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Mummy 3 A Clinic of Bad Acting and Bad Everything Else

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Directed by Rob Cohen
Written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar
Universal, 2008

Rob Cohen unfortunately made a name for himself a few years ago when he directed The Fast and the Furious and xXx, movies that did boffo box office and therefore fooled studios into thinking he was great.  Forgotten in the shuffle of those two flicks were earlier movies like Daylight, The Skulls, and Dragonheart, and hence we had to suffer 2005’s Stealth, one of the worst movies of the decade.  After watching The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, I think Cohen wasn’t satisfied in making just one awful flick and tried to lower the bar further.

The third chapter of the franchise is like, I don’t know, a decade or so after the last one, maybe?  It’s been 7 years since The Mummy Returns, at least.  Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) is living in his mansion with wife Evelyn (Maria Bello taking over for Rachel Weisz, who won an Oscar in between these films and probably (rightfully) avoided this trash…and we get a small inside joke about that early on) and enjoying retirement.  Evelyn writes books based on her adventures, but is having writer’s block right now because she can’t dream these things up on her own.  And Rick isn’t having much of an exciting life either.  Their grown son Alex (Luke Ford) is the one doing excavations now and he’s uncovered a former emperor, who could come back to life if only the right ingredients came into play.

So someone comes to Evelyn and Rick with a diamond from Shangri La, something that contains a fluid that when mixed with blood and comes in contact with the emperor, it will bring him back to life.  They are told to go to China and meet up with their son, and of course there are bad guys who know this and proceed with the plan to awaken Emperor Han, played by Jet Li in a special effects extravaganza that has pieces of rock falling off him because he’s not quite whole yet.  Han was cursed when he killed Zi Juan’s (Michelle Yeoh) fiance about 2000 years ago.  And there’s a bunch of seemingly made-up-on-the-spot nonsense about how he can become immortal using the Shangri La diamond.  Han is assisted by modern-day general Yang (Hard Boiled’s Anthony Wong Chau-Sang), who swears his life service to the emperor.

The O’Connells, Evelyn’s brother Jonathan (John Hannah) and Juan’s daughter Lin (Isabella Leong), who serves as love interest for Alex, must beat down the emperor and the army that he resurrects.

First off, everyone here may give their worst performances ever.  This is especially the case of Maria Bello, who has never been really bad in anything (and is usually very good) until now.  Fraser is Fraser, he’s a happy-go-luckier version of Keanu Reeves.  John Hannah gives the most unneeded (and annoying) comic relief considering that the whole cast is hamming it up in something that isn’t serious in the first place.  But taking the prize for the worst acting in the movie is Luke Ford.  Ford is the guy who makes you realize that you’re watching something very second-rate and probably would have gone straight-to-video if it weren’t for the franchise name.  He and the awful special effects.

And all the while, Cohen is asleep at the wheel.  Horrible action sequences.  Almost every action scene is done in close-up, and for the most part you see a lot of aftermaths…no setup whatsoever.  You can’t see anything.  How about those abominable snowmen, too…actually good guys, by the way, who share a moment while they throw bad guys around?  And the last battle is nothing but special effects; undead armies hacking at each other all for the excuse to show tons of rock and bone slaughter onscreen, because it looks “cool” I guess.

Believe me when I say that this film is dreadful from minute one and it proceeds to last 2 more hours.

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