Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Review - The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

The O'Connell family is thrusted back into another Mummy adventure when Rick and Evelyn's son, Alex has recently excavated the evil Emperor Han. The first Emperor of Quin and his army were cursed into a 2,000 year slumber by a sorceress, who turned the Emperor and his 10,000 soldiers into a terra cotta statues. Alex O'Connell and his parents accidentally awaken the Emperor and must race to stop the shape-shifting and element controlling mummy, before he awakens his entire terra cotta legions and gains immortality.

Rob Cohen directs the newest installment in the Mummy franchise and does a modest job of trying to retain the original feel of the first two films. While Tomb of the Dragon Emperor wasn't great, it still entertained and kept my interest throughout. All of the special effects and action were real good again. I loved the Yeti during the Himalayas sequences and the slain undead warriors that are risen to avenge Emerpor Han. A couple downsides to the newest Mummy, alot of the campy jokes fell flat this time around. I had big problems with the family dynamic too. The father and son relationship was straining at best, and Maria Bello just didn't work as Evelyn O'Connell. Jet Li as the Dragon Emperor had some cool tricks, but he was not scary or daunting in the slightest. Imhotep in comparison was a far more villainous mummy.

Maria Bello, as good as an actress she is, felt awkward in the role made famous by Rachel Weisz (She also looked too old compared to Fraser). Her and Fraser did not have the same chemistry as Weisz and Fraser, and it was very noticable throughout. She did work well as the mother figure to Alex and her and Luke Ford had some very good exchanges. Though, overall I found her more of a distraction in the film. The weirdest part, is she sounds just like Rachel Weisz from the first two, but then you look at her and see Maria Bello.

Brendan Fraser hasn't changed much at all, his performance is the same as in the first two films. The big difference this time around is, almost all of his jokes fall very flat, and barely conjure up even a chuckle! I do not blame Fraser for this, but more the writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, who failed to catch the same campy but funny vibe from the first two Mummy films. Fraser's relationship on screen with his son Alex was very annoying. It seemed right out of 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade', the father that doesn't believe the son knows what he is talking about. I thought we have seen enough of the strained father and son relationship, but Cohen and the writers thought different.

The story itself is fairly good. There is not a whole lot to it, and it really follows the same pattern as the first film. (The Mummy is awoken and the O'Connell's must quickly try to destroy him before he is at full strength or can gain immortality) Luke Ford and Isabella Leong did have some great moments that brought back the original banter between Fraser and Weisz in the first film. The film ultimately did a okay job of keeping the franchise running (couldn't say I expected too much from Rob Cohen). The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor while not the best of the series, definately beats out the spin-off, 'The Scorpion King,'and keeps you entertained throughout. Finally, based on the semi-strong box office numbers, don't bet this is the last Mummy film from Universal either.


The one star I plopped on this clunky bore-athon is due to the presence of the great Jet Li as the evil Dragon Emperor of the subtitle and the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh as Zi Yuan, a witch who's been on the Emperor¹s ass for over 2000 years.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/movie/22126971/review/22126827/the _mummy_tomb_of_the_dragon_emperor
martial-arts superstar Jet Li triumphs as the mostly wordless evil Emperor Han of ancient China, a glowing magma spirit locked in a terra cotta shell.

Jane Horwitz
Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/31/AR2008 073100734.html

Still, Li makes a great villain, using his powers to create fire, ice and other elements.

Edward Douglas
Coming Soon

Toward the end of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh launch into a vigorous sword fight — and what a grand pleasure it is to watch these two world-class stars in action again...Their duel atop the Great Wall of China is a reunion of titans, an Old Timers' Day for two actor-athletes still in their sinuous prime. Forgive the effusions of an alter-kocker fanboy, but the flinty glamour of Li and Yeoh — buttressed by the stolid, sneering presence of top Hong Kong villain Anthony Wong Chau-sang (who in 1993 appeared in 15 films!) — is the best reason to catch this third in the series of Indiana Jones knockoffs.

Richard Corliss

A memorably badass Jet Li.
Nathan Rabin
AV Club

Sounds like Tomb of the Dragon Emperor met everyone's expectations... Brendan Frasier tries too hard to act, so you can tell he's acting