The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is the third installment in the Mummy series. The first film, made in 1999, was originally planned as a low-budget reworking of a 1932 film, which starred Boris Karloff.
But The Mummy turned out to be such a blockbuster that it inspired a sequel, an animated series, a spin-off film called The Scorpion King, video games and even a roller coaster at Universal Studios called The Revenge of the Mummy.
Obviously then, in the interest of commerce, mummies continue to haunt us on screen. In this film however, there isn't a single traditional, bandage-bound mummy.
Instead the action has been transported to post-World War II China where an evil emperor who has been buried for thousands of years is awakened by an equally evil general.
The emperor, who was cursed by a witch, is now an unattractive mixture of mud and hot lava. He is understandably testy and wants to quickly get to the pool of eternal life in Shangri-la, which will make him immortal and allow him to conquer the world. As always, the O’Connells, are the only people who can stop the un-dead baddie and his terracotta army. The first Mummy movie was fun in a cheesy, brain-dead sort of way but by the third, the series has become a bargain basement Indiana Jones.
We have archeologists unearthing fabled treasures, car chases, clever repartee and assorted fantastical creatures. Here some bizarre, fang-baring Yeti’s show up just in time to kick the general’s behind. The Dragon Emperor has loads of special effects and fine actors like Brenden Fraser, Michelle Yeoh and action superstar Jet Li but the writing is infantile. These action adventures are usually formulaic but this film doesn’t have the imagination or wit to make the formula fun. By the time, the Emperor and the O’Connells were locked in a climactic battle, I felt pretty un-dead myself.
This one is for fans only.