Film review: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
2008
Relativity Media, The Sommers Company, Alphaville Films

STARRING Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah, Luke Ford, Michelle Yeoh, Isabella Leong
WRITTEN BY Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
PRODUCED BY Sean Daniel, Bob Ducsay, James Jacks, Stephen Sommers
DIRECTED BY Rob Cohen

SHOT BY Simon Duggan
EDITED BY Joel Negron, Kelly Matsumoto
MUSIC BY Randy Edelman
DISTRIBUTED BY Universal Pictures

Screened 2008-07-25

Desperately hungry for a franchise, any franchise, Universal has thrown $175 million dollars (virtually the cost of the first two Mummy films combined) into the, clearly, wholly superfluous sequel to the series that just kept making money. Brendan “Why Brendan Fraser?” Fraser strolls back into the shoes of Rick O’Connell, the casually unstoppable and now extraordinarily rich American treasure hunter. Equally interchangeable wife-character is now Maria Bello, with one tiny and vaguely entertaining nod to the audience as such. Fellow spunky and translucent O’Connell, the now grown son (Ford), follows in mom and dad’s footsteps by quite accidentally unearthing and resurrecting an ancient immortal despot – what’re the odds? And, per formula, John Hannah is in tow for absolutely no reason at all, again complaining the whole way through. 2008’s Mummy is the faux–first Chinese emperor (Li), whose efforts to become immortal backfired when he and his legions were turned into terracotta (it is easily imagined that this film was conceived after the writer saw a picture of Emperor Qin’s actual terracotta army and uttered, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?”). Stop Jet Li from reaching… um… Shangri La… yes, right, that place… and, uh… “finalizing” his immortality, so that then he can… um… well, let’s see… ah yes, resurrect his dead army and enslave humanity. Got it. Our formula is now in place for Mummy-action. Our enjoyment depends merely on this particular incarnation of the script and this new director at the helm. The result? Crash and burn, motherfuckers!

The film is about as fun as an evening spent dining out at T.G.I.Friday’s and about as funny as the funnies. Talentless shell of a man Rob Cohen sexifies this Mummy for the audience of seven-years-later, apparently doubling the budget in his requisites. Those funds did not inhibit the Mummy tradition of utilizing laughably obvious CGI, but rather made it so that during every quick cut there was something hugely expensive happening – unfortunately, the cutting is so lazily choppy that those spectacles often flit by in an instant. Each setpiece and scene is allegedly bigger-than-life but is introduced and carelessly discarded without fanfare – you get the sense that the film was struggling with itself to demand the right to its existence. Mummy 3 appears to be the perfect example a collection of suits in a boardroom glibly discussing what fodder they can throw at this summer’s audience, the notion of content being so irrelevant that if it were mentioned, all men would cease speaking and nervously side-glance at the taboo-sayer. I suppose the worst thing of all is that the film isn’t even enjoyable in that silly way where the previous Mummy films at least kind of succeeded. I believe it is evident that Stephen Sommers (Mummy champion) knew how to make a fun film, or at least had fun while making one. Rob Cohen is a whore. I’d like to say that again: Rob Cohen is a whore. Enunciate each syllable and speak slowly for full effect. He would rather look sexy than enjoy himself – he doesn’t appear to know how to have fun. So, Mummy 3 has come and will be accordingly forgotten tomorrow. Seriously, though – it is now a Mummy tradition for the main man to draw his respective pistol immediately after breaching and entering an ancient tomb. I cannot for the life of me imagine why.

written by David Ashley

Advertisements