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  Publicity Stills of
"The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor"
(Courtesy from UIP)

Genre: Action/Adventure
Director: Rob Cohen
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah, Michelle Yeoh, Anthony Wong, Luke Ford, Isabella Leong, Russell Wong, Albert Kwan, Liang Tian
RunTime: 1 hr 52 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.themummy.com/

Opening Day: 31 July 2008


The blockbuster global "Mummy" franchise takes a spellbinding turn as the action shifts to Asia for the next chapter in the adventure series, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." Brendan Fraser returns as explorer Rick O'Connell to combat the resurrected Han Emperor (Jet Li) in an epic that races from the catacombs of ancient China high into the frigid Himalayas. Rick is joined in this all-new adventure by son Alex (newcomer Luke Ford), wife Evelyn (Maria Bello) and her brother, Jonathan (John Hannah). And this time, the O'Connells must stop a mummy awoken from a 2,000-year-old curse who threatens to plunge the world into his merciless, unending service.

Doomed by a double-crossing sorceress (Michelle Yeoh) to spend eternity in suspended animation, China's ruthless Dragon Emperor and his 10,000 warriors have laid forgotten for eons, entombed in clay as a vast, silent terra cotta army. But when dashing adventurer Alex O'Connell is tricked into awakening the ruler from eternal slumber, the reckless young archaeologist must seek the help of the only people who know more than he does about taking down the undead: his parents.

As the monarch roars back to life, our heroes find his quest for world domination has only intensified over the millennia. Striding the Far East with unimaginable supernatural powers, the Emperor Mummy will rouse his legion as an unstoppable, otherworldly force...unless the O'Connells can stop him first. Now, in "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," the trademark thrills and visually spectacular action of the "Mummy" series will be redefined for a new generation.

Movie Review:

The Indiana Jones wannabe adventurer Rick O’ Connell is back. And so is his wife Evelyn, as well as his brother John.

Aside from that, the third film in the Mummy franchise veers away from the origins of its two predecessors and goes where Hollywood likes to turn to for ideas most recently- China.

The Han emperor, bent on world domination, is the Imhotep, the baddie that Rick and his allies must send back to the dead where he belongs. Entombed in clay for 2,000 years, he is resurrected by the evil army General Yang (Anthony Wong in his sophomore Hollywood outing after The Painted Veil).

But wait…who is the mummy then, you ask? Strictly speaking, there is no mummy to be found here. Unless you consider the word in a figurative sense, of the dead coming back to life.

It has been seven years since The Mummy Returns was released, the last film of the Mummy saga opening to the tune of a US$68 million weekend in the US and a total worldwide gross of US$433 million. Indeed, the Mummy franchise was never quite dead at all.

The good news is this third film in the series doesn’t suck the life out of it. But neither does it inject it with a breath of fresh air. The Mummy and The Mummy Returns were meant to be perfect summer popcorn entertainment, the kind of movies that were designed for a thrill ride and nothing more. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor continues to deliver the thrills, though they do not seem as fresh the third time round.

Part of this has to do with timing. Barely three months after the latest Indiana Jones adventure, the setup of the characters in this latest Mummy film seems awfully similar to the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. Rick’s son, Alex (Luke Ford), is now all grown up and instead of going to college to study, he’s off to China raiding the Dragon Emperor’s tomb. Rick is the father who disapproves of his son following in his footsteps. So the father and son team bicker at the start but eventually put aside their differences to defeat the Emperor. At least Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf’s age differences made the father-son duo look credible. Brendan Fraser still looks like he’s in his 30s, and Luke Ford looks like he’s in the young 20s, so the supposed father-son duo come off looking more like brothers.

The script by the duo Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, best known for their Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights movie, also sucks any sense of mystery out of the story.
Take over the duties from previous writer-director Stephen Sommers, they churn out a story that basically goes from point A to point B. Worse still, you can see everything coming from a mile away, thanks to Michelle Yeoh’s sorceress character Zi Juan who reveals before the halfway mark exactly what the Dragon Emperor is going to do and where he intends to go.

Luckily, all is not lost under the direction of Rob Cohen, who has shown with The Fast And The Furious that he is capable of directing big-budget action set pieces. From the streets of Shanghai to the Himalayas and the Great Wall of China, Cohen keeps the CGI-heavy action and humour fast and furious.

But the biggest applause must be reserved for the veterans of The Mummy cast who make the reunion a much more enjoyable affair. Brendan Fraser is always likeable as Rick and John Hannah is ever amusing as his brother John. Amongst the newcomers, Australian first time actor Luke Ford fares the best, sharing a natural chemistry with Fraser on screen. Less so is Mario Bello, taking over the role from Rachel Weisz, who seems unsure of whether to play Evelyn serious or hammy and ends up looking uneasy on screen.

Sadly, the Asian actors play second fiddle to their Hollywood counterparts. Though Jet Li enjoys equal billing with Fraser, audiences don’t get to see much of him as his character is often awash with CGI. Michelle Yeoh, Isabella Leong and Anthony Wong also play token characters that aren’t given much depth in the story.

At the end, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor succeeds in what it sets out to be, summer popcorn entertainment and nothing more. Entertaining but ultimately forgettable, the Mummy franchise needs a fresh injection of life soon, or it might just end up stuck in a crypt.

Movie Rating:

(Mummy dies, Mummy comes back to life, send Mummy back to the dead. It's a different Mummy no doubt but this third film rehases the same formula to deliver perfect summer popcorn thrills)

Review by Gabriel Chong


. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

. The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)

. Nim's Island (2008)

. National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)

. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)

. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)

. National Treasure (2004)

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