The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

On DVD: 
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 54 Minutes

Truth be told, I actually enjoyed the first two Mummy movies (the ones with Brendan Fraser, not to be confused with the classics featuring Boris Karloff and others). While they weren’t revolutionary or particularly original, they were fun, fast-paced diversions. The special effects were pretty solid and the storyline featured lots of globetrotting and the saving of the world from various supernatural beasties.

If this sounds a lot like another adventure hero by the name of Indy, that’s no coincidence. The first two owed a lot to the Indiana Jones series, but in a tip-of-the-hat/good-natured homage sort of way. There was enough to distinguish them from the Jones canon without making them seem like a straight rip-off.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case with the latest Mummy romp. Scenes and story beats seem like a bad knock-offs from Temple Of Doom (a highly improbable plane landing scene, a chase sequence in the streets of China, as well as a fight in a swanky Chinese restaurant), Raiders (a glowing stone revealing the hidden location of a secret destination) and even Last Crusade (a clichéd resolution of a clichéd father-son conflict).

When it’s not stealing a page from the Indy book, it’s continually being self-referential in a laborious and obvious sort of way. When Brendan Fraser’s character yells out “Here we go again!” early on in the film, I almost expected his wife and son to start an expository discussion spelling how this was the third time that they had tangled with mummies. The dialogue is so poor, it’s beyond cringe-worthy. There’s a scene involving the O’Connell clan flying to China and for some reason there’s a yak onboard the plane. Due to inclement weather conditions, the yak ends up puking on one of the characters. The line he utters in response? “The Yak yakked.” Wow.

The sad thing is that there are flashes of decent ideas and effects throughout the film. I dug the thought of Yetis actually being creatures that you could communicate with and the look of Jet Li’s Emperor was pretty well done. The action sequences were fairly solid…but none of this can uphold the heavy weight of suck that drags this mess down.

There are all sorts of behind-the-scenes features and bonus stuff on this two-disc set, but with a movie this bad, does it really even matter? For a limited time, this version also comes with a digital copy for your computer or iPod. But do you really want to infect your digital media machines with something this terrible? I wouldn’t advice it. And I wouldn’t recommend giving this a spin either.

Jeremy Hunt
Review by Jeremy Hunt
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