The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Thriller
Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, Michelle Yeoh
In the Far East, Alex O'Connell, the son of famed mummy fighters Rick and Evy O'Connell, unearths the mummy of the first Emperor of Qin -- a shape-shifting entity cursed by a witch centuries ago.
With middling CG effects and a distinct lack of fun, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor finds the series past its prime.
  • Universal Pictures Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 01 Aug 2008 Released:
  • 16 Dec 2008 DVD Release:
  • $102.2M Box office:

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Now, I Really Missed Rachel Weisz In This One!5/10
I really like the Mummy series for its epic action, sense of humor and great special effects. I was very excited when I started seeing teasers for this sequel to be shown in July, mostly because it was quite unexpected.

This movie has all the required elements of epic action, sense of humor and great special effects. Of course there is still the swashbuckling hero Rick O'Connell played in grand style by Brendan Fraser. He undoubtedly has this action-comedy genre sewn up right in his alley. John Hannah is still around playing his brother-in-law, Jonathan, in his old annoying manner.

For the new stuff, the setting shift to China as the titular "Mummy" now refers to an ancient Chinese emperor who desired immortality, played by Jet Li (who really personified his anti-hero role with relish here). The emperor sought the help of a "witch" (played with much bravado by Michelle Yeoh), with whom he gets attracted to. However, the witch fell in love with his main general (played by Russell Wong, whom you'd wonder why he isn't getting more breaks in Hollywood). From hence starts the conflict and the resultant curse on which the movie stands.

The requisite martial arts you would expect in a movie set in China are of course in full play. Very well choreographed, especially that thrilling sword fight between Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh. The exciting action sequences inside the booby-trapped lost tomb, the truck and chariot (!) chase in the streets of Shanghai and the final fight sequence with the "Mummy" are all executed very well as in the two previous installments.

But then there are the drawbacks that for me pulls this one down to a five star rating. The quality of the spoken Mandarin is at times unintelligible. However, the major beef involves what for me are severely miscast actors.

The actor who plays the now college-aged son of the O'Connells, Alex, looks too mature to be the son of Brendan Fraser. I just checked to see that the actor Luke Ford was born in 1981, but he looked older than that, so it was a bit of a stretch to believe that he is Brendan's son. Furthermore, he also does not act like a son, but more like Brendan's younger brother.

But the worst and damaging mistake was the decision to cast Maria Bello in the beloved role of Evelyn O'Connell, which is wholly owned by the more beautiful and credible Rachel Weisz. I felt absolutely NO chemistry between Maria and Brendan. Her acting was also quite wretched when compared to Ms. Weisz, who was able to maintain her intellectuality, demureness and gentility on top of her topnotch fighting skills. Ms. Bello fails miserably in this regard to recapture the unique character of Evie we have loved before, in my opinion.
A true honest review? Some true honest advice? Don't waste your time on this, its terrible.

I am a true fan of the original. I like the way it was weaved together with interesting characters, hammy dialogue and breath taking action sequences not to mention a beautiful location and some great plot devices. Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weiz lit up the screen with his charisma and her likability factor. They made a good screen presence and carried the story along until its fantastic action packed finale. I also like the way the producers mixed up the scenes, to spoon out not only violent and eerie scenes involving the main villain himself but to water it down to family standards with John Hannah's comical brother. It was a film of epic proportions. A fun story, likable characters and good use of live action and cgi, for the most part. Then about 2 years later Universal ran out of idea's and so decided to return to the bandwagon to churn out another cash cow sequel. 'The Mummy Returns' was released and whilst not as good as the original at least had the decency to be spectacular enough for the risibility. Fraser and Weiz returned (having made an offspring) and warbled, walloped and crashed through the bustling busy streets in a less than original screenplay but at least maintained their charm and kept the spark glowing from the first film. It was a likable sequel, and whilst no where near as good as its ancestor still managed to be entertaining.

