Red Scorpion is a dull, below-average action pic, lensed in Swaziland.

Out-of-date screenplay [from a story by Robert Abramoff, producer Jack Abramoff, and Arne Olsen] has Scandinavian star Dolph Lundgren playing a Russian special services officer ordered by his nasty commander (Irish thesp T.P. McKenna) to kill the rebel leader of a fictional African country. Lundgren fails in his mission and is tortured by Cubans.

Under the guidance of a knowing, mystical bushman (Regopstaan, obviously patterned on the hero of The Gods Must Be Crazy) who tattoos a scorpion on Dolph’s chest, Lundgren realizes the commies are oppressing the Africans. Anticlimax has this Nordic giant leading the otherwise defeated rebels to defeat the combined Russian/Cuban might.

Joseph Zito’s sluggish direction lingers on nonessentials. Tediousness could have been alleviated by dropping at least a reel’s worth of trekking across the African desert. Lundgren provides little more than sustained beefcake.

Red Scorpion

  • Production: Shapiro Glickenhaus. Director Joseph Zito; Producer Jack Abramoff; Screenplay Arne Olsen; Camera Joao Fernandes; Editor Daniel Loewenthal; Music Jay Chattaway; Art Director Ladislav Wilheim
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1989. Running time: 102 MIN.
  • With: Dolph Lundgren M. Emmet Walsh Al White T.P. McKenna Carmen Argenziano Brion James