There have already been quite a few summer action blockbuster movies this year, and the “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” tries to sneak in and make an impact. It is not going to succeed. With “The Dark Knight” already getting incredible critical and box office success, any other movie following that one is doomed, at the best, to be mediocre.
The Mummy franchise returns for a third time and the tragedy of this instalment is just how much of a good thing it squanders. It had millions of dollars and some semblance of an interesting story. But it is unforgivable for the way it wastes some very fine Asian actors like Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh.
The film makers chose to ignore any kind of story and the potential good acting at hand, and chose to just go for as many explosions and as much noise as possible. The plot seems to be at the service of action and some exotic locales. It takes us to the deserts of China, the Himalayas and even allows us to encounter some snow animals called yeti.
Even the dependable actor, Brendan Fraser, gets very little from the script to build on. Another fine actress, Maria Bello, is not allowed to sink her teeth into the role. There is no chemistry between these two lead actors or between Fraser and Luke Ford, who plays his son. Ford could go down as the most bland character in an action movie this year.
The movie starts with a flashback from history of an ancient emperor along with his army being turned to clay by a spell cast by a woman. The woman is in love with another man and the emperor is against this union. Fast forward a few thousand years and Luke Ford’s character has discovered this tomb, and well, all hell breaks loose after this. This is also the point where the movies starts losing its wheels and just rambles on, taking us for an inconsequential ride.
The only good thing about this movie is the action. It delivers in some way.
There is nothing new in terms of technique or filming, but it does strive hard to thrill. Pre-teens may find this appealing and adults looking for a good break from anything cerebral might also appreciate the explosions.
The director Rob Cohen might have understood this a little too well and thinks he doesn’t have to offer anything more than that. The writers, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, are not interested in coming up with anything fresh or even aware of the sheer acting potential in all their actors. Each of these actors has won rave reviews for at least one other performance in other movies. They could have been given much more to handle in this one.
This movie works best when there are no expectations and demands. For the sake of pure thrill and mindless fun with action in exotic locales, this movie will satisfy.
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah
Director: Rob Cohen
Producer: Stephen Sommers, James Jack, Bob Ducsay, Sean Daniel