Red Scorpion (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

Red Scorpion (1989)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Dolph Lundgren stars in this controversial action film directed by Joseph Zito (Missing in Action). The beefy Swede plays Soviet KGB agent Lt. Nikolai, who is sent to Africa with orders to eliminate a black rebel. Eventually, Nikolai begins to side with the locals, has a red scorpion tattooed on his chest by a shaman, and helps fight against the Cubans and the Soviets. Horror fans should note Tom Savini's expert gore effects during a torture scene, while others will be pleased with a fine supporting cast including M. Emmet Walsh, Carmen Argenziano, and Brion James. The film was originally commissioned by Warner Bros., which dropped it after controversy over its South African genesis, but they might as well have dropped it for its endless desert treks and uninvolving screenplay. An unrelated Canadian sequel followed five years later.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Jack Abramoff, Robert Abramoff, Arne Olsen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 13, 1998
Shapiro Glickenhaus

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Dolph Lundgren
as Lt. Nikolai Rachenko
M. Emmet Walsh
as Dewey Ferguson
Al White
as Kallunda Kintash
T.P. McKenna
as General Vortek
Ruben Nthodi
as Sundata
Alex Colon
as Mendez
Brion James
as Krasnov
as Gao, Bushman
James Mthoba
as Guerilla Officer
Ernest Ndlovu
as Guerilla Guard
Nicky Rebelo
as Occupation Officer
Drummond Marais
as Occupation Officer
Charles Comyn
as Occupation Officer
Patrick Shai
as African Soldier
Greg Latter
as Russian Soldier
Rob Smith
as Russian Officer
Tullio Moneta
as Occupation Soldier
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Red Scorpion

Critic Reviews for Red Scorpion

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (3)

A dull, below-average action pic, lensed in Swaziland.

Full Review… | January 14, 2008
Top Critic

The movie's reflective moments belong to Mr. Lundgren's sweaty chest.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Beware of its stink.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Because it was produced by disgraced (and imprisoned) Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the movie is now loaded with an eerie unintentional laughter it didn't have for its original viewers.

Full Review… | July 7, 2012
KC Active

The film offers little that hasn't been seen in countless others of its ilk.

Full Review… | January 14, 2008
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Long live Dolph...!

March 7, 2004

Audience Reviews for Red Scorpion

Oh my god, you guys, this movie is great. Okay, maybe the movie itself isn't super-fantastic, but it turns out that watching a schlocky film in the middle of the night and getting to wolfwhistle at the screen like a construction worker is my idea of a good time. We watched a print that was in such bad shape that it actually caught in the projector - it was the first time I had ever seen a real film burn. I feel like I passed some sort of milestone. I'm not usually a fan of action movies, and this one is largely indistinguishable from most of the others that came out in the 80s. An enormous scary dude goes into a bad situation and solves problems by wrecking stuff, kicking peoples' asses and generally blowing shit up. I really liked this one because Lundgren was so damn pretty back in his heyday. Like catnip. Like Kryptonite. He's a good six inches taller than any other actor in this film, and he's got at least two feet of circumference on them as well. I'd like to make a calendar out of screenshots of this movie. There was a little spattering of humor thorughout it, and the action scenes were well-choreographed and rendered. Pure delicious popcorn cinema at its finest. And totally improved by the screweing-up projector, the missing scene and the myriad imperfections in the print.

Emily Armstrong

Super Reviewer

I saw this when I was small...It was cool at the time
: )

EightThirty .

Super Reviewer

'Red Scorpion' is one of the weakest efforts from Dolph Lundgren in the first phase of his career (roughly defined as from 'Rocky IV' to 'Joshua Tree'). I personally felt the story behind the making of this film was more interesting than the plot itself; however, 'Red Scorpion' can be viewed without all the political implications and messages the producer and the South African regime that funded it intended in the form of a brainless action film. I can say that the primary enjoyment only comes from seeing Dolph kick some ass, and all the explosions and mayhem that comes with it. The director, Joseph Zito (who also helmed the equally over-the-top Chuck Norris vehicle Invasion U.S.A.) doesn't disappoint, and he keeps Dolph blowin' shiznit up real good the entire film.
M. Emmet Walsh was just really annoying as the ultra liberal reporter stereotype, and the only other costars who are tolerable in this are Brion James and the bushman who takes Dolph under his wing. The film drags a lot, and the most annoying aspect of the film, in my opinion, was the overuse of Little Richard's music. I swear, every time there was an action set piece, they would play that crap, and it didn't really fit at all. I demand a rescore.
I have to say that this is good Dolph, but in comparison with something of the caliber of 'I Come in Peace,' 'the Punisher' or Showdown in Little Tokyo- dare I say it, even Masters of the Universe?-, it falls far short in the first phase of the Dolph cannon. Yeah, he still delivers here- he's a big, towering dude beating up bad guys, shooting big guns at commies, drunkenly singing the Soviet national anthem and beating up little pansies in a bar, showing off his muscles, hunting warthogs, and blowing a whole shitload up. What more do you really need if it's Dolph?
If you want brainless action, you may enjoy this. If you want Dolph, he's done better. But this is still an interesting film to watch if you can't get ahold of 'Joshua Tree' or 'Showdown.'

Red Scorpion Quotes

– Submitted by Daniel m (2 years ago)

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