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Alex O’Connell (Luke Ford), son of retired archeologists, adventurers and spies Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn O’Connell (Maria Bello), discovers and excavates the tomb of the legendary Chinese Emperor Han (Jet Li). Zi Yuan (Michelle Yeoh) and Lin (Isabella Leong) have watched over the tomb for centuries, because the Emperor is cursed, and if he is awakened, he will conquer the world with his supernatural powers and his army of undead soldiers. The O’Connells, Zi Yuan, her daughter Lin, and Eve’s brother Jonathan (John Hannah) are the only ones who stand between Han and his goal of ruling the world. (Not really the only ones, there are also a bunch of Yetis and the pilot Mad Dog Maguire (Liam Cunningham)).

If that sounds familiar it is because it’s basically the same story as told in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, just in China instead of Egypt, and with no mummy (Han is not mummified but terracottanized).

So it’s the same old story. Not so bad, you might think when you have seen and enjoyed The Mummy, that was quite a great adventure movie. But then, wasn’t The Mummy Returns a rip-off already, confirming the rule that a sequel is always worse than part one? And now there is Tomb of The Dragon Emperor, the rip-off of the rip-off, and there are a number of things wrong with it.
It not only misses any originality, but also one of the original actresses from part one and two, Rachel Weisz, who was replaced with the annoying Maria Bello, and there is no chemistry at all between her and Brendan Fraser. And did i mention Maria Bello is absolutely annoying in Tomb of The Dragon Emperor? What it does have is the now quasi-standard massive battle sequence, but we have seen that before, and in more exciting versions. It also features some below-standard swordfights and nonsensical appliances like giant wooden gear-wheels somewhere within the Great Chinese Wall (?!) which are there and revolve for no apparent reason except to provide a background and obstacles for a fight scene, or a yak in a plane whose only raison d’├ętre is one lame gag. Jet Li’s villain lacks charisma and won’t ever make it near Arnold Vosloo’s Imhotep in any future Top 100 Villains list.
But that’s not the worst – what’s really depressing and makes Tomb of the Dragon Emperor a movie for hardcore mummy-fans and completists only, is that the script and director Rob Cohen seem to have conspired to destroy one of the most beloved characters of the series – that of Jonathan. Jonathan used to be funny in The Mummy, but in Tomb of The Dragon Emperor, every single gag is a dud – just like the film itself.

Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello in The Mummy: Tomb of The Dragon Emperor  Michelle Yeoh and Isabella Leong in The Mummy: Tomb of The Dragon Emperor 

The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor movie trailer

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