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Inferior to the First Two, but Still Fun to Watch!

  • Dec 30, 2008

Several years have passed since "The Mummy" (1999) and "The Mummy Returns" (2001) had made decent box-office outings. The second sequel (arguably unneeded sequel) to the action-fantasy franchise has a different director at the helm, in the name of Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious). If the first two films were any indication, Stephen Sommers is indeed a good action director; he knows how to make the wide camera angle, doesn't rely on slow motion and how to make his actors look quite good. Rob Cohen also has a good resume, but you can tell that Sommers' absence was felt, but the film does have that Sommers‘ pace. (Sommers is present as producer)

Thousands of years ago, an evil emperor who has mastered the mystic arts have the malevolent intentions to take over the entire world. Betrayed by his general (Russell Wong), and cursed by the beauteous witch, Zi Yuan (Michelle Yeoh), the evil emperor was buried under the sands of time. Now awakened by an ambitious military leader (Anthony Wong), it is up to Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn O'Connell (Maria Bello), together with their all-grown up son Alex (Luke Ford) and the mysterious Lin (Hong Kong's own Isabella Leong) to try to stop the second rise of the evil emperor and his army. Here we go again….

The film's plot is very simple and feels like a rehash of the first two installments. The script by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar is mainly built around the action and is full of familiar plot elements that it offers no surprises. While it's not exactly a lost cause, since there are some new additions to the screenplay that helped it out--(the Tibetan CGI kindly Abominable Snowmen, subtle doses of humor, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh) the film does lack a good dose of emotions. The father and son relationship offers nothing we haven't seen before, the bored "retired" adventurers gimmick, and the awakening of the two armies of the dead to oppose each other has been done numerous times.

The performances by the cast is good for the most part. Brendan Fraser is in familiar territory and Maria Bello (who takes over the sorely missed Rachel Weisz's role) does a convincing English woman. The two do have chemistry but they have so little to work with and they look too young and unconvincing to have a grown-up son. Speaking of chemistry, there are no sparks between Luke Ford and beauteous Isabella Leong, their time together onscreen falls flat. Leong is a capable actress (as proven in her Asian films) but her character is so severely underdeveloped along with Michelle Yeoh‘s. Which is such a pity since Lin and Zi Yuan are the most interesting characters in the film. This would be difficult to do, since they may steal the spotlight from Rick and Evy, but the film would have stayed aloft if their characters took on more than supporting roles. Jet Li had limited screen time but he does still have that charisma that catches your eye, Li can act and fit's the role of the emperor. However, to hamper the actors further, the dialogue of the film is VERY clichéd that it proved a little empty. I did say that there were subtle bits of humor that helped a little but I didn't say they were original.

Thankfully, the action sequences were nice to watch. The film has some nicely placed scenes of action, the shots are "spiffy" and the CGI effects, while not the best we've seen are quite good. Although the use of effects are somewhat clichéd also. Water and ice effects, wind and fire, there's even a nice looking three headed dragon and the snowmen, armies of the dead--all good but not groundbreaking. The fights were good but not great, this is the part that you feel that it was fluid enough but it could have been better. I missed Stephen Sommers even though Rob Cohen did a good job I think.

In closing, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" is fun enough on the entertainment factor but it just feels a little flat. The action sequences were good but without the proper set up and emotions, the action felt like it was a simple excuse to delay the film's outcome. The film is so predictable that it throws its punches too soon and it overlooked several details that the story itself was also underdeveloped and full of holes. The film isn't as good or as entertaining as the first two films, but thankfully, it wasn't much, much worst.

Recommended with caution, rent it first [2 ½ +Stars]

Video/Audio: 2.35 ratio anamorphic widescreen. The picture is quite nice, although a bit soft on some scenes. Accurate colors and solid blacks make the transfer very attractive. The 5.1 Dolby digital track is strong and clear but it could have been stronger.

