ENTERTAINMENT/FILM/REVIEWS

A Black Man’s Review Of
“The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor.”

THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR (PG-13)

Movie Biases:
Sorta sold.

Major Players:
Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, director Rob Cohen

Logline:
Retired spy/adventurer couple Rick & Evelyn O’Connell (Fraser & Maria Bello) are coaxed out of retirement to escort a precious artifact to Shanghai where it’s used to awaken the slumbering, immortality-chasing dynastic Emperor Han (Li) - recently discovered by the O’Connells’ estranged son Rick (Luke Ford) - to resume his millennia old agenda of worldwide domination via use of his also-mummified Terracotta stone warriors. Or something like that.

The Deal:
I recently had an argument with someone (Myra - oops. Did I say that out loud??) who lobbied that “The Mummy” franchise was just as good and entertaining as the “Indiana Jones” series. Yep - I had to pick my jaw up off the floor, too, to even conceive of participating in such a conversation. Anyways, it prompted me to revisit the first two “Mummy” movies (and my reviews), which surprised me in how well they’ve held up as far as “ah, the hell with it” entertainment value. But with the startlingly uninspired “Dragon Emperor,” (cough! Myra!)’s argument, and the franchise, don’t have a leg to stand on, even if they were centipedes.

Nothing feels organic about this “Mummy,” which is saying a lot seeing how the first two were obvious copycats of the “Indiana Jones” school of serialized, old school adventure flicks. But at least those two looked like and were having FUN. Where’s the adventure? Where’s the humor? “Dragon Emperor’s” script, credited to TV’s “Smallville” duo of Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, is lame and pedestrian at best. While the action set pieces of the franchise have always been mere fodder for theme park rides, in the hands of talented hack Rob Cohen - he who hath wrought “XXX” and “The Fast and the Furious” (but also “Stealth” and “Daylight”) - there’s an unparalleled blandness that’s hard to create given the wealth of resources a big budget action film receives. Bad enough we have to endure an overlong prologue and a stilted first act that bores via osmosis with its insistence on showing us just how timid the O’Connells’ life is in retirement, but also we’re mired in a convoluted, marginally interesting plot whose main (badly executed) theme is…family? While I’m sure dads across America will appreciate Rick O’Connell’s every third line including the word “family” in it, I got the point about five on-the-nose lines ago. Blah.

Can you blame original “Mummy” remake director Stephen Sommers for not coming back a third time for this CGI orgy without the orgasm? Or my beloved REEL DEAL Crush Rachel Weisz for not reprising her role as Evey O’Connell? Besides being devastatingly beautiful, Weisz brought a plucky, nerdy-hot charm to the role that a game and well-accented <a href="http://images.starpulse.com/Photos/pv/Maria%20Bello-6.JPG" ta