At The Movies - The Mummy: The Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor

Violence poor substitute for fun, action

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"The Mummy" was a fun movie -- I still watch it from time to time on television.

I have seen "The Mummy Returns" a couple of times, the only scene that stands out is the battle between the heroine Evelyn O'Connell and the evil Egyptian princess in a past life. It was rare to see women getting in on the action aspect of an action adventure movie.

At any rate, I had high hopes for the third installment of "The Mummy" series, "The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." I was sadly disappointed.

One of the things I enjoyed about "The Mummy" was the dialog -- it was fast and funny. Dialog in this edition was limited largely to shouting, mumbling and growling. The action and sight gags of the first film have been replaced with an overwhelming amount of violence.

In one of the first scenes the hero, Rick O'Connell, is teaching himself flyfishing and gets a hook stuck in his neck. Not funny and a little gross.

There is a tediously long and fiery chase through the crowded streets of Shanghai on Chinese New Year 1947 between the resurrected Dragon Emperor and his resurrected (from stone) horse-drawn chariot and a truck carrying fireworks commandeered by the hero O'Connell family and their Chinese compatriot.

There is an equally long, boring battle at the gateway to the mythical Shangri La. The only redeeming aspect of that particular series of scenes was the introduction of the Yeti.

The absence of Rachel Weisz as the Evelyn O'Connell character leaves a serious void. Reading trivia about the film at imbd.com, she reportedly chose not to reprise the role "due to different interests with the screenplay." I would venture to guess she could not see herself playing the mother of a grown man.

She brought a bubbliness and passion to the character that was one of the key aspects to the fun of the film. There was also wonderful chemistry between her and Brendan Fraser who has starred as Rick O'Connell in all three movies.

Another hole results from the lack of participation by the character of Jonathan Carnahan, Evelyn's brother, again played by John Hannah. He was a hoot in the first film; a delightful, often inebriated foil for the bluster of Fraser's Rick and hyper-enthusiastic Weisz's Evelyn.

He appears to have sobered up in this edition and operates a nightclub in Shanghai called "Imhotep" -- a nod to the mummy in the first and second editions of the series. His scenes seem to relegate him to someone just coming along for the ride.

Having seen this edition of "The Mummy," if given a choice, I'd tune in to see the first two back-to-back instead.

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