No fire in ‘Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’

Tue, 08/05/2008 - 2:52pm
By: Kevin Thomas

Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) is an archeologist who has, for the last few years, been fighting mummies and putting them back where they belong. He has his wife Evelyn (Maria Bello) as his partner, and his 18-year-old son Alex (Luke Ford), who also has his father’s love for the undead. But lately Rick and Maria have gone into retirement and they are living peacefully in their big mansion, bored to tears.

Unbeknownst to Rick and Maria, Alex is in Egypt with Prof. Roger Wilson (David Calder) looking for a tomb that is said to hold the evil Emperor Han (Jet Li), who wanted to be immortal but was turned to stone years ago by a curse set by the witch Zi Juan (Michelle Yeon). When Alex stumbles upon the tomb, he finds not only Han and his army, but also a ninja waiting there for him. Alex barely escapes with his life.

The evil General Yang (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang) and his assistant Choi (Jessey Meng) are looking for the tomb so they can bring Han back to life and take over the world. Doesn’t everybody want to take over the world these days?

Rick and Evelyn get their chance to get back into action when they are asked to smuggle an item to a museum in Shanghai. Once they get there, they not only run into Alex, but also Evelyn’s brother Jonathan (Jon Hannah), who after all those years of being chased by mummies has opened a nightclub there.

When they return the item to the museum, the gang finds that Roger was working with Yang to bring Han back to life. After a series of punches and kicks, Han gets brought back to life. From then on, the gang tries to defeat Han so he can’t take over the world. They also get the help of a mysterious woman named Lin (Isabella Leong).

I have seen the first “Mummy” film and liked it and about 10 minutes of the second which bored me, but this film had a plot that was too simple and way too predictable. The best thing that you could say about this film was that it had one or two comedic moments – I liked a scene where Rick shoots fish instead of doing it the traditional way – but at best it was mediocre. The action was the best thing in the movie but almost every scene has it so it gets a teeny bit overdone. It definitely should have at least been released before “The Dark Knight.”

The first “Mummy” film had a good plot, and the special effects were done nicely, but here the movie just drags along as one shooting incident after another. As for the second “Mummy” film, after 10 minutes, I knew it would be bad, and it was just downright confusing. Maybe since a lot of people got confused by that one, Universal dumbly decided to make this movie with a plot you would expect in a PG-rated film.

And I think Jet Li, who just finished his box office hit “The Forbidden Kingdom” and costarred with Jackie Chan for the first time, made a really bad decision to demote himself to this fairly boring piece of work. Fraser, who just finished “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” should have also thought twice before making this film. Let’s hope the next time Fraser stars in a film it isn’t as boring as this. Maybe he’ll “Just Say No” to a “Mummy” number four.

Rated PG-13 for adventure action and violence. This film is not recommended for little kids. The profanity is mild, but the words are very bad, and some sequences are gross and mildly scary.

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