Top critical review
Typical 80s Actioner
on 14 April 2015
'Red Scorpion' was made during a golden era of testosterone fuelled 'one man army' style movies. It was obviously designed as a vehicle to put Dolph Lundgren in the big league of action stars at the time, but it doesn't quite hit the mark.
On the plus side, the film looks good, moves along at a decent pace and has the required amount of gunfire and explosions to satisfy fans of the genre. In terms of the lead actor, Dolph is quite a fearsome, athletic looking specimen who looks terrific in the action sequences. He doesn't have a great deal of dialogue to get through, which suits the robotic, monosyllabic nature of the assassin he's playing.
On the downside, the plot of 'Red Scorpion' amounts to nothing more than the sort of myth-laden Soviet-bashing that was so commonplace in US movies at the time. The attitude was always America = good and USSR = bad. It was a bit laughable back then and it's downright embarrassing now. Here we have a muddled mess of a story, involving persecuted African villagers, sneering Soviet and Cuban villains and a disillusioned, double-crossed Dolph finding the road to redemption via a giggling bushman. Classic 80s B-movie villain Brion James pops up with a dreadful Russian accent and M. Emmett Wash gets to swear a lot.
As a brainless, retro action romp, and showcase of Dolph's action hero credentials, 'Red Scorpion' does a decent job and is pretty typical of the kind of movies served up at the time. It's ok as a bit of late night movie nostalgia, but time hasn't been kind to it I'm afraid.