Rick and Evelyn O’Connell come out of retirement in 1946 to travel to Shanghai, where they are tricked into helping resurrect an evil 2,000 year old emperor played by Jet Li. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor takes us on a guided tour of the catacombs of ancient China and the peaks of the Himalayas, with a pit stop in postwar Shanghai. The lavish landscapes aside, its the only real compliment I can give this film. Right off the bat I noticed Jet Li barely gets to throw a single roundhouse punch. Half the time he’s just a glorified special effect.
The movie tries to entertain us with a series of daring escapades and breathtaking spectacles, but unfortunately these attempts fall flat. Fans of The Mummy series will most likely go to see this movie for its great action and almost comic peril as well as to complete watching the entire series. The third in the series, this film falls short of the original on several grounds. First, it’s the same take on the old premise. The film only ventures into new territory in terms of geography, and like The Mummy Returns, the storyline mirrors the first, down to the mummy being cursed as a result of infidelity.
In the first few minutes of the film we are subjected to boring narrative, like a history lesson that isn’t real. This movie is insulting to the audience, constantly demanding that we blindly ignore simple logic. Special effects are on the same level as the previous 2 mummy movies (if not a little bit better) but does not come close to the success of The Mummy or The Mummy Returns. Jet Li makes a good villain, despite being terra cotta for the most part. With Michelle Yeoh, Luke Ford and Isabella Leong being welcomed additionals to the cast.
I was a bg fan of the first two films but thanks to this film I have no attachment to the Mummy franchise or characters. I don’t care about them in any way, shape or form. The only salvage I can recommend is that this is another notch in Michelle Yoeh and Jet Li’s mainstream crossover success. Rachel Weisz was smart to stay away from this movie. The leads give unconvincing, wooden performances, and Bello and Fraser have zero chemistry. This movie came across as a rush job and the end result was bad dialogue, bad acting and even worse a weak storyline. Watch this movie for the action scenes but don’t count on a solid movie experience.