The Mummy 3 (2008)
Director: Rob Cohen
Jet Li/Emperor Han
Some Chinese Emperor (Li) with a hard-on for that whole world domination thing gets another shot at his goals when he’s awaken from his slumber. It’s up to the O Connell clan to stop him with gun fire and one-liners.
I grooved to THE MUMMY for what it was, a punchy Indiana Jones meets The Mummy hybrid that aimed to please like a shameless hussy on her knees, earning that 2 dime tip fervently. I also boogied to its messy, overly ambitious yet still amusing sequel THE MUMMY RETURNS and now here I am thumb-wrestling THE MUMMY 3 Tomb of the Whatever, Whatever as if my life depends on it. Was it worth the strain?
THE MUMMY 3 felt like a paycheck movie through and through. The uninspired screenplay that basically ripped on the first two films reeked of penned with dough as the main motivator. Pedestrian and connect the dots with rarely a surprise in sight. Did they even TRY???? COME ON! Brendan Fraser barged in limp-dicked as well. The wit and enthusiasm he displayed in the first two films were sadly mostly absent here. To be fair to the dude, it’s not like the project gave him much to chew on. And the same can be barked about the care applied to the evolution of the narrative, the subplots, the characters and their relationships. What care you may ask? EXACTLY! Everything was so rushed, forced and slap dashed that I never got a shot at giving a an iota of a shit.
Then we had Rachel Weisz being MIA as Evelyn kicking in (She backed out after reading the script – great move!). Talented Maria Bello took over the role here and it just didn’t work for me. Not only did she pale in comparison to Weisz’ endearing show but she also sported NIL chemistry with Fraser. Add to all them BUMMERS, a criminally underused Jet Li , plot holes here and there, a total waste of what could’ve been a GREAT fight (Jet Li vs. Michelle Yeoh – why did that last 5 seconds?), the absence of actual Mummies in the flick (urg…pathetic), the bland (and suddenly way too old) son character snoozing the crap out of me and not a drop of horror atmosphere in sight (at least the preceding films had some) and you get a fart in the wind on most counts.
On the slight upside; the flick moved at an even pace hence was rarely boring. Once the initial premise established, it bombarded me silly-willy with “big” action bits that carried with them loud sound design, stylish/slow mo heavy shots and sprinkles of creativity. Were the CG heavy wam-bam scenarios soul-less and of the video game variety? Yes. Still somewhat entertaining though? Yup! Furthermore, the locations were slyly capitalized on, the production designs stellar (all right, I dug the Yeties, there, I said it), Jet Li owned when he was onscreen and you can rarely go wrong with John Hannah doing his thing. On the whole though; THE MUMMY 3 was as McProduct of a film as you can get. Lots of money thrown at the screen to cover up a thin script and the fact that everybody and their uncle’s bitches are cashing in. How Stephen Summer's (who only produced on this round) allowed this to happen is beyond me!
Some light blood and nasty acts being implied as opposed to shown. Dry.
Brendan Fraser (Rick) had his moments (the dude is funny) but he was mostly in the house to cash that check. Menacing Jet Li (Emperor Han) worked it hard when he was onscreen…which was alas mucho rarely. Maria Bello (Evelyn) did what she could but the fact that her and Fraser had ZERO spark and that the script mishandled the role didn’t work in her favor. John Hannah (Jonathan) made me smile a couple of times with his funny sidekick shtick - always worth something. Luke Ford (Alex O'Connell) was upstaged by his on and off Aussie accent popping out. Isabella Leong (Lin) had the looks and the chops – just not the role.
T & A
The ladies get a still buff Brendan Fraser shirtless and we…unfortunately…also get that damn Fraser shirtless.
Although ringer Rob Cohen did a decent and mostly workman like job on this one; the energy, potent atmosphere and wow factor found in the original and its sequel were out to lunch here.
Efficient yet generic “action/epic” score. It did the job and that’s as far as it went.
It’s like they say, if you’re going to do something, do it right or don’t do it at all. I don’t call doing a MUMMNY 3 with a toilet paper thin script, no Rachel Weisz, a punching in Brendan Fraser, an underused Jet Li and no mummies…doing it right. Now that I think of it, it doesn't feel like a treu sequel to the 2 Mummy movies, more like a poseur attempt. Sure some of the action scenes were entertaining on a cosmetic level, the che-ching was onscreen and I got a couple of cheap laughs out of it, but on the whole; THE MUMMY 3 was a text-book example as to how NOT do a movie. Where’s IMOTEP when you need him?
The emperor in Mummy 3 is based on real-life emperor Qin Shi Huang.
The film was shot in Montreal, Canada and China.
FOR IMOTEP'S RETURN AT THE MUMMY 3 OFFICIAL SITE