The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior (previously known as The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian) is a 2008 direct-to-video prequel to the 2002 film The Scorpion King, which itself was a prequel to The Mummy Returns, which was a sequel to the 1999 remake of The Mummy. Filming for the movie began on October 1, 2007 in Cape Town, South Africa. The film had a scheduled release date of August 19 2008 in the United States, and will be released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD.. The movie has leaked of July 28, 2008, to the internet. When young Mathayus witnesses his father's death at the hands of an evil military commander, his quest for vengeance transforms him into the most feared warrior of the ancient world.
Years pass and an adult Mathayus is participating in the ceremony to join the Black Scorpions. He has graduated as a master swordsman, the best in his class. During the ceremony they are greeted by the current Emperor, Sargon, who has murdered Hammurabi to seize the throne. During the greeting Sargon recognizes Mathayus and invites him to the palace. That night in the palace, Mathayus declares his loyalty to the Emperor and is rewarded with a night with the emperor's concubines. The next day Mathayus is once again called to the palace, only to find his friend Noa arrested for spreading so-called "false rumors" about the emperor. Mathayus devises a plan to escape. However, during their escape Sargon uses his black magic and releases an "enchanted" arrow, killing Noa.
Mathayus then encounters his friend, Layla. They escape together to Egypt in a boat. During the trip they meet a Greek named Aristophanes(or 'Ari' for short) who becomes their new accomplice. Ari devises a plan to kill the "cursed" Sargon, the only way being to go to the underworld and retrieve a magical sword from a legendary hero. To go to the underworld, they must first kill the Minotaur guarding the portal that leads there.
Mathayus succeeds in killing the fable monster with the help of several prisoners who were mercenaries that owed a debt to his father. Another one of the them, a Chinese acrobat named Fong, becomes their new accomplice. To get the prisoners to join in the journey, Ari promises that the underworld is filled with riches. They enter the portal to the underworld, which is a great puzzle that only Ari could decipher. The answer to the puzzle was Asha's last words to Mathayus "Have faith." As they're walking through the desert of the underworld, it suddenly turns into a swamp, filled with dead corpses, traps, and fully awakened bodies. In the swamp only Fong, Ari, Mathayus, Layla, and one of the prisoners survive. One of the prisoners is captured by a tree and killed offscreen, and another is killed by an undead creature after reaching for gold and jewelry. Once in the palace of Lady Astarte, the goddess of Love and War, they encounter the Lady, who tries to seduce Mathayus. Layla initiates a fight with Astarte, and during this diversion, Ari and Fong acquire the sword, the group escapes. They pass back through the portal before an hour has passed, avoiding a curse that would turn them into stone, except for the mercenary whose stays too long because his greed causes him to try to get a ruby ring.
They go back to Akkad, only to find that Sargon is planning on sacrificing the whole town to Lady Astarte in exchange for the ultimate power, the power of a god. To accomplish this, Sargon imprisons everyone in the town's coliseum and burn them alive. Layla and Fong help by killing the guards and putting out the fire before it reached the townspeople. Mathayus and Ari go to the King's quarters to confront him. Once they encounter him, Mathayus and Sargon fight hand-to-hand, while Ari writes down the details for his epic poem. Mathayus asks for the magical sword but Ari betrays him by throwing the sword to Sargon. Mathayus uses his dagger to break the sword, amazing Sargon. Ari then gives Mathayus the real sword. It was all part of Ari's plan to fool Sargon. Ari then tells Sargon, "Never trust a Greek." Sargon transforms into the monstrous Scorpion King, but after a long battle Mathayus succeeds in killing the monster by impaling him with the sword. Sargon is dead. Astarte confronts Mathayus, and she threatens to kill him, and he tells her he will join her soon enough.
The day after, Hammurabi's son is declared the true emperor. Mathayus finally kisses Layla while recovering from his wounds. Layla admits she no longer wishes to lead the life of a soldier and wants to settle down. The movie ends with Ari's narration of how now Mathayus prefers to live a life of adventure and is traveling in the desert, and one day he will come back and become the Scorpion King. These events lead to the original 2002 film, The Scorpion King.
Keith Uhlich of UGO said the film is "cheap, ugly, deadening, lacking even the common decency to be unintentionally funny, [the] sheer ineptitude increas[ing] with each passing scene. Film Jabber said The Scorpion King 2 "lacks action, excitement and, more importantly, quality," adding: "While the production values are decent enough for a film like this, you can tell from minute one that this movie was made simply to coincide with the theatrical release of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Mark Pollard of Kung Fu Cinema said that "the lead actors [keep] the movie marginally entertaining long after the predictable plot, generic effects work, and poorly-edited screen fighting grows weary.
Sam Sloan of A Slice of Sci-Fi said the film is "a notch up in quality from what is typically seen on a Saturday night from the Sci-Fi Channel, remarking that director Russell Mulcahy "was able to turn what should have been a totally dreadful movie into a watchable film that didn’t make me feel like I had completely wasted an hour and a half of my time. Kenneth Brown of Hi-Def Digest said The Scorpion King 2 "feels like an aborted TV pilot, [...] painfully overplotted, yet so mind-numbingly simple that it’s impossible to care about its characters or central conflicts.