Centuries ago, the evil Emperor Han was cursed by the sorceress Zi Yuan who transformed him and his army into mummies. In 1946, the explorer Rick O'Connell and his wife Evelyn O'Connell are invited by the British government to take a relic, the diamond "The Eye of Shangri-La" to China. The ancient stone is capable of resurrecting the Emperor Han and of pointing the way to Shangri-La and the eternal pool of life. When the couple reaches China, they meet their son Alex O'Connell, who has discovered the tomb of Han, and Evelyn's brother Jonathan Carnahan. The O'Connells are betrayed by their friend Prof. Roger Wilson, who is associated with General Yang. Yang wants to serve Emperor Han, so he resurrects the mummy and they head for Shangri-La. The guardian of Han's tomb (and Zi's daughter) Lin tells them that the only ways to destroy Han is to prevent him from reaching Shangri-La or by stabbing his heart with a cursed dagger. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I really like the Mummy series for its epic action, sense of humor and great special effects. I was very excited when I started seeing teasers for this sequel to be shown in July, mostly because it was quite unexpected.
This movie has all the required elements of epic action, sense of humor and great special effects. Of course there is still the swashbuckling hero Rick O'Connell played in grand style by Brendan Fraser. He undoubtedly has this action-comedy genre sewn up right in his alley. John Hannah is still around playing his brother-in-law, Jonathan, in his old annoying manner.
For the new stuff, the setting shift to China as the titular "Mummy" now refers to an ancient Chinese emperor who desired immortality, played by Jet Li (who really personified his anti-hero role with relish here). The emperor sought the help of a "witch" (played with much bravado by Michelle Yeoh), with whom he gets attracted to. However, the witch fell in love with his main general (played by Russell Wong, whom you'd wonder why he isn't getting more breaks in Hollywood). From hence starts the conflict and the resultant curse on which the movie stands.
The requisite martial arts you would expect in a movie set in China are of course in full play. Very well choreographed, especially that thrilling sword fight between Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh. The exciting action sequences inside the booby-trapped lost tomb, the truck and chariot (!) chase in the streets of Shanghai and the final fight sequence with the "Mummy" are all executed very well as in the two previous installments.
But then there are the drawbacks that for me pulls this one down to a five star rating. The quality of the spoken Mandarin is at times unintelligible. However, the major beef involves what for me are severely miscast actors.
The actor who plays the now college-aged son of the O'Connells, Alex, looks too mature to be the son of Brendan Fraser. I just checked to see that the actor Luke Ford was born in 1981, but he looked older than that, so it was a bit of a stretch to believe that he is Brendan's son. Furthermore, he also does not act like a son, but more like Brendan's younger brother.
But the worst and damaging mistake was the decision to cast Maria Bello in the beloved role of Evelyn O'Connell, which is wholly owned by the more beautiful and credible Rachel Weisz. I felt absolutely NO chemistry between Maria and Brendan. Her acting was also quite wretched when compared to Ms. Weisz, who was able to maintain her intellectuality, demureness and gentility on top of her topnotch fighting skills. Ms. Bello fails miserably in this regard to recapture the unique character of Evie we have loved before, in my opinion.
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