* * *
Directed by: Joseph Zito
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, M. Emmett Walsh, Al White, and Brion James
Lt. Nikolai Rachenko is a Russian Special Forces soldier assigned to go undercover in Africa
to root out an anti-communist leader, Kallunda (White) - don’t forget,
Rachenko’s superiors are all commies. While in the midst of this deep
cover, Rachenko becomes sympathetic to the anti-communist cause and
realizes he has been manipulated by the higher-ups. So he goes on an
explosion-packed killing spree, shooting and, when need be, dismembering
his enemies (hey, it was an emergency). Rachenko may seem like a man of
stone, but it’s clear he yearns to be free. Along the way he meets an
obnoxious American journalist, Dewey Ferguson (Walsh) and an elderly
African tribesman shows Rachenko his human side.
With a movie starring Dolph Lundgren, directed by Joseph Zito (forever in the hall of fame for Invasion USA, 1985
and produced by Jack Abramoff (rumor has it his “evil hat” was an
uncredited co-producer), you’d think the results would be just a bit
more impressive. Not that Red Scorpion is bad at all - but it’s too long
and the middle section drags. Perhaps that’s just to lull us before the
big final battle, but it’s quite a lull. There’s no reason for this
film to be 100 minutes. With the pedigree involved in the movie’s
production, it’s not unreasonable to expect more.
The film has
some really high-quality, impressive explosions. The team that worked on
the pyrotechnics should be applauded. And of course, the hero gets
tortured (there are some really impressive effects there too), but there
are some nice underlying plot ideas in addition to the many
“blow-ups”: 1. Think for yourself, 2. Communism sucks, 3. A friendship
can exist between a geriatric African bushman and a blonde, Swedish hulk
even if they don’t speak the same
language 4. The intrigue of “who are the real enemies?”, and of course,
playing the same, repetitive Little Richard songs over and over again
will remind everyone of America’s greatness and freedom.
enough, the one American character, Dewey, is obnoxious and unlikable
throughout most of the film. If this movie is just a propaganda piece
for the U.S., they aren’t helping their case by portraying Americans
that way. But we do learn the secret of the “Red Scorpion” tattoo -
later seen as the only, tenuous (at best) link between this film and its
sequel. But there are actual scorpions in the movie that crawl on
Dolph’s body. Whether they are “Red”, i.e., commies sent by his
superiors, remains unknown.
There were a lot of anti-communist
80’s action movies, but this one has Dolph Lundgren, and apparently the
filmmakers were so impressed with their explosions, rightfully I might
add, that during the end credits,
there are continuous explosion sounds. You don’t see them, you just
hear them. While you may know what to expect with Red Scorpion, its
messages help it stand out.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty
I agree that this could have been better, and it's mainly down to that middle section which drags like a half severed leg.
Far too much wandering around in the desert in the company of two people who don't speak the same language.
Apparently they made a sequel - no Dolph - in '94. Anyone seen that?
We totally agree with you, if they tightened up the middle section, this could have been a Dolph classic. We have a review of Red Scorpion 2 on the site in our archives. It is a very silly sequel!
I like this movie, but yes it does have its flaws. Call me crazy, but I actually liked part 2 better.
I love Dolph month! Such a great time this month reading your views on Dolphs best and worst.
I don't really remember anything from Red Scorpion, but I'm eager to check it out soon. I hope despite the lagging mid section, it has some kind of redeeming quality with the combo of Dolph and Zito.
Great job guys!
Yea hi'll amdit the middle section did lag a bit, still a fun film nevertheless, though admittedly the sequel is a bit better because it dosen't lag very much at all by comparison and John Savage makes for a great villain!
Ahhhh...I did not know Zito did "Invasion" one of my favorite guilty Chuck pleasures! No wonder I still remember "Red Scorpion" somewhat fondly!
Ryan1234: Hmm, that is cool you like part 2 better. There were more silly moments and John Savage at his best.
RobotGEEK: Thanks, buddy! Really appreciate your support of Dolph Month!
Venom: John Savage was great as the villain! "THE WIND!, THE WIND!"
MarkusWelby1: Invasion USA is awesome! Chuck's best movie in our opinion.
This gets a Blue-Ray release now in Germany on 25h of November 2011. unrated and widescreen.
Nice! Hopefully one day, the U.S. will get a similar release.
This was like a bad 1950s Red Scare film, which was fun for us, but still very silly. And I agree, M. Emmett Walsh was horrible.
It was fun, wished it didn't drag so much. M. Emmett Walsh was used slightly better in Missing In Action.
Synapse is releasing a new DVD and Blu-Ray combo pack this June.
Definitely excited to see it on DVD! Thanks for the link.
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