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The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (SE)
DVD disk
12.18.2008 By: Jason Adams
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (SE) order
Director:
Rob Cohen

Actors:
Brendan Fraser
Maria Bello
Jet Li

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The O’Connell family is back once again fighting the awaken undead, this time in China when a 5,000 year old evil emperor is resurrected and threatens to unleash his army of terra cotta soldiers to take over the world.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
It was around the time the token Asian girl summoned a pack of yetis to attack the Chinese military that I decided MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR was a pretty random movie. A few minutes later Jet Li’s undead Emperor Han entered the Pool of Immortality and came out as a three headed hydra dragon thing, followed by him transforming in to a troll from Where The Wild Things Are, and I decided the latest movie in the MUMMY franchise did not exist as a story to be told, but simply as a vehicle for Rob Cohen to do things he thought might look cool onscreen.

If you’ve seen and enjoyed the previous MUMMY films for what they were, campy adventure fun, then it’s not horribly painful revisiting the characters again older (but not much wiser); however, the new film doesn’t live up to even the meager standard set before. I like Maria Bello andshe does what she can as Replacement Evey, but is just missing the spark that Rachel Weisz brought to the cast. Besides that it’s business as usual (just dumbed down even further), with Brendan Fraser playing goofy action star, exotic locales and plenty of shooting and swordfighting with the CGI undead. The humor was welcome in previous installments, but this time around it was too cutesy and self-referential, with about fifty winking jokes about mummies.

The one thing I did dig about the flick was the impressive Asian cast they were able to put together, including Hong Kong staples like Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Anthony Wong and Russell Wong. I wish the long awaited fight between Li and Yeoh had been a bit more involved, but I guess you can’t expect too much from a big budget American movie. Li honestly isn’t in the film as much as you’d expect, being replaced 5 minutes in by a computerized counterpart, and only coming back in the end for a couple lame fights. Having Jet Li fight CGI creatures is a colossal waste, and then having him lose to Encino Man in a fight is just a slap in the face. I’m sorry, if Jet Li was an undead immortal warrior in real life, there would just be no stopping him. We would all be, as his character in THE ONE said, his bitches.

I would also like to note for the record that the majority of the CG in this movie is horrible, so if you wanted to see something on par with the impressive creature effects from the previous movies, don’t waste your time. The part where Jet Li turns to mud in the beginning looks like unfinished previz.
THE EXTRAS
The 2-Disc Deluxe Edition has some decent stuff on it. If you don’t care about bonus material there’s also a single disc version that’ll save you a few bucks.

Commentary by director Rob Cohen: Cohen does what he calls a “free association” commentary, which means it’s heavy on basic plot description and random ramblings. No need to listen.

Deleted/Extended Scenes (10:46): Small additions here and there. Nothing much, though I suppose a few seconds more of Jet Li fighting is a good thing.

Making Of (22:48): Some standard behind the scenes stuff, with both fun and problems on set—training, stunts, set design, effects—all packaged together nice and shiny.

From City to Desert (15:44): Location scouting and shooting all over China…sounds like such a chore.

Legacy of the Terra Cotta (13:35): Cohen is a big fan of Chinese culture and history and it’s obviously worked in to the story, as illustrated here. Honestly, it’s a pretty good idea to use in a mummy movie. I’ve been lucky enough to go to Xi’An and see the terra cotta warriors for myself and it’s pretty damn impressive.

A Call to Action (4:45): A look at casting the film. They were able to get together a great cast of Asian actors.

Jet Li and Brendan Fraser (10:41): A feature on fight choreography in the film in general, culminating in the end fight between Li and Fraser. It’s hilarious seeing a bunch of American people give Li fighting advice.

Jet Li: Crafting The Emperor Mummy (8:00): See how they turned Jet Li in to a mummy (even though he’s really not) and the digital effects used to do so. The words “photoreal” and “cutting edge” are used. Not so fast guys!

Creating New and Supernatural World (8:35): The sets and locations are impressive in the film, but I feel most of this material was already covered in other features.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
It’s not like the previous MUMMY movies were that great, but at least they knew they were supposed to be fun and campy and ridiculous. This one was campy and ridiculous, but missed out on all the fun, mainly due to a lacking story. It also wastes Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh, which I’m sure is against the law in Asia somewhere.

Extra Tidbit: The movie also didn’t really contain any mummies. Lies!
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