Alex O’Connell is all grown up now and excavating his own dig sites in the Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. This installment of the series, directed by first time Mummy director Rob Cohen (Fast and the Furious), has the O’Connell’s taken from the sand’s of Egypt and dropped into China where their son has resurrected the infamous Emperor Han (Jet Li). Han, having conquered everything under the heavens had looked for a way to become immortal and found it in Zi Juan (Michelle Yeoh), a beautiful mystic who falls for his General played by Russell Wong (Romeo Must Die).
When the Emperor believes he has gained his immortality he separates the two forever only to find that instead of immortality he and his entire army have been cursed and sentenced to remain as clay forever. Hundreds of years later a plan is set in motion by General Yang played by Anthony Wong Chau-Sang (Infernal Affairs, Black Mask) to bring the Dragon Emperor back to life.
After the first few minutes of the film the first thought that popped into my head was that the franchise needed new blood at the helm. Stephen Sommers, though he made the franchise popular, to me, always had a very dry delivery at director. The scenery was consistent at all times and his direction of the actors always seemed too lax. Cohen brings some very extravagant looking scenery to his contribution to the series with a rural look at England, the busy streets of China, the unforgiving landscapes of the Himalayas. The feeling of claustrophobia is gone with all these new places the audience is transported to in the film.
I was disappointed with Maria Bello’s performance as Evelyn. She couldn’t pull off the accent, her mannerisms were all different, and the character itself was nothing like the way that Rachel Weisz portrayed it. It was a distraction to say the least and I couldn’t help but wonder why they hadn’t just killed her character off or simply made this a Father Son film with Weisz character off promoting her book dropping them a line every now and then. Another huge frustration for me was John Hannah’s role as the seedy brother-in-law Jonathon. His part was completely dedicated to one liners that didn’t even belong in the film nor were needed. His character proved useless and I wish they would have just left him out. More disappointment goes into the under use of both Jet Li and Michelle Yoeh. Why bring in two of the greatest Asian stars and then give them such minuscule roles? Lastly, and my wife pointed this out to me. What happened Alex O’Connell’s English accent that was so prevalent in the Mummy 2? That might just be knit picking but still.
The film is good up to a point and then it simply becomes silly. I know it’s a summer popcorn flick but you know what they say about the third time being the charm. This was not it. It will make loads of cash simply for the Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh draw but I have a feeling a lot of people who pay to see this film will be just as disappointed as I was.