Red Scorpion (1988) Dolph Lundgren, M. Emmet Walsh, Al White, T.P. McKenna Movie Review

Red Scorpion (1988)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Dolph Lundgren in Red Scorpion (1988)

Lacks its Sting

Lt. Nikolai Rachenko (Dolph Lundgren) is so good at going on one man missions that his superiors send him in to infiltrate a group of rebels and assassinate their leader. For Rachenko the first part is easy enough but when it comes to killing he ends up hesitating. When he then witnesses first hand the treatment his country dishes out on other countries he decides to defect to the other side, joining the rebels to take on those who he once called comrade.

As a movie reviewer there is nothing more frustrating that trying to review a perfectly okay movie when there is so little you can say about it. That is the case when it comes to the late 80s "Red Scorpion" a fun action movie for fans of Dolph Lundgren and 80s action but with it consisting of big muscles, big guns and big action it certainly doesn't give a reviewer much to get their teeth into especially one who knows "Red Scorpion" struggles to be average but enjoys it all the same.

M. Emmet Walsh in Red Scorpion (1988)

So what is there to say about "Red Scorpion" well director Joseph Zito, he of "Missing in Action" fame, delivers the basics of what teenage boys during the 80s wanted which is big muscle heroics. As such we have Dolph Lundgren leaping on to movie vehicles, shooting bad guys and when he isn't avoiding being blown up blows other things up. And this is on repeat as we are never far from another action scene often played out to a familiar piece of music to add to the high octane feel of the scene.

But with this being a movie made in an era of location shoots, stunt men and stars throwing themselves into things it manages to be entertaining even if it lacks storyline, character depth or anything close to finesse when it comes to the direction. That isn't a criticism of Zito as his vision for the action works but it is the scenes in between which come up short on style and often feel like the camera was just dumped down and the scene shot with little thought because in the big picture the non action scenes were not that important.

What this all boils down to is that "Red Scorpion" is and never was anything more than an 80s action movie. But because it knows what it is and doesn't pretend to be anything more than action & muscles it manages to be entertaining despite being kind of vacuous.