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Every Scorpion King Movie Ranked Worst To Best

With nostalgic remakes being all the rage and Dwayne Johnson reigning as one of the biggest stars in the world, it should come as no surprise that The Scorpion King is getting the reboot treatment. According to EW, Johnson's production company Seven Bucks is behind the film, working with Universal Studios to breathe new life into the franchise. This is fitting, as Johnson's acting career was launched by his role as the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns and the subsequent 2002 Scorpion King spinoff film. In fact, he was still being credited as "The Rock" at the time.

Amazingly, there are five (!) Scorpion King films as of this writing, the latest being released in 2018. When you sit down to watch one of these films, you should know what you're getting into: Solid action scenes, entertaining action sequences, convoluted and often silly plots, and (generally) a direct-to-video budget that you don't need a degree in film to spot. However, they're almost all fun watches. With news of the reboot, we thought it would be a good time to rank the current Scorpion King films from worst to best. Crank up the Godsmack as we work our way through.

The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior

The second film in the Scorpion King franchise got a bit of a bad shake. It was a direct-to-video release, so it had a massive budget reduction from the first film. A new actor, Michael Copon, took over the lead role from Dwayne Johnson. It leaned hard into the "But we've got a fighter!" strategy, casting Randy Couture as the villain. It also has, quite possibly, the most generic title we've ever heard. These factors all add up to a not-so-fun ride.

In The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior, the series hadn't yet embraced its B-movie qualities. There's some decent stunt work and action here, but nothing anywhere near as impressive as what the later installments work in. The plot is laughable, and there is nary a charismatic performance in the film. The screenplay lacks the levity and self-awareness necessary to help you overlook its flaws. Worst of all, it suffers from the cardinal sin of any movie, regardless of quality: It's boring.

Literally, the only reason to watch Rise of a Warrior is if you insist on a completionist viewing of the franchise. Just skip straight to number three if you're only seeking entertainment.

The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption

How fitting is the title for The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption? After the terrible previous entry, this was the chance to right the ship and make amends. The third film in the franchise indeed takes several steps in the right direction. Victor Webster takes over the title role, which he continues to hold in the (far superior) fourth film. There's some decent humor, strong practical action and stunt work, and some charismatic actors. It doesn't lean hard enough into "so bad it's good" territory, however, and the lack of self-awareness hurts the film.

Webster is pretty good in the lead role, and it helps that he has actors like Dave Bautista, Ron Perlman, and Billy Zane to bounce off of. Former YouTube fighting sensation Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson also makes an appearance. Sure, the story isn't great, and there are some cringe-worthy moments. But this is The Scorpion King 3 –you're just hoping it's better than the last one. It fulfills that requirement, and you might even be pleasantly surprised with its stunt work and fight scenes. It's a fun popcorn flick.

The Scorpion King 4: The Quest for Power

The Scorpion King 4: The Quest for Power is when the series finally finds its legs after the first film. Both the second and third entries have their moments (more the third than the second), but The Quest for Power fully embraces its B-movie roots and goes all in. You'll have no trouble spotting moments when it apes other, more popular franchises, but it does it all with a knowing air that makes it a genuinely good time.

Victor Webster gets his second go at the starring role, and he finds his footing as Mathayus here. This is a straight-up adventure film, with lots of booby trap-filled tombs to explore and hammy villains to overcome. Some of the recognizable faces you'll see in this installment include Barry Bostwick, Rutger Hauer, Michael Biehn, and Lou Ferrigno. Ellen Hollman is also great, as is par for the course with her.

Look, we aren't arguing that The Scorpion King 4: The Quest for Power should have won Academy Awards or anything. It's a fun B-movie that has some strong action sequences and takes plenty of "inspiration" from other adventure franchises like Indiana Jones and the MCU. It's entertaining, and that's what matters.

The Scorpion King: Book of Souls

Maybe it's just because it's the newest and shiniest, but The Scorpion King: Book of Souls is the best film in the franchise since the original. Though Victor Webster did an admirable job as Mathayus in the third and fourth films, bringing in an impressive stunt actor like Zach McGowen for this installment does a ton to up the quality of the production. And he's not alone: The action scenes and stunt work from the whole cast are really impressive, even if the plot is every bit as silly as its precursors.

Even though the game of "spot the famous actor" is fun in the other Scorpion King flicks, Book of Souls is actually tremendously helped by the fact that it doesn't include big names. You'll recognize some of the actors you see here, but more from their impressive performances in other action-heavy series and films than from being actual stars.

Any time Book of Souls gets too lore-heavy, it drags. Luckily, it doesn't do that too often. There are some great scenes here, and a lot of the low-budget issues are covered up by the really impressive stunt work. Hopefully the remake follows this route.

The Scorpion King

It's easy to watch The Scorpion King now and recognize that Dwayne Johnson would rapidly ascend to become one of the most in-demand stars on the planet. After his terrible CGI appearance in The Mummy Returns, Mathayus got his own origin story that let Johnson get a taste of a starring role. He's still very green as an actor here, but he gets a chance to showcase the effortless charm and charisma that led to him becoming a sensation.

The plot to The Scorpion King is every bit as flimsy as it is in subsequent films in the franchise, but it is truly remarkable how much Johnson does with the role. He almost seems like an accidental movie star — sort of like the film was made as a marketing tool for the wrestler (it was indeed produced by WWF Entertainment) whose talent ultimately outshines the formula. There are some other decent performances and a lot more of a budget here, but Johnson's skill does the heavy lifting in this one.

It's too bad Johnson didn't stick with the role, but it isn't hard to see why -– he outgrew such small potatoes pretty quickly. Still, the original film serves as an interesting time capsule from the beginning of the star's rise to the top.