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Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Starring: Brendan Fraser ... Rick O'Connell

Jet Li ... Emperor Han

Maria Bello ... Evelyn O’Connell

John Hannah ... Jonathan Carnahan

Michelle Yeoh ... Zi Juan

Luke Ford ... Alex O'Connell

Isabella Leong ... Lin

Anthony Wong Chau-Sang ... General Yang

Russell Wong ... Ming Guo

Liam Cunningham ... Mad Dog Maguire

David Calder ... Roger Wilson

Jessey Meng ... Choi

Tian Liang ... Li Zhou

Albert Kwan ... Chu Wah

Jacky Wu ... Assassin #1 (as Wu Jing)

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
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Synopsis: The blockbuster global "Mummy" franchise takes a spellbinding turn as the action shifts to Asia for the next chapter in the adventure series, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." Brendan Fraser returns as explorer Rick O'Connell to combat the resurrected Han Emperor (Jet Li) in an epic that races from the catacombs of ancient China high into the frigid Himalayas. Rick is joined in this all-new adventure by son Alex (newcomer Luke Ford), wife Evelyn (Maria Bello) and her brother, Jonathan (John Hannah). And this time, the O'Connells must stop a mummy awoken from a 2,000-year-old curse who threatens to plunge the world into his merciless, unending service.

Doomed by a double-crossing sorceress (Michelle Yeoh) to spend eternity in suspended animation, China's ruthless Dragon Emperor and his 10,000 warriors have lain forgotten for eons, entombed in clay as a vast, silent terra cotta army. But when dashing adventurer Alex O'Connell is tricked into awakening the ruler from eternal slumber, the reckless young archaeologist must seek the help of the only people who know more than he does about taking down the undead: his parents.

As the monarch roars back to life, our heroes find his quest for world domination has only intensified over the millennia. Striding the Far East with unimaginable supernatural powers, the Emperor Mummy will rouse his legion as an unstoppable, otherworldly force...unless the O'Connells can stop him first.

Review: by Jesus Gil.

Our quick thoughts: With “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” director Rob Cohen picks up the franchise that was made popular by Stephen Sommers and gives it a whole new look, not only by attributing his different directing style to it, but also by taking the story to China, where the O’Connells have to face a new kind of mummy.

As the film opens, we find Rick (Fraser) and Evelyn (Bello) struggling with a boring retirement. Even though their days seem filled with fishing trips or book promotions, nothing can fill the void left from the adventures that used to ensue on a regular basis. Meanwhile, their son Alex (Ford) dropped out of college in order to become a world explorer, looking for that one big finding that will bring him fame and recognition.

Alex’s latest adventure takes him to China, where he is determined to find the tomb of Emperor Han (Li), a ruthless leader who was once cursed by a revenge-seeking witch (Yeoh) to spend eternity in suspended animation. But shortly after finding the tomb, Alex is tricked into awakening the Emperor, whose plan is to reach the pool of eternal life so he can finish the job and enslave the world. Of course, upon hearing what happened, Rick and Evelyn decide to forget all about retirement and jump straight back into action, helping their son to stop the Emperor from reaching his goal.

Change is a repetitive factor that dominates most of “Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.” Besides being helmed by Cohen and taking place in China, the flick features other noticeable aspects that distinguish it from its predecessors. The portrayal of Evelyn by actress Maria Bello (who replaces Rachel Weisz) for instance, doesn’t completely fill the shoes of the once bubbly, smart-mouthed original character. Also, the fact that Alex went from being a British-speaking lad to an all-around American guy (played by an Australian) makes you wonder why the filmmakers didn’t pay enough attention to such details.

Brendan Fraser still gives his character the excitement that once ran through his veins in the 1999 original film, but his chemistry with Bello seems forced at times and does not quite possess the same adorable quality he had with Weisz. Also returning as Evelyn’s brother Jonathan is John Hannah, who delivers a few comedic turns that give “The Mummy” movies a different tone than most regular action adventures. Although these factors make the movie passable, the weak script and overuse of clichés make “Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” fragile in comparison to its predecessors.

Freaky quote: “I really hate mummies." – Brendan Fraser

The final word: In the end, if you are looking for fun and excitement, “The Mummy” franchise doesn’t fail to deliver. If you take this movie for what it is - a combination of silly action sequences, comedy and romance - you will be completely satisfied and have an enjoyable time at the movies. But whatever you do, don’t walk into the movie expecting a return to the form of the old O’Connell adventures. The franchise is definitely heading into a new approach.


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