The third film in the Mummy series starring Brendan Fraser as adventurer Rick O'Connel was directed by Rob Cohen, taking the helm from Stephen Sommers. In this film, where Maria Bello assumes the role of Evelyn O'Connel from Rachel Weitz, their now-college age son (eh?!) has dropped out of school to look for priceless artifacts. In his adventures, he discovered the location, and eventually the door, into the tomb of the dragon emperor of the title, Emperor Han (played by Jet Li,) and his terra cotta warriors.
You see, the ruthless emperor realized, some two or three thousand years previous, that one lifetime wasn't enough for all the dastardly things he wished to do so he forced a powerful witch named Zi Yuen, played by Michelle Yeoh, to find a way to make him immortal. The orders he gave his general were that no man should touch her because he wanted her himself. Of course, that didn't happen; the general and the witch fell in love. Once the witch made Han immortal, he sentenced them both to death, but Zi Yuen had enough time to curse the Emperor and his army to eternity as terra cotta statues and herself became immortal to guard his tomb that no one could revive him.
Of course, we wouldn't have a movie if someone didn't revive him. That leads to the inevitable fight between human and mystically powered undead blah blah blah. Look, I'm just going to blurt it out: wham-bam thank you ma'am action flicks like this bore me. I'm a martial arts action kind of gal and while this had some martial arts in it, it was still lots of guns and explosions and boringness. If it weren't for the fact that I was still doing my job while watching this flick, and I didn't want to miss a second of the wonderful Michelle Yeoh, I probably would have accidentally fallen asleep. If it didn't have Michelle Yeoh in it, I would have gone home once the main work of a typical Thursday night was done considering I haven't been feeling well of late, but I've seen everything that I can get my hands on that she's in for longer than a minute, even Easy Money (man, that was a bad flick), I certainly wasn't going to miss even this one.
If the film had been just about Emperor Han, Zi Yuen, and General Ming, I think I would have liked it. Bad one-liners, bad bad bad bad bad acting from Fraser, Bello and the dude playing their kid, Luke Ford, and a bad script do not a good movie make. Or even a partially enjoyable one because the fight we Hong Kong action fans have been waiting for, Jet Li vs. Michelle Yeoh, was terribly shot and not long enough. There wasn't enough tension. I think even Butterfly & Sword was more satisfying...
I'm not a big fan of Jet Li. I prefer Jackie Chan when it comes to male Hong Kong action stars (no, I didn't see The Forbidden Kingdom.) I admired his work in Unleashed (a.k.a. Danny the Dog) and Fearless. It's not his fighting, he's an incredible fighter, it's...I guess it's a lack of charisma. I've been using that word a lot of late, but it holds true here. Still, he could have been given a lot more to do; instead, he gets to stand around and look menacing and have a really short fight with Michelle Yeoh and still manage to lose to Brendan Fraser. Yeah, sure. Right.
The direction was fast paced, even including some slam zooms reminiscent of some Hong Kong action flicks, but boring. I've read that Rob Cohen had always wanted to make a martial arts flick so I wish he had made one instead of taking something hackneyed and cheesy, like The Mummy, and turning it into a martial arts movie.
I haven't seen the second Mummy movie, nor have I seen the Scorpion King and whatever else they've done as part of these movies. I saw the first flick, and it was alright, but Rachel Weitz elevated the standing of the film by simply being in it. The fact that she didn't want to come back, and was replaced by brunette Maria Bello with a bad British accent, hurt the new Mummy intensely. Perhaps they should have taken a hint when she said she didn't want to come back because of the script.
Overall: it was bad, boring, and didn't use Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li to their full potential.