothe the savage breast" from the 1697 play The Mourning
Bride by William Congreve.
tells Mathayus that he'd fought alongside his father, Ashur,
against the Hittites. The Hittite empire was another that existed in
the Mesopotamian region during the Bronze Age, circa the 18th
through 11th Centuries BC.
Ari claims that Gilgamesh and Herodotus each journeyed to and
returned from the underworld successfully. Gilgamesh was a
mythological figure of the Sumerian civilization (though he may also
have been a real king of Uruk who was later written into mythology as a
larger-than-life character). In the Epic of Gilgamesh, his servant,
Enkidu, goes down into the underworld and later returns as a ghost
to tell his master about the world of the dead, but Gilgamesh
himself was not said to have journeyed there in his lifetime.
Herodotus, having been a demonstrably real person, is also not known
to have travelled (while alive) to the world of the dead.
Ari later states that Herodotus said that a living person can only
remain in the underworld for one hour before they turn to stone. I
am not aware of Herodotus' writings ever having stated this.
In the underworld, our heroes meet up with the goddess of love and
war, Astarte. "Astarte" is the name given in Greek mythology
to this goddess.
Mathayus swears to Astarte that if she lets his group leave the
underworld, he will build a temple in her honor and states that an
Akkadian always keeps his vows. The commitment that Akkadians
always keep their vows is repeated in
The Scorpion King.
Mathayus tells Astarte that he made a vow to Shamash to avenge the
death of his father. Shamash is the Akkadian sun god.
Astarte tells Mathayus that inside every hero lurks the potential
for a monster and we see that it bothers him later on the ship ride
back to Akkad. This is probably meant as a retroactive foreshadowing
of what he becomes in
Ari misleadingly tells Fong that he'll receive a hero's welcome in
Nippur. Nippur was an ancient Sumerian city which became part of the
Akkadian Empire. Apparently it is also the seat of Sargon's throne
in this film.
The depiction (and the characters' view) of the underworld seems to
be similar to that of the Christian Hell, a place where the souls of
the damned are sent after death. But in most ancient mythologies and
religions, the term "underworld" was simply meant to describe the land of
the dead, where both good and evil souls would go (though they might
be segregated into more and less pleasant regions within it).
At 1:23:20 on the DVD, Layla says, "Got a bad feeling about this."
This may be a reference to the Star Wars franchise in which
characters often repeat this phrase.
Sharp-eyed viewers should notice that the sword Ari tosses to Sargon
during the ruler's duel with Mathayus is not the Sword of Damocles
as he implies,
though it looks similar.
At 1:31:49 on the DVD, Mathayus burns the Black Scorpion tattoo off
his arm with the flat of the Sword. But since when does the Sword of
Damocles cause burning on the skin? When he first obtained it in the
underworld, he ran his hand along the blade and it did not burn him.
It's power is said to be the ability to cut through anything, not
It's extremely cheesy that the giant scorpion Sargon transforms into
is invisible for most the fight with Mathayus; most likely the
producers chose to do it this way to spare the expense of having a
lot of CG animation produced.
This movie seems to imply that Mathayus was grazed by the giant
scorpion's poisonous barb a few times on his body. This suggests
that he already had the "blood of the scorpion" in his veins even
before the events seen in
The Scorpion King.
After Sargon is slain by Mathayus, Shalmaneser, the son of the
previous king, Hammurabi, is crowned. There were several
Shalmanesers who were kings of Assyria during the 1st Millennium BC,
but the one in this movie who becomes ruler of the Akkadian Empire
seems to be fictional.
At the end of the movie, Layla tells Mathayus that Ari has left,
having said something about Olympia and Neptune's Trident. Olympia
was a city of ancient Greece. Presumably Neptune's Trident is a
reference to the trident said to have been wielded by the Roman god
Neptune, though the story of this movie would seem to take place
well before the Roman Empire has absorbed the Greek mythology and
given the Greek gods Roman names (Neptune was originally known in
Ancient Greece as Poseidon).
At the very end of the movie, Ari's voiceover says that one day,
perhaps, Mathayus would become a king, but "that is the subject for
another tale." This is similar to the closing line of the original
two Conan movies Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan
the Destroyer (1984).
What message did Ari leave for Mathayus on the papyrus scroll that
made him laugh at the end of the movie?
what do they feed you.wav
thanks for noticing.wav
never mix those two words.wav
a shortcut back to China.wav
I think I just stepped in someone.wav
save your tongue.wav
gold coins between your thighs.wav
got a bad feeling about this.wav
you can never trust a Greek.wav
I'm a poet, not a scribe.wav
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