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August 05, 2010
I'm in violent agreement with your assessment of this movie, and thought it borrowed quite a bit from "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" especially Michelle Yeoh's character. She was essentially playing the same role in both movies.
August 05, 2010
I liked this one more so than most but Li should have been used alot more.
More The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon ... reviews
review by . May 11, 2009
The Mummy 3 is not only a contender for one of the worst films ever made, but it represents almost everything that's wrong with modern cinema made for the A.D.D. txt'g iPhone generation, who wouldn't know a decent plot if it BFF'd them with a custom homepage on Facebook. This film stinks so badly that it's hard to know where to start when every single element, from dialog to plot to acting, is vying for a lifetime achievement award at the Razzie Awards.  Personally, I'd never heard of …
review by . February 04, 2009
I'd have to say that The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor was no where near as good as the previous two films for many a reason...    The biggest problem I had with this film was the lack of Rachel Weisz as Eveyln. Instead Maria Bello came into this film as her replacement and had absolutely no chemistry with Brendan Fraser what so ever. They might as of cast...well.. Rachel Weisz. It actually felt as if Maria Bello was trying to be Kate Beckensale and she couldn't even do that …
review by . February 27, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Movie franchises, unlike most other human creations, often get worse with each subsequent incarnation. This is quite aptly illustrated with Brendan Fraser's Mummy franchise. The first Mummy came out in the spring of 1999, and was a commercial hit and probably the 2nd best movie of that year after the Matrix. The 2nd Mummy came out several years later, and though interesting, had some ludicrious scenes in it. This most recent Mummy just sucked. If there was ever a perfect example of a movie in which …
review by . November 15, 2008
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn (Maria Bello) are retired   2. They should have left it at that   3. They travel to China to return an artifact, and have an unexpected family meeting   4. Despite all odds and opportunities, they manage to fail to prevent the awakening of Emperor Han (Jet Li) and his terracotta army   5. The plot goes from farfetched to abominable         T …
review by . December 18, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Best to view this on a nice big television screen with a good upscaling DVD player, and a fabulous sound system with subwoofer. The Mummy is a visual and audio barrage - maybe even fireworks.    The story line is choppy, definately. It really doesn't make a ton of sense. The thing looks like Indiana Jones made all over again. This time with better computer graphics and better sound.     Brendan Fraser is sort of likeable here, just about the same character …
review by . December 12, 2008
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There are a few reviewers who have said that these movies are great escapism, they're not meant to be taken seriously nor are the characters. The characters seem to be mere extensions of the old action movie clichés of the past with Brendan Fraser being the tough talking action hero, and John Hannah being the wimpy slimeball who always survives thanks to the heroes. I have to be thruthful and say I've never watched the first two Mummy movies in their entirety, I have only caught them either at the …
review by . November 20, 2008
I did not believe that this movie could possibly be so bad until I saw it. I would have left when the Yeti came out except I was surrounded on either side. There is absolutely no chemistry between any of the characters-- they all act as though they are on the stage saying their lines by themselves. Brendan Frazier maintains one tone of voice throughout-- irritated and loud. Maria Bello as Evie is too "suave" with none of the endearing clumsiness of Rachel Weisz, and it looks as though she and Fraser …
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The third film in theThe Mummyseries freshens the franchise up by setting the action in China. There, the discovery of an ancient emperor's elaborate tomb proves a feather in the cap of Alex O'Connell (Luke Ford), a young archaeologist and son of Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Evelyn (Maria Bello, taking over the role from Rachel Weisz). Unfortunately, a curse that turned the emperor (Jet Li) and his army into terra cotta warriors buried for centuries is lifted, and the old guy prepares for world domination by seeking immortality at Shangri La. The O'Connells barely stay a step ahead of him (climbing through the Himalaya mountains with apparent ease), but the action inevitably leads to a showdown between two armies of mummies in a Chinese desert.The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperorhas a lot to offer: a supporting cast that includes the elegant Michelle Yeoh, Russell Wong, and Liam Cunningham, the unexpected appearance of several Yeti, and a climactic battle sequence that is nightmarishly weird but compelling. On the downside, the charm so desperately sought in romantic relationships, as well as comic turns by John Hannah (as Evelyn's rascal brother), is not only absent but often annoying. Rarely have witty asides in the thick of battle been more unwelcome in a movie. Rob Cohen's direction is largely crisp if sometimes curious (a fight between Fraser and Jet Li keeps varying in speed for some reason), but his vision of Shangri La, in the ...
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Genre: Action, Adventure
DVD Release Date: December 16, 2008
Runtime: 112 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
First to Review

"Feet of clay"
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