So here we are folks. 2008 and yet again we are re-visiting a tired series. The next gruesome threesome to bring home to Hollywood is not only the worst of the Mummy films, but quite possibly the worst sequel of the year to date. Its so bad in fact that even Rachel Weiz turned it down, but its not surprising having listened to some of the laughably dire dialogue churned out here. I bet she took one look at the script and threw it in the trash can. The story goes something like this... Brendan Fraser (back as Rick O'Connell) his wife Maria Bello (yes they replaced her with someone with half as much talent) her brother John Hannah (what is he doing in this?)and their son Luke Ford (who has now aged by about 20 years) are somehow prancing around in their ordinary lives (in the Far East?) but suddenly the son awakens an evil Mummy Emperor (because hey thats what your bound to do in a movie like this) who wants to use his army of the undead to take over the world and get revenge on the sorceress who put him to sleep so many years ago. The only people who can stop him are the O'Connels who crash and bang through armies of stone beasts, supernatural winds and all sorts of other unoriginal menaces. Of course the showdown at the end will result in global domination or ultimate Savior. But by that time, you just wont care.

So.. why do I hate this one? when when one of the main stars from the original backs down and bails out and when the other looks bored throughout the whole darn thing you know you have a problem on your hands. And its sad because Brendan Fraser makes it blatantly obvious how unhappy he is reprising the role without Weiz by his side. He is never able to connect with Bello who tries to be chirpy but comes off looking rather ridiculous as the smart girl. And there we have another problem. Bello just cannot squeeze into Weiz's cleverly filled shoes. Its embarrassing to watch her warble on and you can really tell she felt uncomfortable trying to live up to the characters standards. The same can be said for Luke Ford, who makes a very unconvincing action hero-sidekick next to Fraser. Again they have no spark or connection what so ever. It feels like a cheap decision casting Ford because he never really brings any emotion, good or bad to the screen. The exception here is Jet Li, who whilst is not as menacing as Arnold Vosloo (the original mummy) still pulls off a good dark role. Its fresh seeing him portraying an evil character and it pays off when he is actually on screen. However his presence is short lived and at times feels like a guest appearance. And of course John Hannah who never disappoints and steals the show altogether with his one liners and witty charm. He almost makes this passable. Almost.

The movie deserves another good kick in, this time for its overly used CGI action sequences which feel cheap, tacky and unoriginal. Imagine a Roger Corman flick added into a Uwe Boll video game adaptation and your halfway there. The sets are nice to look at, but the CGI is really distracting and you can tell they did things all by computers. The character development is replaced with an endless array of pointless battle sequences. Pointless !

Its also really degrading seeing our much loved characters from the first movies spout lines of almost ridicule. Brendan Fraser cringes as he reads his lines (is he auditioning for the high school play?)and like I said Bello looks uncomfortable. Even Hannah looks bored and whilst trying to rescue this epic failure always looks like he wants to be doing better things. Like the ironing for example.

There is just so much to bash this movie about. Its an obvious cash in, but even fails at being entertaining. It doesn't live up to the first or even the second. It is boring, confusing and the characters are bland. The action is over the top and don't get me started on the screenplay. Its just an all round failure and should be buried in the Tomb of the title, never to be re-awakened.
This Mummy should have stayed in his crypt.2/10
I was able to catch this movie at a test screening in California while i was on vacation and its not much of a film. Its the same story as the previous ones and most of the stuff in the movie were taken from them as well. I love Brendan Fraser but he didn't look happy to be there and with how the story was set up, you can't blame him for looking miserable. He has no chemistry with Maria Bello, who was just awful (She's no Rachel Weisz, that's for damn sure.) and he has even less chemistry with his own son played by Luke Ford, who has the charisma and the charm of a brick, not to mention the fact that he looks just as old as both Fraser and Bello. Fraser has more chemistry with John Hannah, who is a welcome distraction from the lousiness of the film. The movie itself is just a flat headed mess of bad visual effects with no soul. Jet Li lacks the menacing presence of Arnold Vosloo from the previous films but that problem is more than less on the shoulders of the director, who was in my opinion more concern with the style of the film than any substance it could have had and because of that, Jet Li and most of the cast got the short end of the stick and it shows.

They should have ended it with the second film but instead, we have a movie that manages to make even "The Scorpion King" look as good as Iron Man.
Sadly disappointing5/10
I do have a question, what ever happened to the slow walking lame Egyptian mummies? I mean, as silly as they are, they're still entertaining. Now we have The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, I loved The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, it was watchable, but this one was just an excuse to make some quick cash. I was actually looking forward to seeing this movie, I got the opportunity to see it today, I was excited, but unfortunately, we now have Chinese mummies that can do anything that will fit into the CGI budget. Another disappointment was the recasting of Evelyn, I know Rachel Weisz turned this script down, but she was seriously needed, Maria Bella, who is a decent actress, actually made Evie a very flat character and not as enjoyable. Then not only that, but we have Brendan and Maria who do look incredibly good for their age, they have a 20 year old son in the movie? This story was a waste of time and money.

