Mummy Returns, The
Reviewed by Mike Brannon
Rating: 4 Beans
he original Mummy (1999) was a fun ride, even though it often came across as a lift from Raiders of the Lost Ark. However, this one is a blatant rip-off of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which was a horrible sequel in its own right.
The movie starts, much like the first, with a flashback to ancient Egypt. A warrior known as the Scorpion King (WWF's The Rock, costarring with his eyebrow) is leading a rampage across The Land of The Nile. Driven into the desert, his men fall one by one until he is the last survivor. He makes a deal with Anubis (by biting the head off a scorpion, relishing a long caramel string from its carapace) to grant his vengence in exchange for his soul. Anubis agrees, providing SK with a huge army of CG jackal-humans which wreck havoc and suddenly disappear.
Turn the clock back to 1933: dashing Raider of The Lost Saracophogus Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraiser)has married the sexy, bumbling bookworm Evelyn (Rachel Wiez), and they have a son, Alex (Freddy Boath). Excuse me, (Director) Stephen Somers... didn't we learn the Temple of Doom Axiom that you NEVER put a cute kid in an action movie? Once that happens, kiss the script goodbye. The kid either gets in the way (a la Mercury Rising) or saves the day in an outright insultingly unbelievable fashion (a la Phantom Menace). The usual host of vaguely motivated Egyptian cultists appear to absorb bullets, get burned, devoured or what have you. Princess Meela (Patricia Valasquez) has been reincarnated to a spitting image of her former self, and ressurects Imen Ho Tep (Arnold Vosloo) to recover the Scorpion King's bracelet to rule the army of jackal men.
Well, Rick and family plan to do the same thing, but to send the army of the damned back to Hell. After many kidnappings, mummy battles, they all return to Egypt to race for the SK's Tomb and get the prize. Along the way, Rachel (get this) realizes she was the Pharoah's daughter in a previous life. Wow, as Prince Viggo in Ghostbusters II said, Death Is But A Door. It's a revolving door for these people. Lots of reincarnation going on in this movie. There's even a dumb "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" rip-off, er, inspired fight with Rachel and Patricia in deliciously skimpy costumes. Great eye candy for us guys, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. I tell ya, if I was a Pharaoh, I can't think of a better way to relax than to pit my beloved daughter and my lover in a duel to the death. Get real.
When the cursed Oasis is reached, things start to get real dumb. Imen's one hundred or so cultists accompany him, just to be entirely, gruesomely decimated by -- skeletal pygmies! COME ON! If you are going to wipe out dozens upon dozens of human lives, even if they are bad guys, at least have a fairly menacing monster! Even as cannon fodder extras, I felt sorry for these guys dying such an embarrasing death. They could have at least been devoured by giant scorpions or ripped apart by jackal men! That would have been at least somewhat dignified. But 1 1/2 foot pygmies?! Sommers deserves a hard kick in the ass for that.
Anyway, only the main characters make it to the temple alive (surprise surprise), and Evie gets killed just outside the temple, by Meela. The 8 year old boy, who is evidentally fluent in Ancient Egyptian, uses the Book of the Dead to ressurrect his mother (remember what I said about "saving the day...etc, etc?"). The entire company then runs into The Scorpion King, who is a scorpion centaur (ok, a tlincallis for all the AD&D nerds out there). Evidentally the Rock had the day off or something because his face is CGed, TERRIBLY, on the SK's noggin as if the CG artists had nothing but a sneering picture of him to work with. The ending is so predictable it is insulting... Rick finds out how to do the big bad SK in by instructions drawn on the wall. Yeah. I betcha Achilles had all kinds of pictures of his heel hanging around his house with the message "YO! TO KILL ME, JUST HIT ME RIIIIGHT HERE...." I could go on about the other dumb details of the movie, such as the Baron Munchausen-Style blimp that has a jet afterburner (musta been hard to come by in 1933) or the rip-off effect of the sand-storm (done with water) but suffice it to say that if you aren't satisfied to be carpet-bombed by CG effects, skip this one.
This one ain't the balm from Somers. I think Egypt us. Tut, tut!
Other reviews for this movie: