Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor **

Director: Rob Cohen
Brendan Fraser,
Maria Bello
Jet Li,
John Hannah,
Luke Ford
Isabella Leong,
Michelle Yeoh

Set fourteen years after "The Mummy Returns", this new adventure has the O'Connells, Rick (Fraser) and Evy (Bello) living a quiet life in England, while their son Alex (Ford) uncovers the tomb of the legendary Emperor Han (Li) in China.
Looking to put some excitement back into their lives, Rick and Evy sign up for a special mission and in Shanghai discover that there's a plot to bring back to life the emperor their son found.
Soon enough they are all involved in an exciting chase that has them travelling through the Himalayas, battling a Terracotta army and looking for the mysterious Shangri-La.
If we can make it with CGI, it will happen, seems to be the ongoing motto of the film, which features a constantly renewing mummy, who like most of the film has lost the thrilling sense of surprise and tries to impress by exploiting its resources.
The film is often at its best when it captures the interaction between Rick and Evy, with Fraser relying on his great charm to convince us he does this as a lifestyle and while it's tricky to get adjusted to Rachel Weisz's change, Bello reinvents Evy, as a less bookish, more strong willed woman just coming to terms with the power of her sexuality.
Li is used as a token martial arts expert and Hannah, as he has in previous entries, pretty much steals every scene he's in as well as Yeoh, who has the presence of a grand dame of cinema and happens to know how to high kick.
While the previous entries (particularly the first one, which was a breath of fresh air in the adventure blockbuster) had the situations unfold at the service of an innocent, exciting story, every scene here seems to have been made for the mere purpose of leading to a gargantuan battle between dead armies, which sadly is less impressive than director Cohen thinks and the film sometimes tries too hard to impress its audience.
The original "Mummy" was bold enough to create terror with shadows and the appearance of a shaky hand wrapped in bandage, while this one with all its explosions, chases and effects never musters a gasp.
Whatever happened to this film that made it think of wonder as an archaelogical artifact?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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 _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 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