Saturday, August 2, 2008
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Up for some high adventuring fun, action packed sequences and heroes you can really get behind? Then I suggest you go see The Dark Knight again and skip this mess. In this third outing of the Mummy franchise not only have the elements from the first one gotten tired but the writers aren't even trying. Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, who are mostly known for being the creators of Smallville, keep throwing story elements into the mix as fast and as furious as possible so they could, in what is a futile hope, keep the audiences reeling from sensory overload so they wouldn’t notice that none of it made a lick of sense. Rob Cohen steps in for previous director Stephen Sommers and brings the kind bland action style you’d expect from the director of such notable films as Dragonheart, XXX, and Stealth.
The plot revolves around an Evil Chinese Emperor (Jet Li) who while looking for the secret of immortality ends up cursed by a Good Witch (Michelle Yeoh) because, as well as evil; he was a jealous bastard who had her lover torn apart by horses. So the curse petrifies the Emperor and puts him and his 10,000 warriors on hold for a few thousand years. Enter young Alex O’Connell the son of Rick and Evelyn O’Connell, who has grown up from the last film to be only 13 years younger than his parents, and it is he who uncovers the Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. There is of course a young Chinese girl who is guarding the tomb (i.e. love interest for young O’Connell and daughter to Michelle Yeoh’s character), a nasty Chinese general who wants to lift China back into its days of glory, and then there is Rick and Evie who are bored with their early retirement and hope that another adventure will spark up their sex life. All these elements, with a heaping helping of double crosses, comic fumbling, and daring do, result in the Emperor waking up and getting back to his search for immortality.
A few things that annoyed me:
1) That the young Chinese girl has a dagger that is the only thing that can kill the Emperor, yet we are never told how this weapon came into being, was it part of the curse? Did she find it in a box of cereal? And why not just stab the petrified Emperor with it and call it a day instead of guarding his tomb for two thousand bloody years.
2) Our heroes travel to Shangri-La to stop the Emperor from gaining immortality (which apparently will also allow him to awaken his terracotta army, and once again we are not told why this would be the case), and upon arriving at Shangri-La we spend all our time in a boring cave that houses the Pool of Immortality, and only get one sweet shot of the beautifully verdant valley bellow. Apparently Michelle Yeoh has been guarding the pool all these years while her daughter has been guarding the tomb, but it would be nice to find out what the hell is going on in Shangri-La. Is Michelle Yeoh the only inhabitant? We never see anybody else with the exception of a trio of yetis.
3) The route to Shangri-La can only be discerned by placing a giant blue diamond at the top of a little golden pyramid, a diamond which the villains possess, so as a back up plan our heroes place explosives all over the pyramid in case the Emperor and his followers get passed them. Here’s a thought, why not smash the crap out of the device that will house the diamond and reveal the location to the bad guys?
4) That the Emperor had gained the ability to control the five elements; earth, water, air, fire, and wood while conquering China yet once awoken from his cursed state he somehow gains the ability to turn into a three head fire breathing dragon and a giant ape type ogre. Was that part of gaining his immortality, and if so than why didn’t we get Michelle Yeoh turning into a dragon as well as she is immortal as well?
5) Worse is that we get Jet Li turning into King Ghidorah at the end of the second act and for the final fight in the third act he occasionally turns into this lame hairy monster. If my army is being attacked by a raised army of my dead enemies, who mostly look like walking kindling, I think becoming a fire breathing dragon would be the way to go.
6) The fight between Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh was something I was really looking forward to and it was all to brief and weak as monkey piss. Most of the martial arts fighting in this film are handled by Isabella Leong who plays the daughter of Michelle Yeoh, and she’s damn cute but she’s no Michelle Yeoh.
Watching this film one completely understands why Rachel Weisz backed out of it after reading the script, it’s just not very good, and all the CGI and stunts can’t hide the fact. What’s weird is that I’d still say it was more entertaining than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls. Still don’t rush out to see this piece of cinematic fluff, just stay home and watch Raiders of the Lost Ark again, or if you must get out of the house go out and see The Dark Knight.