When Will They Allow Mummy to Rest in Peace? Chip off the Old Block: Brendan Fraser (Right) Is Handsomely Wooden as Rick

The Evening Standard (London, England), August 7, 2008 | Go to article overview

When Will They Allow Mummy to Rest in Peace? Chip off the Old Block: Brendan Fraser (Right) Is Handsomely Wooden as Rick


FILM BY DEREK MALCOLM www.thisislondon/derekmalcolm The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Cert 12a, 113 mins**

THERE are certain franchises that you don't really want to see more of. The X-Files came near to that last week. The second episode of The Mummy came nearer still. Rob Cohen's third instalment tries hard for something new, but it still looks as if everyone's run out of steam. Somehow they remain determined to ignore the fact and whack on with special effects that will please the eye but ignore the mind.

The plot is set not in dusty old Egypt but in China, circa 240BC, where wicked Emperor Qin bullies all and sundry. The character is only very loosely based on Qin Shi Huang, the paranoid first warlord who united the country, created the terracotta warriors seen in all their glory at the British Museum last year and who sought immortality by munching mercury, arsenic and heavy metals.

Having murdered anyone getting in his way, Qin decides that all-embracing power is not enough. Like the real emperor he wants to live for ever and engages a well-known witch to cast the requisite spell. She can't deliver the goods herself but says she'll help him find someone who can if he'll let her marry his second-in-command and best friend.

This riles the emperor, who fancies her himself, which is not surprising since she is played by Michelle Yeoh, the best performer in the film and a notable beauty too. So he kills the friend and grabs her without due ceremony..

The perfidy eventually gets him turned into a terracotta warrior himself (she's not just a pretty face) and, when awoken from her 2,000-year curse, he finds he can transmogrify into a dragon with three heads (none of which can act), and fights Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evie (Maria Bello) to the death.

Fraser is his usual handsomely wooden self but we miss Rachel Weisz as his missus, since Bello is not much of a bargain in the acting stakes. …

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