To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky visuals with exaggerated action. It's certainly nothing like the involving classic monster movies they're trying to reignite, such as the 1932 Boris Karloff classic The Mummy. But this movie has more in common with Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible and Jack Reacher blockbusters, with added swimming zombies.
Cruise plays Nick, an American army officer and mercenary who with his cohort Vail (Jake Johnson) has just located a long-lost burial site deep in Daesh-controlled Iraq. Somehow, the hot archaeologist Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) arrives immediately to stop him from plundering this tomb. It turns out that the sarcophagus contains the remains of ancient Egyptian Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who was mummified alive for making a pact with the evil god Set and then murdering her father and brother. Now transported to London, she returns to life with a vengeance, casting a spell on Nick to help reassemble Set's dagger and finish her nefarious plan. So Jenny turns to her deeply unstable boss Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) for help.
There's rather a lot of mythology building going on here, setting things up for the further adventures of Jekyll's secret society, which is trying to deal with ancient evil like a mash-up of Men in Black and Night at the Museum. Without the humour. There are some throwaway gags here and there, but director Alex Kurtzman stages everything with a gloomy sense of foreboding that simply never gains traction. The thin plot seems constructed merely to connect a series of enormous action set-pieces, which are all very well choreographed but never remotely exciting. It doesn't help that everything on-screen has been extravagantly over-designed, with cavernous sets that have been made deliberately dark and sooty. But this leaves the entire movie feeling artificial, random mayhem in fake places.
Continue reading: The Mummy Review
A belated, Tarantino-spawn crime caper picture packed with highly contrived, high-caliber gunplay and other bursts of meaningless creativity, "The Way of the Gun" is the gritty and stylish, but hollow and hyperbolic, directorial debut of "The Usual Suspects" screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie.
A tangled and twisty yarn of dastardly deeds and double-crosses, the plot begins with a conversation between two bodyguards charged with protecting a surrogate mother (Juliette Lewis), who is carrying a baby for a crooked L.A. millionaire and his frigid, disinterested trophy wife.
Eavesdropping are a pair of glum petty thugs (Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro) who concoct, on the spot, a scheme to kidnap the woman and ransom the unborn kid for the kind of money they always thought they deserved but could never procure with their small-time villainy.
Continue reading: The Way Of The Gun Review
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