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The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor – Review November 3, 2009

Posted by Cello in Domestic Film Reviews.


Rick and Evelyn O’Connell come out of retirement in 1946 to travel to Shanghai, where they are tricked into helping resurrect an evil 2,000 year old emperor played by Jet Li. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor takes us on a guided tour of the catacombs of ancient China and the peaks of the Himalayas, with a pit stop in postwar Shanghai. The lavish landscapes aside, its the only real compliment I can give this film. Right off the bat I noticed Jet Li barely gets to throw a single roundhouse punch. Half the time he’s just a glorified special effect.

The movie tries to entertain us with a series of daring escapades and breathtaking spectacles, but unfortunately these attempts fall flat. Fans of The Mummy series will most likely go to see this movie for its great action and almost comic peril as well as to complete watching the entire series. The third in the series, this film falls short of the original on several grounds. First, it’s the same take on the old premise. The film only ventures into new territory in terms of geography, and like The Mummy Returns, the storyline mirrors the first, down to the mummy being cursed as a result of infidelity.


In the first few minutes of the film we are subjected to boring narrative, like a history lesson that isn’t real. This movie is insulting to the audience, constantly demanding that we blindly ignore simple logic. Special effects are on the same level as the previous 2 mummy movies (if not a little bit better) but does not come close to the success of The Mummy or The Mummy Returns. Jet Li makes a good villain, despite being terra cotta for the most part. With Michelle Yeoh, Luke Ford and Isabella Leong being welcomed additionals to the cast.

I was a bg fan of the first two films but thanks to this film I have no attachment to the Mummy franchise or characters. I don’t care about them in any way, shape or form. The only salvage I can recommend is that this is another notch in Michelle Yoeh and Jet Li’s mainstream crossover success.  Rachel Weisz was smart to stay away from this movie. The leads give unconvincing, wooden performances, and Bello and Fraser have zero chemistry. This movie came across as a rush job and the end result was bad dialogue, bad acting and even worse a weak storyline. Watch this movie for the action scenes but don’t count on a solid movie experience.



1. Heather - November 3, 2009

I’m so glad you hated it too. I was going to write a review of it myself after watching it on HBO last week, but I was too pissed that I’d already spent so much unnecessary time on it as it were.

Saddens my heart to see Jet-Li is roles like this. I want more FEARLESS!

2. Heather - November 3, 2009

and for me Michelle Yeoh was one of the only redeeming qualities this stupid movie had.

I didn’t like the second one either, but the first was kick ass!

3. Cello - November 3, 2009

you read my mind, what were those two thinking? Brenden Fraser scraps by with one of the worst filmographies possible. Oye!

4. Heather - November 3, 2009

And he almost always plays the same character! I’ve seen him in roles where he’s acted well, but he opts not to expand much past the Encino Man genre. I admit he’s charming and that sometimes it works, but this franchise has hit the Batman and Robin wall if you ask me.

Btw, a Brendan Fraser movie that I adore and is a total guilty pleasure is Bedazzled. Maybe it’s more Elizabeth Hurley, but I dig that movie for some reason.

5. gaguri - November 4, 2009

I enjoyed the first mummy quite a bit, the second was ok but not as good. THIS however…was soooo bad =(

6. goregirl - November 4, 2009

Have to concur with the other comments here, this one was a real knife in the head!

7. glothelegend - November 9, 2009

No Rachel Weisz = not gonna bother.

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