The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Rating – *


An incompetent rehash directed by a man with less talent than a lobotomised squirrel! I never thought I’d say it, but I miss Stephen Sommers! The first two Mummy films were hardly highbrow cinema. They weren’t even classics of their genre, merely the best of the Indiana Jones copy-cats. But they (mainly the first one) have a dumb charm. I clearly remember leaving the cinema with a big grin on my face, thrilled at the sight of something fresh and effortlessly entertaining. Yes I was only 14 in 1999 but I still enjoy the film now. Even the Mummy Returns (showing symptoms of sequel-itus) never fails to entertain.

So how did a script this lifeless, derivative and uneven ever get the green light? How can charismatic actors like Brendan Fraser and Jon Hannah be so wasted, handicapped by dialogue lower than school play quality………a school play written by babies……dyslexic babies! As for the rest of the cast, why has Rick O’Connell’s son morphed from a plucky British boy into an arrogant American c***? Played by Luke Ford, he is so uncharismatic and in need of a slap I was praying for a speedy and painful death. But no, the smug shit lives on while all those around him bite the dust. He is also far too old. Next to the eternally youthful Brendan Fraser he comes across as a younger brother. None of the family show any love for each other. Alex’s relationship with his mother is creepy too. Being so old it looks like he’s flirting with her when they embrace. This icky feeling is confirmed during an horrendous campfire scene where they talk about how many women he’s slept with. Is this the summer of female leads being recast in sequels? First Katie Holmes is dumped for Maggie Gyllenhaal. And now the beautiful talented and generally lovely Rachel Weisz shrewdly avoids reprising her role. Poor Maria Bello has been drafted in to replace her and she delivers only a lame imitation of Weisz’s performance. It’s not really her fault but it’s still painful to watch. All the other new cast members are pointless and boring. There’s some random Chinese girl who does martial arts, floating around on dodgy wires… You know, because that’s what Chinese girls do!

Now that the Egyptian theme has been milked dry, we relocate to China. They had mummies there too right? Sure, why not. The actual Mummy himself has none of the genuine menace of Imhotep from the first films. Instead we get Jet Li caked in a layer of CGI terracotta. Amusingly this often makes him resemble the Pillsbury dough boy, appropriate for a film this stodgy. Speaking of CGI, it’s been some time since I’ve witnessed visual effects of such staggeringly low quality. There are maybe a dozen decent shots but so many key moments resemble a Playstation game. Remember how shite the Scorpion King looked? He’s Gollum in comparison to some of the final composites that inexplicably made the grade in part 3! The Mummy 3 is a boring lifeless mess with only tiny flashes of the spirit of the old films.


~ by thewholebuffalo on July 18, 2009.

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