Brendan Fraser reprises his role as explorer Rick O'Connell for a third time. This time, O'Connel is attempting to thwart a resurrected emperor's (Jet Li) plan to enslave the entire human race. It's been 2,000 years since China's merciless Emperor Han and his formidable army were entombed in terra cotta clay by a double-dealing sorceress (Michelle Yeoh), but now, after centuries in suspended animation, an ancient curse is about to be broken.
The third film in the The Mummy
series freshens the franchise up by setting the action in China. There, the discovery of an ancient emperor's elaborate tomb proves a feather in the cap of Alex O'Connell (Luke Ford), a young archaeologist and son of Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Evelyn (Maria Bello, taking over the role from Rachel Weisz). Unfortunately, a curse that turned the emperor (Jet Li) and his army into terra cotta warriors buried for centuries is lifted, and the old guy prepares for world domination by seeking immortality at Shangri La. The O'Connells barely stay a step ahead of him (climbing through the Himalaya mountains with apparent ease), but the action inevitably leads to a showdown between two armies of mummies in a Chinese desert. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
has a lot to offer: a supporting cast that includes the elegant Michelle Yeoh, Russell Wong, and Liam Cunningham, the unexpected appearance of several Yeti, and a climactic battle sequence that is nightmarishly weird but compelling. On the downside, the charm so desperately sought in romantic relationships, as well as comic turns by John Hannah (as Evelyn's rascal brother), is not only absent but often annoying. Rarely have witty asides in the thick of battle been more unwelcome in a movie. Rob Cohen's direction is largely crisp if sometimes curious (a fight between Fraser and Jet Li keeps varying in speed for some reason), but his vision of Shangri La, in the Hollywood tradition, is certainly attractive. --Tom Keogh
br> Stills from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Click for larger image) Click to learn more about the BD-Live Experience