The Emperor of China wanted to rule the entire world, but when a Chinese witch curses him and his army, he is put to sleep for thousands of years. Rick and Evie are now retired and have lost the spark in their relationship, but when they are asked to go to Shanghai to deliver a small little ball, they bump into their son who has discovered the Emperor. Rick and Evie are forced to wake the mummy by his followers. Now the whole family with Jonathan and the protector who was supposed to keep the emperor from rising, must destroy the Emperor or he will take over the entire world.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has some OK moments, I loved the beginning story and the ending battle scene is held pretty strong, it's worth the look for that, but I would say this is more of a rental. It's just a sad disappointment, considering how much better it could have been. The one liners were too cheesy and we have three headed dragons, karate kicking abdominal snow men, why not just go all the way and have leprechauns with machine guns? That's how out of control the CGI effects are. Luke Ford makes Brandon Fraiser look like Marlon Brando with his acting and the love story between him and the protector girl was useless. Like I said, wait for the rental, not the worst movie of this year, but a huge let down for sure.

oh, my Lord1/10
My 11 year old son dragged us to see this. I don't spend as much time with the kid as I ought to. So, I happily paid the $40 for admission and gold-plated popcorn bucket. I didn't know Rachael W. wasn't in this one, and I can now say she rocks. Looks, talent, AND brains to avoid a celluloid crap-fest when she sees it. Anyway:

15 minutes into the film, the kid turns to me and says "I'm sorry I made you see this". I say "Oh, it's okay. We're at the movies together, having fun!"; he didn't believe my acting any more than he did that awful woman who's trying her best, apparently, to fake 3 different English accents (or was one of them Australian) and pretend she's enjoying being on screen in this TURD.

30 minutes into the film: I'm wishing I had a cellphone, so I could call in a bomb threat and get the theater emptied.

45 minutes into the film: I go to the bathroom. Theatre-hop into the middle of Mamma Mia. No kidding. Stay there for about 5 minutes (during the "Does Your Mama Know" number. Seen it twice; love it.

60 minutes into the film: Discover the kid has fallen asleep. We're at a 5 pm showing, by the way.

75 minutes into the film: I have the worst luck in theatres; if there's a crying baby, his parents will sit immediately behind me. If there's a person whose hearing was damaged by too much disco, he'll sit beside me and shout questions at his wife or boyfriend through the whole thing. You know; things like this have made me spend the money and buy a home theater with 9' screen. I still love going to the theater, however. Anyway, when the 4 year old that sits near us starts talking in his "outside voice" to his obviously deaf Grandma and Pa (or is it Great-Grandma and Pa), instead of yelling "Shut UP!" like I normally do, I start listening to HIM; it's actually more entertaining.

90-something minutes into the film: Now, I'm no longer wishing for the cellphone and have gone straight to wishing I had an actual bomb, so I could get the theater emptied out.

The End of the Film: the bedraggled audience weakly applauds the fact that it's over. No kidding. I hear people leaving, saying things like "maybe we can get our money back", and "That SUCKED". I've never heard things like that on exit from a movie like this before, and I see a LOT of movies. The kid apologizes again. I say "You OWE me. Big Time." He says "I'm soooo sorry this sucked so bad".

Did you get that, moviemaker sellouts? An 11 year old kid! Loves Star Wars, James Bond, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc. YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. And your movie is SO bad, he feels GUILTY about me spending our money to see it! Where can I send this bill I've created for having my intelligence insulted by Mario Bello, a beautiful woman who's apparently never even HEARD of England? Maybe it's not her fault. Maybe her family has B-S'd her all her life, telling her how she sounds "just like those Harry Potter movies" or something. Pathetic is not a word that comes close. I'll have to create a new one: Skantasticalistically Snarxious. Trust me. Burn your money. Don't even go to it thinking you'll be able to make fun of it, like Rocky Horror. Let's all pitch in and bury this deep, like you're supposed to do with rotting corpses.

Geez. BTW< I would not suggest calling in a bomb threat. Nope, never do THAT. It's bad. And stay in school. Drugs are for losers. Vote. Tip your waiters.