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RUNNING TIME: 112 Minutes
• Audio Commentary
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
• 7 Documentaries
• Digital copy of the film
• Descriptive Video Service
Rob Cohen should be ashamed of himself. With the release of the horrid The Mummy Returns in 2001, it seemed as if fate had stepped in and mercifully killed the franchise before it could generate more entries.
But Mr. Cohen would have none of it. Apparently, he saw a franchise that needed his guidance and resuscitating abilities. It appears he wanted to resurrect this heaping pile of movie nonsense with his own magic hands. The same hands that gave us xXx and The Fast and the Furious. Now some of you may like those films, but you’re all wrong.
It was nice to see Madonna wander onto the set.
I am still completely baffled as to how Brendan Fraser ever got an action film, let alone THREE, but here he is back on the Mummy-vanquishing job. This time, instead of the bald Arnold Vosloo, we get the tiny ass-kicking Jet Li. Li plays the part of an ancient Chinese warlord bent on conquering the known world and gaining immortality to make sure his rule lasts forever. Of course, his plans go awry, and while he doesn’t quite get to rule China he does gain the immortality, albeit encased in terracotta for all eternity!
Eventually he gets out and starts trying to find the location of Shangri-La so that he can return to his human form and begin the ruling-forever bit one more time. But as is often the case when this sort of thing starts to happen, Brendan Fraser and his brood get wind of this and eventually decide to stop Li before he can accomplish his goals.
“Now where in the hell is my Bib Fortuna figure?”
It’s not so much that the story is ridiculous: with a Mummy movie you have to dispend belief and go with it (I actually enjoyed the first Mummy movie). It’s just that is was executed so poorly. None of the actors have any sort of chemistry with one another. They just stand around and deliver their lines. Add to the fact that Fraser is supposed to be Ford’s father is likewise balls. Fraser looks maybe 10 years older than his son, if that. Why on earth didn’t they slap on some gray hair, maybe some more wrinkles and cut his silly floppy hair? That’s something the filmmakers had control over – making the age difference believable – and they failed at that simple task, so you’re expected to believe that they are father and son, when they look more like brothers!
Maria Bello is a fine actress, but she came across as rather boring, because she wasn’t given anything dynamic to do with her character. Whereas Evelyn was the linguist that helped decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphics in the first film, and was a reincarnated warrior princess in the second film, in this one she’s a novelist who fades into the background of nearly every scene she’s in. If Rachel Weisz didn’t want to do the film, instead of recasting her part they should have simply cut it altogether. They CLEARLY had no clue how to handle the Evelyn character in this one, and it’s one of the reasons all of her scenes seem flat.
Everyone else is simply garnish, or window dressing. Michelle Yeoh plays the witch who curses Jet Li at the beginning, and Luke Ford is boring as the boring Alex O’Connell. The only one who was really watchable was John Hannah, who while still playing the same bumbling character from the other Mummy films, offered a nice diversion to all the crappiness surrounding him.
One thing the film promised and delivered upon were the creatures. Granted, their inclusion were simply ridiculous, they at least looked good. Jet Li turns into a three-headed dragon and flies around, and he also turns into a Chinese demon that yells and runs off a bit, but other than that they don’t do much else.
And then there’s the Yeti. Well, the animation used for them was pretty good, and they certainly look mean enough, but it turns out they were no more than simple pets for Alex’s love interest, Lin (Isabella Leong), as she has the ability to control them and order them around and such. So she has them attack some thugs who are trying to help Jet Li gain the location to Shangri-La. I should mention that it is during this fight that one of the yetis kick a guy through some posts, much like a football, while they other yeti thrusts his hands up to signal a touchdown!
The world famous Vermithrax Taxi Service.
It’s little things like this that keep Tomb of the Dragon Emperor from being great. Actually, it’s also other things like the story, the acting, the cast, the directing. All of those things kept it from being good, otherwise who knows how great it could have been?
So in the end there is no way you should see this movie. Even if it’s on late one night and you’ve had about 12 drinks and you’re lounging on the couch and there’s nothing on, don’t bother. Turn the TV off and go read a book. This film will kill your buzz.
3 out of 10
As awful as the film was, the picture quality is quite excellent. The only problem is you’d have to sit through this pile in order to actually enjoy it, so unless you intend on wasting $35, just take my word for it.
9 out of 10
As was the case with the look, the sound is also great. Randy Edelman’s score is one of the few highlights. A nice thundering action score that Goldsmith wouldn’t have been ashamed of (it doesn’t hurt that Goldsmith’s theme from the first film is reused). It’s a shame it had to have been wasted on this junk.
9 out of 10
Everything extra the two discs’ have to offer is better than the actual film. There are 7 documentaries of varying length, and while they don’t offer a whole lot of groundbreaking info, they’re still rather enjoyable to watch. The commentary Cohen gives us is boring, but the Descriptive Video Service is absolutely hilarious. For those of you not familiar with this, it’s basically a guy reading the script in a vocal delivery that can only be described as “radio voice”, only pausing to let the actors deliver their lines. If you have to watch the film, do it with this thing running.
8 out of 10
As bland as the film itself, so at least it isn’t misleading. It’s Brendan Fraser looking tough, Jet Li looking pissed, and the terracotta Emperor in the background trying to eat them both. Had he succeeded, it would have warranted a higher grade.
3 out of 10
OVERALL 4 out of 10