Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The
PG-13
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +1/2

Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah, Michelle Yeoh, Russell Wong, Liam Cunningham, Luke Ford, Isabella Leong. Supernatural Action Adventure. Screenplay by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar. Directed by Rob Cohen.

LM SYNOPSIS: The blockbuster global Mummy franchise takes a turn as the action shifts to Asia for the next chapter in the adventure series. Brendan Fraser returns as explorer Rick OConnell 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 OConnells must stop an evil emperor awakened from a 2,000-year-old curse who threatens to plunge the world into his merciless, unending service.

Doomed by a double-crossed sorceress (Michelle Yeoh) who avenges herself by causing the warlord to spend eternity in suspended animation, Chinas 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 Alex OConnell is made to awaken the ruler from eternal slumber, well, lets just say that the fighting begins, with the OConnells having to once again save mankind.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Brendan Fraser stars for the third time (or is it the fourth, Ive lost count) as an adventurer up against undead super villains/creatures/armies. More like a Saturday morning action serial (with tomb-to tomb-action sequences) than reminiscent of the eerie Karloff 1932 chiller, director Rob Cohen injects enough humor (though some is lame while other gags just dont get any audience reaction at all) and lots and lots of Indiana Jones-like derring-do to offset the CGI ghoulishness. Like all action/adventure sequels, the budget reflects the studios continued faith in the money-making value of the franchise. In other words, its bigger and louder and even more nonsensical.

Can somebody tell me why these beings are referred to as mummies? Mummy: a body embalmed for burial in the manner of the ancient Egyptians. Nothing whatsoever resembles that process in this film. Which is a shame, as the mummy process can be unsettling. The most terrifying moment in the 1932 Boris Karloff The Mummy original came when we saw a man being mummified while he struggled for freedom, then buried alive! It remains a scary visual because that can be done to a human being. Thats what makes it more scary than a CGI flying dragon. As for eeriness, the original film had that pyramid cornered, as well. Theres a moment in that movie when an archeologist examines a scroll unaware that just behind him the unearthed ancient mummy slowly opens his eyes. Then he moves. And since you dont see a 2,000-year-old mummy suddenly come to life all that often, it has a deleterious effect upon the archeologist. He goes, well, a little funny in the head.

With the incredible makeup done by the genius Jack Pierce, who also created the Frankenstein monster, the Wolfman and other Universal classic ghouls, and the macabre presence of Boris Karloff, that fright flick was both unnerving and spine tingling. All that spookiness that makes the hairs rise on the back of your neck is nowhere to be found in this reinvention of the genre. Audiences have come to expect computer-generated beasts and nonstop movement. And thats exactly what they get with this one. Whats more, the screening audience applauded when the ending credits came. They didnt mind the Simple Simon dialogue or the silly premise (why do the bad guys want to bring this nutcase back to life?), or the lackluster performances.

If you are interested in why Karloffs The Mummy is far superior despite the slow pacing and the fact that 75 years ago films were made in black & white, there are two commentary tracks on the recently remastered special edition, plus several extra features that point out why this film remains a legendary signpost of the horror genre.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Universal

Summary
Crude Language: A couple of crude sexual innuendoes
Obscene Language: The expression SOB is heard three times
Profanity: The expression Oh my God is heard a couple times
Violence: Oh, a lot of violence, with gun fire, sword fights, martial arts battles, explosions, bazooka attacks and folks being tossed about by abominable snow men, the film is endless conflict. Blood: Very little blood as the undead have little inside them but dust.
Sexual Intercourse: A couple of sexual innuendoes between man and wife
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Wine drinking with a meal
Other: Hostilities between father and son soon evaporate as they fight together against demonic dead things.
Running Time: 111 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Older

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)