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Monday, August 04, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

I want my mummy. I do, and by that I mean the Egyptian kind, with cloth wrappings and rotting gooey innards like Imhotep had in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. In this latest installment of the series, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, not only is the title long-winded, but the plot is a bit of a stretch too since this “mummy” is actually the recently reconstituted evil Emperor Han (Jet Li; The Forbidden Kingdom) who has spent the last few thousand years as a terracotta statue after he was bewitched by the local sorceress, Zi Juan (Michelle Yeoh; Memoirs of a Geisha), who he double-crossed in an affair of the heart. I don’t think a statue coming to life technically counts as a “mummy”, but I do think anybody who would screw over a witch in one of these kinds of movies does deserve the title of “dummy.”

Of course it wouldn’t be a “Mummy” movie without Brendan Fraser (Journey to the Center of the Earth), as Rick O’Connell, the adventurer who helmed up the first two movies in the series. Now Rick and his wife Evelyn (in this episode played by Maria Bello; Downloading Nancy, replacing former “Evie” Rachel Weisz, who has now won an
Academy Award for The Constant Gardener and can’t be bothered with populist crap like this), are retired to their plusher-than-plush estate in Oxfordshire, England at the end of 1946.

It’s actually the O’Connells’ now grown son Alex (Luke
Ford; The Black Balloon) who digs up the statue and wants to make a name for himself in Dad’s former business, but without the raising of the dead part. However, this being The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, that’s not going to happen, so soon Alex and the whole family are reunited in Shanghai along with Uncle Jonathan (John Hannah; The Last Legion), and an out-of-nowhere convenient guide. Naturally, this guide, Lin (Isabella Leong; Missing), just happens to be a gorgeous and single woman with a mind for killing (or re-killing) the Emperor and with mysterious but ridiculously helpful “special abilities” and knowledge that are just what the travelers need as they begin a grand journey that takes them places you’d never expect.

Despite the faux mummy (I’m sorry, but he ought to be on display in some Chinese restaurant
grotto next to a lighted waterfall and with orchids growing out of his butt), you have to pretty much abandon your adulthood at the door when you come to see The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor or you’ll hate every minute of this absurd tale, but if you go in with your tongue set firmly in cheek and your mind in touch with your inner ten-year-old you’re going to have a blast.

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

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