Monday, 6 July 2009

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

The curse of the threequels strikes again! This follow-up to the two Brendan Fraser Egyptian mummy capers well and truly sucks. Put it down to the non-convincing script with its duff dialogue and the non-stop bombardment of special CGI effects, but none of Fraser's previously goofy charm shines through and he just seems to be going through the motions. Rachel Weisz wisely ducked out of playing his wife and co-worker for the third time. In her place we have Maria Bello, who is not a bad actress, but she has no real rapport with Fraser and she has been given a lot of stick for her so-called phony English accent (it's not THAT bad). John Hannah is back, as annoying as ever, as her cowardly brother.

Having exhausted the possibilities in Egypt, the director Rob Cohen has moved the action to China where Fraser's son (one unmemorable Luke Ford) unearths the burial site of the long-dead emperor played by Jet Li. Unfortunately the latter has minimal opportunity to show his fighting skills, spends most of the movie in muddy mummy make-up, and definitely does not seem to be enjoying himself in the same way as he did in "The Forbidden Kingdom". Only Michelle Yeoh as the immortal entrusted to prevent Li's re-emergence manages to maintain her dignity.

The story -- such as it is -- matches the resurrected Li's army of terracotta warriors, in cahoots with the Chinese (?), fighting an army of dead skeletal martyrs raised by Yeoh, while all of the main characters attempt to administer the necessary coup de grace to prevent Li ruling the world. We are even given a flock of huge friendly yetis to add to the action. That was when I finally admitted that the film was an irredeemable mess rather than any sort of fun.
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