The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Film review by: Witney Seibold



            So they’re all in the Himalayas, right? And the good guys are being beset by bad guys, right? And Rick (played by Brendan Fraser) is being beaten up by the evil Dragon Emperor (played by Jet Li, when he’s not CGI), and Evie (who looks less like Rachel Weisz these days, and more like Maria Bello) is all covered in snow, and is swordfighting with some of the bad guys’ henchmen. And Rick’s twentysomething son (Luke Ford) is there. And Michelle Yeoh is there, and she, like, does this hooting call thing. And you know what? Yetis show up! That’s right! Honest-to-goodness yetis! I mean holy crap! Yetis!


            The yetis give each other FBI hand signals (!), and they spread out amongst the swordfighting humans, and they start pummeling people, and one of then punches another so hard, that the human goes flying into a wall, and another kicks another human so hard that it flies through these two giant spires, and this other yeti makes a “field goal” sign with its arms, and the yetis roar and cheer, and, oh man, yetis, man! Yetis! I mean, that’s, like, so cool!


            The Rob Cohen film surrounding the yetis, while kind of unnecessary (did we really need a second sequel to a 1999 Indiana Jones ripoff the same year we already had a real Indiana Jones sequel?), predictably predictable, and yet, was surprisingly good. Cohen, used to films like “XXX,” “The Fast and the Furious,” and “Stealth,” stays on the lighter side for “Dragon Emperor,” making an action comedy that, while not insanely funny or deeply thrilling, is at least affably funny and amusingly thrilling. The pace is brisk, the returning actors all fall back into their old roles with ease (Fraser especially has fun with this kind of role), and the new actors seem to know exactly what kind of cheesy b-movie they’re making. Bello may not look like Weisz (the actress she replaced), but she sure sounds like Weisz, and is actually more believable as an aspiring housewife who can’t seem to put down the swords or the mummy fighting.


            The story is almost irrelevant: In a ten-minute intro, we’re taught that 2000 years ago, The Dragon Emperor Han (Li) tried to achieve immortality with the aide of a witch named Zi Juan (Yeoh). She, still bitter over Han killing her fiancé, turns Han and his 10,000-strong army into terra cotta instead.


            Fast forward to 1946, a Chinese general uses his ancient knickknacks and mystical scrolls, etc. to resurrect Han. The O’Connell family gets involved because, well, it was Rick’s son, an aspiring archeologist, that found the buried Han statue. There’s then a globe-trotting chase as the O’Connells must trail Han, still made of stone, but walking about, to Shanghai, Shangri-La, and the Great Wall. Oh, and it turns out there is an army of mummies buried under the Great Wall that is resurrected to help the good guys.


            Oh, and there’s a completely boring subplot in which Rick’s son falls in love with Zi Juan’s daughter (Isabella Leong). Oh, and John Hannah also returns, although he’s given little to do, other than make wisecracks to yaks.


            So yeah, “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” is pretty stupid. But, it’s a fun kind of stupid. It wasn’t great, but a film like this doesn’t need to be. It only needs to fully realize its status as a bubblegum entertainment. In short: it didn’t suck, and sometimes that’s enough.


           The yetis also help immensely.


Don't mess with the yetisyn, human.

Don't mess with the yetisyn, human.


Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 6:11 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. The one star I plopped on this clunky bore-athon is due to the presence of the great Jet Li as the evil Dragon Emperor of the subtitle and the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh as Zi Yuan, a witch who’s been on the Emperor¹s ass for over 2000 years.

    Peter Travers
    Rolling Stone _mummy_tomb_of_the_dragon_emperor

    martial-arts superstar Jet Li triumphs as the mostly wordless evil Emperor Han of ancient China, a glowing magma spirit locked in a terra cotta shell.

    Jane Horwitz
    Washington Post 073100734.html

    Still, Li makes a great villain, using his powers to create fire, ice and other elements.

    Edward Douglas
    Coming Soon

    Toward the end of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh launch into a vigorous sword fight — and what a grand pleasure it is to watch these two world-class stars in action again…Their duel atop the Great Wall of China is a reunion of titans, an Old Timers’ Day for two actor-athletes still in their sinuous prime. Forgive the effusions of an alter-kocker fanboy, but the flinty glamour of Li and Yeoh — buttressed by the stolid, sneering presence of top Hong Kong villain Anthony Wong Chau-sang (who in 1993 appeared in 15 films!) — is the best reason to catch this third in the series of Indiana Jones knockoffs.

    Richard Corliss

    A memorably badass Jet Li.
    Nathan Rabin
    AV Club

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