Red Scorpion

Red Scorpion Information

Red Scorpion is a 1989 film directed by Joseph Zito starring Dolph Lundgren.


The plot centers on Lundgren's character Nikolai Petrovitch Radchenko, a Soviet Spetsnaz-trained KGB agent who is sent to an African country where Soviet, Czechoslovakian and Cuban forces are helping the government fight an anti-communist rebel movement. He fights with dedication for his Soviet commanders, until he is thrown in jail for drunkenly shooting up a bar. During his night in the cell, he meets an American journalist and a resistance fighter whom the Soviet command have designated both as an espionage/terrorist threat, and Nikolai learns the truth about the Soviet presence.

Nikolai is ordered to assassinate the movement's leader, but eventually turns against his government by switching sides. Disgraced and tortured by his commanding officers for failing his mission, he breaks out of the interrogation chamber and escapes to the desert, later to be found by native people. He soon learns about them and their culture, and after receiving a ceremonial burn scar in the form of a scorpion (hence the title), he rejoins the freedom fighters and leads an attack against the Soviet camp after a previous attack at the rebel stronghold. Nikolai steals an AO-63 from the armoury, fights his corrupt officers and hunts down General Vortek, who attempts to escape in a Mil-24 Hind only to be shot down after takeoff. Nikolai defeats and kills Vortek, as the freedom fighters finally defeat the Soviet oppression.


  • Dolph Lundgren — Lt. Nikolai Rachenko
  • M. Emmet Walsh — Dewey Ferguson
  • Al White — Kallunda Kintash
  • T. P. McKenna — General Vortek
  • Carmen Argenziano — Colonel Zayas
  • Alex Colon — Sgt. Mendez
  • Brion James — Krasnov
  • Ruben Nthodi — Ango Sundata

Production and controversy

After being denied the right from filming in Swaziland and a search for other locations, the film was made in Namibia (then South-West Africa). Warner Bros., who had a negative pickup deal to release the picture, pulled out for the breach of their contract with the production. Artists and Athletes Against Apartheid then condemned the production for breaking the international boycott against South Africa. The film allegedly received help from the South African government as part of its propaganda efforts to undermine international sympathy for the African National Congress (see International Freedom Foundation).

With all the delays and productions issues, the film went over budget by 8-10 million dollars (approximately twice the initial amount).

Abramoff later claimed that he did not intend the film to contain so much violence and profanity, blaming the director. He established a short-lived "Committee for Traditional Jewish Values in Entertainment" to release films more in line with his values, but later abandoned the project, feeling it would be unfeasible.

A sequel, Red Scorpion 2, appeared in 1994, although the story is largely unrelated to the first installment.


Red Scorpion had a world premiere at the 1988 MIFED film market, and was released theatrically in Germany and Japan in January 1989, then domestically USA on April 21, 1989. The movie was released theatrically worldwide except in the United Kingdom (where it went "direct to video" in January 1990).

Months later, Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment Home Video released the movie on videocassette and laserdisc. In 1993, a budget tape of the film was released by Starmaker. The movie has had at least two Region 1 DVD releases. The first DVD was released in 1998 by Simitar and the second DVD was released in 2002 by 20th Century Fox. In 2005, Tango Entertainment released a UMD of the film for the Sony PlayStation Portable. The two DVDs are now discontinued.

The film was directed by Joseph Zito and represents his first authorial effort half a decade after the release of the Chuck Norris vehicles Missing in Action and Invasion U.S.A..

The film has been released on Blu-ray in the UK by Arrow Video on 6th Feb 2012. This special edition contains the following features:

  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by The Dude Designs
  • Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
  • Collector's booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by author Calum Waddell
  • Brand New High Definition Transfer of the film (1080p)
  • Introduction to the film from star Dolph Lundgren
  • UK exclusive audio commentary with director Joseph Zito, moderated by filmmaker and genre scholar Howard S. Berger
  • "All Out Of Bullets: Dolph Lundgren remembers Red Scorpion"
  • "Music With Muscles: Composer Jay Chattaway on the soundtrack of Red Scorpion"
  • Original Trailer
  • In original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
  • Original Uncompressed LPCM Stereo Audio
  • Feature and extras 1080/24p Region ABC playable worldwide
A Blu-ray/DVD combo was released in the US by Synapse Films on June 12, 2012 with the following features:

  • All-New 2K High-Definition Digital Restoration of the Uncensored Version
  • Audio Commentary with Director Joseph Zito and Mondo Digital's Nathaniel Thompson
  • All-new DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack mixed specifically for this release
  • "Hath No Fury " Dolph Lundgren And The Road To Red Scorpion" featurette
  • "Assignment: Africa" " Interview with Producer Jack Abramoff
  • "Scorpion Tales" " Interview with Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Savini
  • Rare original on-set behind-the-scenes video footage
  • Animated Still Gallery
  • Liner notes on the making of Red Scorpion by Jérémie Damoiseau
  • Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots
  • Reversible Cover Design

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Red_Scorpion" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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