Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Action,Adventure The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

I had bad feelings already going into this movie because my beloved Rachel Weisz had refused to reprise her role as Evelyn O’Connell. That shocked me when it was first announced, but then they told me that instead of writing her character off, they were going to replace her with Maria Bello. That really angered me. Nothing against Ms. Bello but I grew to love Weisz in her role and felt that she was irreplaceable no matter how ridiculous the previous two installments were. So with that in mind I went into this movie with a slight bias already in the back of my mind.

Returning to the series is Brendan Fraser as Rick O Connell and John Hannah as Jonathan. Newcomers for this movie are the legendary Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh who previously co starred with Li in the incredible movie Hero. Jet Li plays the evil dragon emperor, and Yeoh plays the sorceress who cursed him and his army to the depths of hell, where there is always a loophole apparently that they can return from the dead and reek havoc on the world. Also new to the series is Luke Ford who plays Evelyn and Rick’s son Alex. Now this is the truly scary part of the film in which we’re supposed to believe that this 30 something year old married couple can have a son that’s in his high twenty in years. It makes Juno look like the 40 year old Virgin. Now the acting is dismissive of course, nothing truly spectacular at all, less even than what you’d expect, and Jet Li gets much less screen time than I’d anticipated. Most of his character’s time on screen is spent in stone and sand form. At least the mummy in the previous films got nearly as much screen time as the hero, this time Jet Lie has been reserved for what can’t be more than fifteen minutes of showing his face which is a shame. Maria Bello cannot replace Rachel Weisz and I have nothing against her. However, now that I look back upon this movie I realize that bowing out was the smartest career move Weisz has made so far, which is also a shame. Fraser gives a adequate performance, though sometimes steeps down to horrible, Hannah plays his character role fine but he wasn’t given any good material to work with, and I have seen road kill that can act better than Mr. Ford. His performance was laughable at best and gag inducing at worst.  

The movie starts of with a brief history of the Dragon Emperor and how his army was cursed by the sorceress. She cursed him because she was in love with the Emperor’s general, and the Emperor had him killed because of it, and as we all know hell hath no fury like a woman scorn so the bitch turned him to a statue and had him imprisoned in a tomb for all of eternity while she stole the real secret spell to eternal life. Centuries later Alex finds the tomb and he’s apparently dropped out of college without his parents knowing, and Rick is showing contempt at how Alex has been behaving. Rick and Evelyn have actually retired now and Evelyn spends time trying to write a third book, (her first two, The Mummy and The Mummy Returns [haha…] were huge hits and she has promised the publisher a third one, let us only pray for her sake that it doesn’t follow the story of this film. Rick meanwhile spends his time fishing and…passing the time doing nothing. Soon a man approaches them with a mission to deliver an artifact to
China. This special artifact turns out to be the item that can awaken the Emperor and it holds drops from the pool of Eternal Life, and guarding the Emperor is some ninja chick that’s been there for hundreds of years to protect her, and she’s the daughter of the sorceress, and Alex falls for her as they try to stop the emperor who is obviously awakened, and Rick tries to patch up his fatherly relationship with his son, and it just goes on. You see that sentence that I just wrote, how it just rambled on and on? Well, that’s what this movie is like. It just seems to go on forever and ever without any real idea of what it really wants to be. Sometimes it tries to be a movie about a father and son competing and trying to patch things up, and then an action film, and then a comedy, but it never seems to find its balance and it all ends up as a mess.

The story here is also nothing short of Razzie worth. The place where these movies always lost me was in the characters always mentioning how it would be the end of the world if this or that happened. It went “If he is brought back to life we are all doomed” and then “if he reaches the tower we are all doomed” and then “if he drinks from the pool we are all doomed.” And it keeps going. At one point you would question the girl since obviously at every dooming step that the Mummy takes he needs to take on step further to truly achieve domination. It’s just very poor writing used to try and build up tension or suspense as they move towards a fight.

I’d like to throw in now something that I don’t want to get into to much detail. There are three Abominable Snowmen in this movie who protect the ninja girl that Alex loves and at one point they kick a bad guy over a gate and one Snowman raises his hand as if to say “TOUCHDOWN!” while the other cheers with his fists drawn in. It is idiotic things like this that make me want to gouge my eyes out during a movie.

The effects are mild, but they’ve never been truly spectacular in this series so I accepted what I got. Overall though the series seems to have lost all of it’s fun that it’s predecessors had. Perhaps it was the loss of Rachel Weisz, perhaps it was the switch to
China, or perhaps it was just the fact that the wait had been too long and people just didn’t care for another Mummy movie, especially after The Scorpion King which is considered part of the series. This movie has found the series way too far from its prime and it’s premise is ridiculous and overused. The acting is as close to horrible as you could get in a blockbuster movie and the effects aren’t enough to redeem it. The jokes fall flat for the most part and the characters are all “One Liner typewritten” characters for the most part, especially Jonathan, which makes this movie a complete mess, especially with the under use of Jet Li. I give this movie a 1/5 and wouldn’t even recommend it even to the most die hard Mummy fan.

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