Several years after The Mummy Returns came out, a new movie was set to come out and I…was not the least bit interested in seeing it. I honestly felt like it was simply a movie to cash in on the franchise and was too late to really be effective in doing that. Honestly, the only reason I have it is because I had bought the trilogy on Blu-Ray for really cheap. So I might as well quit complaining about this movie and go ahead and start watching The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor.
The plot: During the time of civil war in ancient China, a warlord managed to conquer all of the various kingdoms and called himself the Dragon Emperor. The Dragon Emperor had his enemies build the Great Wall and when they died, had them buried underneath it. The Emperor’s mages taught him to control the elements but when he worried about dying before all his plans were finished, he ordered his most trusted general, General Ming, to capture a witch named Zi Yuan, who was said to know the secret of immortality. Zi Yuan says she doesn’t know the secret to immortality but knows where to find it and she rides off with Ming to a monastery that houses an ancient spell book. Returning to the Emperor’s palace, Zi Yuan reads the spell and when the Emperor offers her anything, she asks to live her life with Ming, as they had become lovers. The Emperor agrees, but then shows her Ming is tied to horses and about to be pulled apart and says that if she will be his queen, he will spare his life. Zi Yuan says that he will never keep his word and the Emperor agrees, and signals for Ming to be killed, then stabs Zi Yuan. However, the Emperor notices something happening to him, he yells at Zi Yuan, who tells him that she cursed him and his army, and grabs the book and leaves the palace, as the Emperor and his army are turned to clay. In 1946, Rick and Evelyn O’Connell have retired but find themselves bored with their everyday lives and both wish to return to the days of their adventures. Meanwhile, their son Alex is in China, having dropped out of college and is now leading an expedition with his old professor, Roger Wilson, to find the Emperor’s tomb. They finally discover it, accidentally setting off the booby traps in the palace but Alex and Roger finally discover the Emperor’s resting place. Suddenly, they are attacked by a mysterious woman but before she can kill him, Alex manages to get away from her and Roger shoots at her to chase her off. Back in London, the British government asks that Rick and Evelyn take a priceless artifact called the Eye of Shangri-La back to China as a sign of goodwill between the two countries and they agree, using it as a chance to visit Jonathan, who has a night club there. Arriving in China, they go to see Jonathan and are shocked to see that Alex is there and Rick manages to save him from a fight involving an old war buddy of Rick’s, but Jonathan doesn’t seem to happy to see them and the O’Connells worry about the distance that is growing between Jonathan and themselves. Meanwhile, a rogue military unit has learned that the O’Connells have the Eye and make plans to get it from them in order to raise the Emperor. That night, Alex takes Rick and Evelyn to see the exhibit and goes to find Roger but as he is walking away, he notices the girl heading towards the exhibit. Meanwhile, Roger meets with Rick and Evelyn, who hand him the Eye, and he then introduces General Yang and his assistant, revealing that he is working with them. Threatening to kill them, they have Rick open the sarcophagus while Evelyn translates the inscription on the Eye and in spite of her efforts to stop them, they manage to open it. Alex finds the girl, who tells him her name is Lin, and they watch what is happening and before Yang can place the elixir from the Eye onto the Emperor’s body, Alex and Lin swing down to stop them, knocking the elixir onto the statue of the Emperor. Lin goes to stab the mummy but realizes it is a decoy, just as the statue comes to life, as well as the horsesdriving the chariot it is on. Yang pledges his loyalty to the Emperor and the ride off, killing Roger as they leave, but Alex and Lin manage to grab onto the underside of the carriage. Rick and Evelyn commandeer a truck carrying fireworks, picking up Jonathan after the Emperor wrecks his car, and give chase but the Emperor manages to set fire to the fireworks in the back of the truck while Rick winds up riding on one of the horses, which the Emperor cause to go out of control. Alex and Lin try to stop them but they end up falling into the sarcophagus when Yang separates it from the chariot. When the group reassemble back at Jonathan’s club, Lin says the Emperor will try to reach Shangri-La to use the mystical waters there to gain immortality. When she says she can lead them there, Rick has his friend Mad Dog Maguire to fly them to the Himalayas, where they start to make their way up the mountains. When they stop for the night, Evelyn questions Alex about his feelings towards Lin, as they both seem to like each other but are fighting against it. The next day, they reach the temple where the path to Shangri-La can be found and make plans to defend it from the Emperor and Yang and Rick has the tower wired to blow in order to prevent the Emperor from using it. When Yang’s troops attack, Rick tells Jonathan to light the fuse but he is unable to light them and forced to take cover. As the soldiers start to overrun them, Lin heads to an archway and calls out to the mountains, and a group of Yeti race down the mountain and begin attacking the soldiers. The Emperor arrives and scares off the Yeti’s then makes his way to the tower, in spite of Rick and Alex’s attempts