Bullet Points: Black Scorpion
Superhero movies are the current action movies du jour with another comic book movie coming out every few months. While it may seem that superhero movies are a new phenomenon, audiences have been enjoying unforgettable superhero movies such as Batman and Superman for a very long time. The common thread is that female superheroes usually are the sidekick or part of a team and rarely the lead. Join me in an experience to one of my favorite superheroine movies, nay favorite action movies, 1995’s Black Scorpion. Joan Severance plays the titular character in this gem and is a vigilante that is a dazzling as she is dangerous.
- Origin Story: A common trope in all superhero movies is the origin story. When it is Spiderman or Superman for the umpteenth time it can become boring and unnecessary, but when it is a unique character like Black Scorpion you want to take it all in as deep as possible. As a young girl, Darcy Walker was raised by her police lieutenant father Stan Walker (Rick Rossovich) in Angel City. Stan’s bedtime story was the fable of the frog and the scorpion where the scorpion kills the frog crossing the river, killing the frog while dooming itself because it is in its nature. Stan is the type of cop that goes all out to bust the bad guys. When one such bust goes bad and an innocent doctor gets shot by Stan. Lt. Walker is stipped of his badge and becomes a lowly security guard while Darcy grows up to become a cop who flirts with the rules like her old man. Stan is murdered right in front of Darcy and she subsequently gets suspended for police brutality while interrogating the suspect. Darcy creates the Black Scorpion alter ego to continue to snuff out the crime in Angel City.
- Sidekicks: Darcy Walker/Black Scorpion has several partners that help her on her journey. Michael Russo (Bruce Abbott) is her police partner that does not approve of Darcy’s beyond the law approach while she was a cop. Russo thinks the Black Scorpion is a criminal, but does not know who is behind the mask. Darcy has a romantic interest in Russo, but her partner has no interest in Darcy, especially after Black Scorpion kisses him. Russo gains only amorous feelings towards the masked vigilante and Darcy uses this fact to fulfill her desires. Black Scorpion uses Argyle (Garrett Morris), a car thief and chop shop proprietor who owes her a favor to customize her Corvette into the Black Scorpion-mobile. The car can change shape and has the latest computer gadgetry included. The only problem is that, thanks to Argyle, Black Scorpion must say “Yo” to get the voice activated computer to operate.
- Gadgets: Not all superheroes have otherworldly power which is why Batman has always been popular and the Green Arrow has been successful in the television show Arrow. Without superpowers, physical ability and tools are a must. Darcy is a cop and has the physical capability to take down criminals. Once she takes on the mantle of Black Scorpion she turns an ordinary police stun gun into a weapon that shoots electricity out of her scorpion ring. The stun gun also powers her boots allowing her to jump higher than normal. The above mentioned Black Scorpion mobile is right up there with the cherriest superhero vehicles in film.
- Rogues Gallery: Every superhero needs quality villains to make for an enjoyable story. Imagine if Batman only had Kite Man and Polka-Dot Man and not the Joker. Darcy Walker/Black Scorpion has foils for both of her personalities. Darcy Walker the cop is trying to stop a prostitute murder and the prime suspect is E-Z Street (a scene stealing Darryl M. Bell.) Darcy as Black Scorpion faces the Red Dragons led by a ninja, two female jewel thief wrestlers Connie the Crusher and Scary Mary and the supervillain Breathtaker. Now while it may sound like a silly name, Breathtaker has a dastardly plan to use mind control to take over the citizens of Angel City and has a surprise connection to the Walker family that leads to a great ending.
Black Scorpion is a superhero action film that does not take itself serious and is filled with camp, action and a good time. The actors look like they are having fun in their roles, the direction from Jonathan Winfrey is adequate and you should definitely give it a watch. With all that being said, many of you are going to want to view this movie to see Joan Severance fight crime in a tight and tiny superhero costume. I won’t argue with that.
Bonus Bullet Points
- The legendary Roger Corman produced Black Scorpion which should tell you everything you need to know about the film.
- Rick Rossovich plays Joan Severance’s father when in reality Rick is just over a year older than Joan!
- Black Scorpion spawned a sequel, Black Scorpion II: Aftershock with Joan Severance returning and later a TV series with Michelle Lintel as the lead.
- Black Scorpion has been a popular name in entertainment. There was a 1957 film titled The Black Scorpion featuring giant scorpions. Black Scorpion is a famous freak show performer who is known for his surreal performances. You WCW wrestling fans will no doubt remember The Black Scorpion and his feud with Sting. While not an entertainment figure, those versed in Nigerian history will recognize Black Scorpion as the nickname for the former Nigerian General Benjamin Adekunle.