PLOT: Rick and Evelyn O’Connell have left their Mummy hunting days far behind. But it seems that their not so young son Alex has taken to the pursuit of history. He finds the legendary Emporor Han and his army, who had been cursed and turned to stone. When mom and pop find out what is going on, of course this ancient relic takes form. Soon, the family is doing battle with Han’s army, but they find help with the woman that cursed him so long ago, Zi Juan. Yep, she’s quite old, and she has a hot daughter that seems to be the perfect date for Alex. Basically, it is a series of action sequences with some “romance and comedy” sprinkled about.
REVIEW: It looks like another Mummy is rising to get all CG on Brendan Fraser and company. This time, it is a brand new mummy in the form of Jet Li, and he has a bunch of mummy friends to spread some CG rampage all around. There are all sorts of beasties that are growling and just making scary faces, including a few conveniently helpful Yetis. This movie has it all. In fact, it has way too much going on. There is action sequence after action sequence after action sequence and the problem is, none of it is very exciting. I will say that the visual effects looked better than the first two, but just because you can make anything happen on screen doesn’t mean you should.
It is hard to really pinpoint the problem on just one thing in the latest adventures of Rick and Evelyn O’Connell (Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello), because so much of it doesn’t work. You could start with the obvious, the utter lack of chemistry between the now grown up Alex O’Connell (Luke Ford) and his romantic interest Lin (Isabella Leong). Besides the fact that Alex has grown up just a little less quickly as Corey Feldman’s character in FRIDAY THE 13th: THE FINAL CHAPTER (he was replaced by the much older John Shepherd, after only a year after in FRIDAY THE 13th: A NEW BEGINNING). That whole aging quickly thing might annoy a few, but I’m sure many a teenage girl will find Mr. Ford dreamy. And he is likeable enough on his own, as is Leong. But the two of them together is a painfully bland combination.
Speaking of odd casting choices, as much as I love Maria Bello, it is going to be a bit hard to swallow for fans of the franchise to believe her as Evelyn. I personally didn’t mind, although her British dialect seemed a bit too proper and rehearsed. It would have been a smarter choice to make her a new character all together and have Rachel Weisz taking a vacation or something like that. Yet there is one moment where Evelyn describes herself as a new person. I thought that was clever, even if it was incredibly silly. But I do feel that at least Brendan and Maria didn’t feel as false and dull as Alex and Lin. And to put the problems of this film all on the casting choices wouldn’t be true at all. I felt for the most part, they did their job and gave capable performances off of a CG Jet Li and his army.
No, the real problem with this film is just the constant barrage of over the top heroics and ridiculously lame dialogue. The special effects seem to be much better this time around, but after awhile it was just overkill. I think that Rob Cohen delivered on a few of the set pieces, but after awhile the roller coaster ride just came to a lethargic and anti-climactic snails pace of halt. The action never lets up, in the sense that it remains one-note when each adventure seems to feel like the one before. And aside from a few slight comedic moments throughout, there is very little to get excited about. I will give credit to John Hannah, who returns as Jonathan Carnahan. He is able to add a couple of laughs here and there, while not all of his jokes work; he is a talented actor who should get better opportunities than he does. I guess in all fairness, the script feels so haphazard and out of sync that the rest of the film just followed suit. Maybe if you are a huge Mummy fan you will have fun with this, but if you are a casual viewer, be warned, this thing is cursed.