to stop him. Placing the Eye onto the tower, the Emperor discovers the location of Shangri-La. Alex attempts to cause an avalanche in order to bury the Emperor but the Emperor throws a dagger at him and stabs Rick when he pushes Alex out of the way. The Emperor tries to stop the avalanche with his powers and Lin uses the opportunity to try and stab him with her enchanted dagger but the Emperor tosses her aside and the lapse in concentration causes him to lose control of the avalanche and he and Yang are swept away. When the avalanche stops, the Yeti, who had protected Rick, Alex, and the others, break free from the snow and the group makes their way to Shangri-La in order to help save Rick. When they reach Shangri-La, they encounter Zi Yuan, who happens to be Lin’s mother, and she uses the waters from the pool to heal Rick. When Alex speaks with Zi Yuan and Lin, he learns that Lin is General Ming’s daughter and that she has been alive for over 2000 years. She tells Alex that she her mother has been mourning Ming for centuries and she couldn’t bear to suffer the same fate when Alex died. When Rick awakens, Alex goes to see him and the two reconcile their differences. Meanwhile, Zi Yuan speaks with Lin and says that she will need Lin to sacrifice her immortality in order to defeat the Emperor. Suddenly, the Emperor arrives and uses his powers to blast Zi Yuan and Lin away from the pool, then steps into it, becoming immortal and gaining the power to shapeshift. Transforming into a dragon, the Emperor grabs Lin and the dagger, then flies off with Yang to raise his army. Zi Yuan joins Rick, Evelyn, Alex, and Jonathan and they head to the great wall, where Zi Yuan sacrifices her and Lin’s immortality to raise the Emperor’s enemies that were buried there to stop the Emperor’s army from crossing the Great Wall. As the undead army, led by General Ming, attack the Emperor’s and Yang’s soldiers, Rick and Evelyn help fight them while Alex sneaks into Yang’s camp to free Lin. Meanwhile the Emperor fights with Zi Yuan, who ends up being stabbed by the Emperor but she manages to grab the dagger back from him. When Alex and Lin rejoin Rick and Evelyn, Lin sees her mother and runs to her. Zi Yuan gives Lin the dagger and tells her to stab the Emperor in the heart before she dies. As Lin is overcome with grief, Evelyn hands the dagger to Rick and he and Alex head off to stop the Emperor. Reaching the Emperor’s tomb, Alex faces the Emperor but is easily knocked aside but it allows Rick to leap down and stab the Emperor in the back. While Rick checks on Alex, the Emperor is able to pull the dagger from his back and throws it at Rick, who dodges it and the dagger breaks on a statue. Meanwhile, Evelyn and Lin arrive to help Rick and Alex and end up being attacked by Yang but Evelyn and Lin manage to defeat Yang, who ends up being crushed in a gear along with his assistant. As Rick fights with the Emperor, Alex comes too and grabs the tip of the dagger, leaving a symbol to tell Rick his plan. When Rick sees the symbol, he grabs the other half of the dagger and attempts to stab the Emperor. When the Emperor blocks him, Alex is able to push the tip into the Emperor’s back and Rick manages to plunge the other half into the Emperor’s heart, killing the Emperor. Outside, the Emperor’s soldiers end up collapsing and turning into dust and Ming and the undead army celebrate before they also turn to dust and head to the afterlife. Later, the group return to Jonathan’s club, which is now owned by Mad Dog, and Alex and Lin are discussing their future together as they dance, while Rick and Evelyn talk about continuing to live adventures while they dance. Meanwhile, Jonathan leaves the club with the diamond Eye of Shangri-La, saying he is heading to Peru where there are no mummies but a postscript says that shortly afterwards, mummies were discovered in Peru.
The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor met with mostly negative reviews, earning only a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “With middling CG effects and a distinct lack of fun, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor finds the series past its prime.” When the movie was first considered, Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz both wanted to reprise their roles but when it started to get close to filming, Weisz had to drop out due to problems with the script and having just given birth to her son and was replaced by Maria Bello. While the film did have the top spot on it’s opening day, it only came in second over the weekend as The Dark Knight remained the # 1 movie. The movie still made a profit at the box office, earning over $401 million off a $145 million budget, but it was the least profitable entry in the series.
As much as I griped about this movie, I am glad to know that I was partially right about it. This was a decent movie but it did lack some of the magic that made the previous movies so much fun to watch. Brendan Fraser and John Hannah did a good job reprising their roles of Rick and Jonathan respectively and Maria Bello did a decent job as Evelyn, with a funny scene that joked about the different actress playing the character. The story was interesting, and while I did like the change of location, there were several elements that just made the movie look silly, such as the Yeti’s kicking a soldier over an archway and a second Yeti throwing his arms up to signal a field goal. The special effects were ok for the most part but they honestly paled in comparison to the previous movie, which is sad considering there was 7 years of advancement in the technology. It’s decent but there are better movies to watch.
Rating: 3 out of 5