Newest ‘Mummy’ is fast-paced, fun
Vail CO, Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” The good news is that “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” is better than I ever thought it could be, which is saying a lot. Usually it’s not a good sign when half of the original starring cast doesn’t sign on to another sequel, but in this case nothing is really lost in the shuffle, so anyone comfortable with the previous Mummy installments will find themselves right at home with this one.
Unfortunately, it all feels like it’s been done before. In fact, if “Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” ripped off the Indiana Jones films anymore it would have to give the rights to George Lucas. But despite the fact that you’ll recognize the influence of a thousand other movies while watching it, the newest Mummy manages to stay highly entertaining, even un-PC at times, which is refreshing in an the action-fantasy genre where real-world principles should never apply in a very strict sense.
Never a dull moment
The movie starts out with a “Lord of the Rings”-esque telling of the evil Emperor Han’s (Jet Li as the Dragon Emperor) rise to power in ancient China using his mastery of the five elements and a powerful army. Like all good power-hungry villains, this just isn’t enough for him, so he enlists the help of a beautiful witch named Zi Yuan (Michelle Yeoh) to find the secret of immortality, thus enabling him to defeat his one remaining enemy: death. Instead of living forever, though, Yuan curses Han and his entire army after Han kills Yuan’s true love and the father of her only child.
Cut to 1947 when the emperor’s tomb is discovered by the son of legendary mummy slayers Rick (Brandon Fraser) and Evelyn (Maria Bello) O’Connell, and more whacky mummy hi-jinx ensue. Of course, being a Mummy movie, there’s action aplenty, whether it’s watching the O’Connell family survive a mountain-top landing in a bi-plane or seeing two undead armies battle it out for control of China, the movie never gets boring.
Action over acting
One complaint though; some of the computer effects were lackluster, sub par to what we’ve been seeing in films like “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight.” The visuals are at their best when not relying on computers but on good old fashioned truck chases and martial arts fight scenes.
At least “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” doesn’t take itself too seriously. Director Rob Cohen ( “XXX,” “Stealth”) knows what drives the Mummy franchise and it ain’t the acting. Although adequate, none of the actors have time to show off their chops in between all the explosions and avalanches, so don’t look for too many Oscar moments.
Just like the mummies in the films, these sequels keep popping up despite the lack of demand, and although this one succeeds at pleasing the light summer-fun crowd, I for one hope this is the last resurrection of The Mummy in my lifetime.
High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or email@example.com.