8:00 PM, 10th August, 2002
The Scorpion King is a prequel to The Mummy Returns and is a vehicle for charismatic wrestler Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock) to have his first starring role in a feature film. Memnon (Brand) is an evil warlord who is using the predictions of a sorcerer to slowly but surely conquer the entire ancient world. The Rock plays Mathayus, an assassin, hired by some surviving tribes to kill the sorcerer.
One group of people says that The Rock is sure to be the next big action star; another group says that The Rock is absolutely hopeless. As a fan of The Rock's antics on World Wrestling Entertainment (not Federation, thanks to the World Wildlife Fund lawsuit), I would like to see The Rock succeed as a film star... In any case he's much better than Hulk Hogan.
If you're still trying to play it cool and pretend that you're not a massive fan of The Rock, you can use the excuse that Kelly Hu spends the majority of the movie practically naked. There's even a hilarious scene where she is naked, and The Rock surfs her through an ancient drain! Have I convinced you to come yet? Or do I have to mention the flaming sword fights, big explosions and one-liners to get you into the theatre?
10:00 PM, 10th August, 2002
The man with the whip is back, and this time, it's a prequel. Our square-jawed hero rushes from the treacherous clutches of the club Obi-Wan in Shanghai onto the first plane out of town, with the screeching nightclub singer Willie Scott (Capshaw) and the street-smart urchin Short Round (Quan) in tow, only to find himself waylaid into India, where a small village needs him to find its stolen sacred stones. Once they arrive in Pankot Palace, Indy, Willie and Shortie are up to their necks in cult worshippers, blazing lava pits and all the usual stuff.
The second in the (so far) trilogy, Temple of Doom seems to get a bad rap from some people for two reasons: (1) the fairly intense horror scenes (in particular the scene where the cultists appear to pull the still-beating heart out of their sacrificial victims - it's this scene that's cited as responsible for the US introducing a PG-13 rating); and (2) it doesn't seem as serious/substantial/heartfelt as the other two films in the series. The first reason shouldn't matter much: parents should probably exercise caution but everybody else should say: 'ooh, yucky, yay!'. As for the second, well, so what? It's a fun romp. It makes no pretensions to being anything more than that. And it is ludicrously good fun, from Willie singing 'Anything Goes' in Cantonese during the opening credits to the literal cliffhanger of a finale.