The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Rated PG-13) 1 Star   

{mosimage}Godfather 3. Alien 3. Batman Forever. Did Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (112 minutes) manage to equal these famously horrendous missteps? No, primarily because the former three franchises started out totally punk rock. Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is the lackluster final entry in a franchise that wasn’t all that interesting to begin with. What is especially painful about this particular series is all the wasted potential. The mummy is a great villain, and everyone loves a nice Indiana-style adventure. Sadly, director Rob Cohen and the writers manage to hack out even the marginal charm offered in the first two movies. This may be called The Mummy, but the protagonist is actually, (eyeroll) a terra cotta warrior.
    The film begins by ripping off a few Ang Lee movies — and it is very pretty to look at, especially when Zi Juan (Michelle Yeoh) appears. Zi Juan is a witch and the villainous Emperor Han (Jet Li) wants her to make him immortal. He instructs his loyal general, Ming (Russell Wong) that no one is to touch her. The two fall in love (duh) and the Emperor Han takes his revenge just before Zi Juan reveals that she has not made him immortal, she has cursed him and his army.
    Is it over yet? Sadly, no. The film skips ahead to 1947, where retired phallocentric explorer Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and his vapid eyed, poorly characterized wife Evelyn (Maria Bello) are bored with civilian life, while their son Alex (Luke Ford) is digging up tombs in China. Alex successfully unearths the tomb of the Dragon Emperor, and the British government calls his parents out of retirement to escort a valuable jewel from Britain back to China. After the elder O’Connell’s arrive at the Shanghai nightclub owned by Evelyn’s avaricious brother Jonathan (John Hannah), the family O’Connell head to the museum housing Alex’s finds. There, they discover a General Yang (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang) with his second command Choi (Jessey Meng) engaged in a plot to raise the evil Emperor Han.
    As the insipid, lifeless dreck called a movie enters the third act I am tempted to leave, but I stay despite the growing agony I experience as my brain tries to find sense amidst the jumble of different mythologies thrown together on the screen. And what is that smell? Oh, it’s the climax of the film! Despite the conveniently numerous powers displayed by the Emperor (shape-shifting, elemental control, flight, super strength, regeneration), he is unable to kill the O’Connells. If I had the power to control ice and water, it would take me about five seconds to freeze the blood in their bodies — which would have shaved a good hour off this padded beyond belief movie.
    This joyless (and pointless) exercise in mediocrity cannot even be enjoyed on an ironic so-bad-its-good level. The plot holes are big enough to drive a truck through, the dialogue is moronic, the acting is sophomoric and the plot is convoluted. Bottom line: waste of their time to make it, waste of my time to see it. Where’s the Scorpion King when we need him?

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