Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

A dead end

Director Rob Cohen had dug up a third installation to The Mummy franchise in 2008’s action adventure The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

This time the mummy is Emperor Han, a warrior who was a tyrant to all those in Asia. Having taken over all living beings his decides to conquer death. With this aim in mind he tracks down Zi Juan, a beautiful sorceress rumored to hold the secrets to immortality. After a few deceptive incidents and back stabbings Han and his army are cursed into be frozen for life as clay statues.

Enter the 20th century. The statues are now artifacts in the city museum and the O'Connell family makes it to the scene. As predicted they let the mummies loose and join forces with Juan's ancestors to stop Han from taking over the world once again and drinking from the Pool of Immortality.

The storyline too is problematic as Egyptian mythology merges with Asian folklore. You are confused about the origins of the tale as it seems to suggest that the Dragon Emperor is a cross between Asia and Africa.

It also recalls ‘Indiana Jones’ to mind since most of the actions and incidents seem to be borrowed from the series. Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah, Luke Ford, Isabella Leong and Michelle Yeoh make up the cast.

Rick O’Connell’s character is uninteresting as a ex-spy turned father whose main mission is to be a good father to his grown up son.

Bello makes a highly unconvincing British accented Evelyn. Luke Ford and Isabella Leong make a charming pair as Alex and Lin but their attraction is not given due focus as their romance is limited to only a couple of shots.

The only thing to look forward to is Jet Li’s performance as the evil Emperor who leads his terracotta army to take over the modern world. But yet again, we have seen the action star playing similar roles on screen so this does not add anything new to his acting skills.

Though the individual fight scenes being mostly replaced by army battles seems appealing, the episodes lack excitement. The action is generally dry and is full of the same sequences we might find in general war epics.

The movies lacks humor to a great degree and raises questions as why the all powerful Emperor, who is endowed with mummy powers, needs to chase the O'Connells in a car. In another instance we wonder why Juan cannot recast the spell she had done centuries ago and trap the Emperor once again.

Likewise we also find that there is a sword which can destroy the Emperor if he is stabbed through the heart not matter if he is immortal or not! Therefore new rules are added to the movie as it proceeds, confusing and exhausting the viewers. The special effect are a let down too since none of them are especially eye-popping. Gaps and lack of logic in the tale shows that the producers had simple wanted to make an action packed adventure with as much elements as possible without realizing that too many cooks spoil the broth.

The movie is the sequel to The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. Though it tries desperately to rekindle the old excitement and interest, we realize that Cohen should rather have let the mummy be dead rather than rejuvenate him for this cinematic venture.

Let us hope that the makers had decided to bury The Mummy once and for all instead of planning more sequels.
Daily News by Ruwini JAYAWARDANA