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Coops went along to see The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and flexed his critic muscles with the below review.
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The Black Curtain Review
The Mummy first burst onto our screens as a new take on an old premise, with state of the art special effects and a vibrant, young cast. Nine years later and we have The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
Set in 1946, Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and wife Evelyn (Maria Bello) have settled into a rather dull retirement. When approached by a government agent for ‘one last job’, they journey to China to return a mystical gem known as the Eye of Shangri-La. Of course their son Alex (Luke Ford) happens to be there, having just unearthed an army of terracotta soldiers along with the cursed statue that was Emperor Han (Jet Li).
The third in the series, this film falls short of the original on several grounds. First, it’s the same old take on that old premise. The film only ventures into new territory in terms of geography, and like The Mummy Returns, the storyline mirrors the first, down to the mummy being cursed as a result of infidelity.
Secondly, there is the sudden jump in time. Like Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, there is a significant time difference from the previous film, with the characters having experienced all manner of adventures and learning new skills ‘during the war’. The rough and ready Egyptian look has been replaced by 40’s glamour, with the characters looking more appropriately attired to attend a Hollywood premiere than take on a rampaging clay mummy.
Also lacking is the fresh-faced cast. Brendan Fraser in particular borders on parodying the dashing figure of the original, while Maria Bello takes over the role of Evie from Rachel Wiesz, albeit with a faltering accent and lack lustre chemistry with Fraser. Jet Li has minimal screen time in the flesh as the villain of the piece, and spends the majority of it stalking and glaring. His martial arts ability aside, he lacks the menace that Arnold Vosloo’s Imhotep brought to the first film.
However, John Hannah is solid as ever, providing comedy relief as Evie’s brother Jonathan, while Australian Luke Ford is a predictable but serviceable as Alex.
The film is best described as a mildly entertaining piece of fluff. There are some entertaining action sequences, with some quality special effects and occasional comedy, but it struggles to hold a candle to the original film.