The Mummy Returns (2001)
Director: Stephen Sommers
Rick (Fraser) and Evelyn (Weisz) are now married and have a little brat named Alex (Boath). The Mummy (Vosloo) returns and gets reunited with his lost love (Velazquez), after which, everybody starts fighting. Why can’t they all just get along? Isn’t the world big enough for everyone? Oh and The Rock shows up for like three seconds to body slam people in the desert…fun?
This sequel to the smash hit The Mummy has bigger effects, bigger fight scenes and a bigger plot but that doesn’t make it better than the original. It actually made me appreciate the simplicity of the first. Here, the plot is all over the place…I understood it when I saw it but don’t ask me to got into details about it because I’ll get a headache. The overly complex plot and the dazzling effects rob this sequel of something that was precious in the original: the charm. Gone is the magic between Rick and Evelyn (marriage does that to ya) and even though they do make out a lot, much like a real marriage...it feels forced and the chemistry is just not there. Also gone is the slapstick element that was so prominent in the original’s fight sequences and gone are most of the laughs. At least John Hannah (Jonathan) still does his greedy, drunken shtick…thanks, dude!
The script also makes a fatal mistake in regards to the main characters and that’s having some of them be re-incarnations of ancient Egyptian figures, tying them into the whole Im-Ho-Tep subplot. That new layer makes way for lots of corny, mumbo jumbo dialogue (mostly spit out by Oded Fehr who does the "Yoda" thang) about understanding your past to live your future or some crap like that. It distanced the heroes from me and from a pacing point of view, it slowed things down in the film.
The most interesting characters in this film are actually the villains. I was happy to see The Mummy in “Arnold Vosloo” mode most of the time. I dig Vosloo a lot and he brings humanity to the part. In the last 15 minutes, you will feel very bad for his character…I did…poor chump! Patricia Velazquez (Anck-Su-Namun) is also seen way more than in the original and I enjoyed her presence. She makes a dark and sexy villain.
And the effects and the action sequences, you may ask? Well, they are pretty fun stuff. The first action sequence with the mummies chasing the bus is a blast, the waterfall attack is fun times (but is a shameful rip-off of the sand storm attack in the first one), the dog head soldiers are gnarly and the little buggers in the woods attack is pretty amusing (rip-off of the raptor scene in Jurassic Park mixed in with Gremlins). The hand-to-hand fight scenes are better than in the first, they have tighter choreography and are more intense. On the down side, “The Scorpion King” CGI effects during the finale are way cheesy and reminded me of my WWF Playstation Game that has The Rock in it…but I guess we can’t have everything…
The Mummy Returns has many flaws but it entertains…I can’t deny that. The story didn’t really captivate me but the effects and the edge of your seat action had me grinning. It’s like watching a video game on a big screen. Now do you want to play Mummy Returns?
The most we get is a chewed up hand. Apart from that, we get some light stabbing and sword impaling, we get a great close-up of the Mummy’s half reconstructed face and even the scarabs return to crawl under some people’s flesh…alright the film is dryer than a 85-year old hooker…
Brendan Fraser (Rick) does what he has to do…too bad his one liners are not as sharp as in the first. Rachel Weisz (Evelyn) is not as charming either but at least she still looks good and gets to kick some major arse here. John Hannah (Jonathan) is just funny…in every scene he’s in. Arnold Vosloo (Im-Ho-Tep) is the man. He doesn’t talk much but he communicates a lot with his facial expressions. The man’s got presence. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbage (Lock Nah) is hilarious as the villain and his bantering with Freddie Boath (Alex) cracked me up. Boath actually didn’t get on my nerves as much as I thought he would. He takes off where Fraser left in regards to the wisecracking and he’s good at it. His emotional scenes are a tad weak though. Oded Fehr (Ardeth) is great in the fight sequences but the dialogue he’s given makes him look bad…that damn bird too. Dwayne Johnson (Scorpion King) does the same thing that he does in the ring as “The Rock”…not much acting here. Patricia Velazquez (Anck-Su-Namun) is charming in a dark way and her coldness actually turned me on.
T & A
Patricia Velazquez (Anck-Su-Namun) shows up in that see-through dress from the first one. Rachel Weisz (Evelyn) wears a really nice tight top and Arnold Vosloo shows off his “bench press” chest again. If you’re a guy you won’t get much, but if you’re a girl or a gay man…it’s all about Vosloo…dig in…
Sommers puts more jelly in this donut than he did in the first. He slaps in some kool slow motion sequences and some slick quick cuts…especially in the hand-to-hand fight sequences. Is he taking “John Woo” lessons or what? The action scenes have that light, fun energy going for them. When this film is on…it's on!
Your typical but very effective action/epic-like score.
The original Mummy wasn’t very original (a lot of Indiana Jones in there) and this sequel isn’t either (Rick even wears a Indy hat at a certain point). I mean, it even rips itself off (with the water scene). But just like the original film, this one made me smile and forget my troubles for two hours and I guess that’s worth something. It won’t win a “Best Screenplay” award but it might save a couple of people from committing suicide. I can’t wait for the Playstation game to come out!
Director Sommers on how he knew there was going to be a sequel to The Mummy: "The movie opened on a Friday night and at 6 AM Saturday, Ron Meyer called and said, 'We want another.' I stuttered a bit, didn't sleep for a week, and after that, sat down and started writing."
Am I the only one that got the E.T reference? My question is when will Spielberg sue?