US Release Date: 08-01-2008
Directed by: Rob Cohen
- Brendan Fraser, as
- Rick O Connell
- Jet Li, as
- Emperor Han
- Maria Bello, as
- Evelyn O Connell
- John Hannah, as
- Jonathan Carnahan
- Michelle Yeoh, as
- Zi Juan
- Luke Ford as
- Alex O Connell
Maria Bello and Brendan Fraser in Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
Fraser returns as the adventurous Rick O'Connell. When last we saw him he was busy putting down an Egyptian mummy for the second time. Tomb of the Dragon Emperor takes place more than a decade later in 1946. Rick and Evelyn are now retired from active duty.
Unknowns to them, their son Alex, who they think is off at college, is actually in search of an ancient Chinese mummy. He finds it and Dad and Mom are soon back in action helping him, and a couple of immortal women, keep the Mummy from conquering the world.
The movie features all of the action sequences that fans of the series have come to expect and enjoy. From one on one fights, to chases through a city, to battling a three headed dragon, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor keeps the pace moving along as fast as its predecessors.
Whereas there is plenty to enjoy here, it has one huge glaring problem, the casting! With Rachel Weiss too important as an Oscar winning actress, Bello replaces her. She does not do a horrible job, but her accent is obviously fake. Why was not a real British actress cast in her role?
Bello, however, fairs far better than that of Ford as Alex. He was twenty seven years old when he filmed this movie. He is only 12 years younger than Fraser, yet he is playing his son. Fraser was clearly older than 12 in the first Mummy movie. Freddie Boath, who played Alex in The Mummy Returns, is 17 years old. He should have played the role here, only moving him from college to a private highschool. Whenever Ford and Fraser share the screen, it looks more like buddies talking than father and son. Even my 14 year old was bothered by the casting change. After the movie, he asked me why Alex had a British accent in the last Mummy movie and an American one here?
Not only is Alex mis-cast, but he has zero personality. Alex is now, for some reason, emotionally distant from his parents. He is adventurous and a handsome ladies man. Sure that sounds nice, but is that not who Rick is? Alex should have been an insecure nerd trying to prove himself to his parents. Here he is just a stereotypical movie action/hero with no distinguishable personality trait.
I love movie series. It is great to visit characters you have enjoyed in the past. The worst crime a movie series can commit is to change the characters or just not put enough effort into them. The action is fun, but it is the characters that bring us back to the series. The only one who did not change, and was a joy to see, was that of Jonathan. I love the name of his night club.
I wish I could think of one thing I enjoyed about this movie.
The first two Mummy movies were B-movies, but this third installment is more like a D-movie. It's mindless entertainment with two-dimensional characters and cartoonish action. I was bored stiff throughout the whole thing and was glad when it was over.
Like Eric I thought having the son be so old was a pretty bad idea. They didn't even try to make Rick look any older. He seems to have barely aged at all since the last movie. Since Rachel Weisz wasn't coming back to the movie, why not have her character killed off, then Rick could have just been the sole action hero and had the love interest himself, instead of foisting it off on his son.
I'm trying to think of one positive thing to say about the movie, but am coming up blank. I did enjoy seeing John Hannah's character again, but it was more just the recognition of him and the memory of him from the last films than it was anything he says or does in this one.
The end of the movie hints at a Peruvian sequel. I hope to hell the mummy stays in its tomb and we don't have to sit through another one of these movies, but if we do, I'm guessing Rick will probably be on an adventure with his grandson who will be 20-years-old and be played by an actor just 20 years his junior.
Photos © Copyright Universal Pictures (2008)