Red Scorpion

Red Scorpion

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There are two fun facts about Red Scorpion that sprung to mind when watching this.

  1. It’s a movie about a Russian Rambo.
  2. The story has been a great influence on the story of Steven Seagal’s eco-action movie “On Deadly Ground”. For those of you that don’t know here’s a quick recap of On Deadly Ground: Seagal works for an oil-company and finds out they’re the bad guys. They try to kill him, but fail after which he finds refuge at a local Inuit tribe. Here he comes in contact with their spiritual ways and gets an animal symbol; a bear. He then leaves the tribe to take the oil company down.

So here’s the synopsis of Red Scorpion: Lundgren is a highly trained Russian special forces soldier but fails on a mission. The army tries to kill him, but fails after which he finds out the criminal acts by the Russian army and finds refuge at a local Bushmen tribe. Here he comes in contact with their spiritual ways and gets an animal symbol; a scorpion. He then leaves the tribe to take the Russian army down.

So as a Seagal Movie purist it’s pretty funny watching movie released 6 years earlier and seeing all these “coincidences”. The only thing missing from Red Scorpion is a 5-minute speech at the end of the movie about how the Cold War is bad. But then again, Rocky IV already had that speech.

But back to Red Scorpion which is a clear example of what made the 80’s action movies so extremely gay. The movie consists basically of an all-male cast and has Dolph running around in Africa, all sweaty and shirtless. At one point there’s even a scene where Dolph is stripping down to take a dip in a river with two other males. Bottom line: this is all one big homoerotic fantasy.

In terms of quality there’s nothing much to rave about. It’s a simple Dolph Lundgren action movie, who compared to other language-impaired action stars, really needs to stop taking this stuff so seriously. Somehow these movies in the 80’s made the Russians pretty serious people, as if they’ve never cracked a one-liner in mother Russia. Only Rocky IV had Lundgren spout some cool quotes, though they were serious as well.

The movie does take a long time making Lundgren see that he’s fighting at the wrong side, even though he witnesses pretty gruesome acts quite early on and him receiving a death sentence for failing a mission still isn’t enough for him to think: hey maybe I’m fighting for the wrong people here. Dude, you’re a Russian in an American movie made during the Cold War, what did you expect?

The low budget is also evident as the Russians apparently have one Helicopter that is being presented as some magical harvester of death with it’s guns, rockets and biological weapons on board.

This movie could’ve been a lot more fun than it was. Stuff blows up real good I’ll have to credit the movie that, but it’s all played too straight, which is a poor choice of words considering how gay this movie is.

Red Scorpion (1988) Poster
Red Scorpion (1988) Poster
Red Scorpion
  • Year:
  • Director:
    • Joseph Zito
  • Cast:
    • Dolph Lundgren
    • M. Emmet Walsh
    • Al White
    • T.P. McKenna
  • Genres:
    Action, Adventure
  • Running time:


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