The Mummy Returns Review
By Christopher Null
That darn mummy!
Stab him, burn him, unravel him (or whatever Brendan Fraser & Co. did to him in the original; I can't even remember)... he still keeps coming back!
The sequel to 1999's wildly (and inexplicably) popular The Mummy, The Mummy Returns us to 1933 where we once again catch up with Rick and Evelyn (Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz), now-married adventurers who uncover even more evil in the Egyptian desert. Now they have a precious kid in tow (nine-year-old newcomer Freddie Boath), and oddly enough Evelyn is dreaming of ancient Egypt and some mythical Scorpion King. Add to the mix an evil cult trying once again to raise the spirit of the original mummy (Arnold Vosloo), the good-guy "Magi" out to stop it, plenty more characters from the original that we're supposed to remember (but don't), and Shaun Parkes (playing what now can only be called the Orlando Jones character) piloting a lame CGI balloon around the desert as Rick's chauffer... and damned if I can tell you what's going on.
The Mummy Returns is chock full of what is best described simply as bizarre nonsense. From WWF wrestling hero The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson) as the aforementioned Scorpion King (with virtually no lines) to a horde of pygmy skeletons who devour anything they encounter, writer/director Stephen Sommers goes to every length he can muster to make sure there is plenty of stuff going on. But not content to produce a mere action/adventure, Sommers heaps on the metaphysical and mythical hokum until the film decays into a pile of mummy's rags. For much of the film I simply sat there feeling bored. But with all that said, while much of the movie is incomprehensible nonsense, it's frightening to see how much of the plot has been lifted wholesale from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
As it strives for a modicum of camp, The Mummy Returns often feels less like a sequel and more like a remake of itself. In fact, that darn mummy pulls out all the same old tricks -- killer beetles, body reconstruction, dust-born servants, and so on. In the original flick they were amusing to the point of distraction from the asinine plot. Here, they're just a bunch of cheap fright gags, lame jokes, and boring traps, all of which we've seen countless times before. Sommers can't even salvage what should be the best part of the movie: the fight scenes. It's an utter shock that they are choreographed so poorly and that the photographing and editing of them is even worse. You'd think with The Rock in your movie you'd at least see a body slam or two. No such luck.
Of course, anyone willing to pay to see a movie that stars a pro wrestler is going to get his money's worth, I suppose. In fact, I'll go right ahead and predict yet another Mummy monstrosity to come as Brendan Fraser returns in The Mummy: The Final Frontier, wherein it is revealed he is actually King Tut reincarnated, and he's out to move back into his favorite pyramid.
Egypt, watch out!
Big mummy makes ya wanna -- jump! jump!
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 4th May 2001
Box Office Worldwide: $433M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Alphaville Films, Imhotep Productions
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 47%
Fresh: 66 Rotten: 74
Cast & Crew
Starring: Brendan Fraser as Richard O'Connell, Rachel Weisz as Evelyn Carnahan O'Connell/Princess Nefertiri, John Hannah as Jonathan Carnahan, Arnold Vosloo as High Priest Imhotep, Oded Fehr as Ardeth Bay, Dwayne Johnson as Mathayus the Scorpion King, Freddie Boath as Alexander O'Connell, Patricia Velásquez as Meela Nais/Anck Su Namun, Alun Armstrong as Baltus Hafez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Lock-Nah, Shaun Parkes as Izzy Buttons, Bruce Byron as Red, Joe Dixon as Jacques, Thomas Fisher as Spivey, Aharon Ipalé as Pharaoh Seti I, Quill Roberts as Shafek, Donna Air as Showgirl with Jonathan, Trevor Lovell as Mountain of Flesh, Tom Fisher as Spivey