The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Movies Reviews Brendan Fraser
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Release Date: Aug. 1

Director: Rob Cohen

Writers: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar

Cinematographer: Simon Duggan

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Maria Bello

Studio/Run Time: Universal, 112 mins.

The best thing that can be said for the third Mummy movie is that it is slightly better than the new Indiana Jones movie, though that’s more of a slap in the face to George Lucas than a kiss on the Mummy‘s cheek. When Alex (Luke Ford), son of hero Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser), uncovers the dusty tomb of the Chinese Dragon Emperor, he triggers the sort of cascading traps often found in movieland burial sites. Sure, they’re all cribbed from the first three Indy movies, but they’re at least presented with the verve Crystal Skull lacked.

The emperor is Han (Jet Li), who attempted to forcefully unite China 2,000 years ago before being cursed by a woman (Michelle Yeoh) in love with his premier general. In classic adventure movie style, the original tomb opening leads to a chain of setpieces involving several Yeti, Han’s cursed form (a mummy cast in terra cotta) and a battle between his clay-cast army and Yeoh’s fighters resurrected from beneath the Great Wall of China.

The highlight here should be the interaction between fight stars Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh, and their battle might have been legendary if filmed 15 years ago in Hong Kong. But Li got more action in one scene of Hero than in this entire movie, and his confrontation with Yeoh is rote. Neither does director Rob Cohen understand how to use the perfectly malicious character actor Anthony Wong or Maria Bello, recruited to stand in for the departed Rachel Weisz.

Then again, Cohen doesn’t show much facility for anything at all, and the film’s early energy fades quickly. He relies heavily on Fraser’s mugging to carry a shrill feud between the elder and younger O’Connell and on heavy doses of slapdash CGI to adhere one setpiece to the next. Consistency? Tension? Wit? Forget about it. Each might as well be buried in a separate chamber underneath some foreboding desert. If we’re lucky, the inevitable fourth Mummy movie might attempt to dig up and reunite them.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin