REVIEW: THE MUMMY (2017)

CAST

Tom Cruise (Oblivion)
Annabelle Wallis (Annabelle)
Sofia Boutella (Star Trek Beyond)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Courtney B. Vance (Flashforward)
Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)
Marwan Kenzari (Ben-Hur)
Javier Botet (Mama)
Selva Rasalingam (Skyfall)

In 1127 A.D., a group of English crusader knights capture a large ruby from ancient Egypt and bury it within the tomb of one of their number. In present-day London, a Crossrail construction crew discover the knights’ tomb and a mysterious man is authorized to investigate the uncovered findings inside the site. In a flashback, the hieroglyphics on a circular mural in the tomb, which date back to the New Kingdom era, tell the story of the ruthless Princess Ahmanet.She was first in line to succeed her father Pharaoh Menehptre only to be stripped of her birthright when his second wife gave birth to a son. Determined to claim the throne for herself, Ahmanet sold her soul to the Egyptian god Set, who gave her a special dagger to transfer his spirit into a corporeal form. After murdering her family, Ahmanet attempted to sacrifice her lover to give Set physical form, but her father’s priests slew him and mummified Ahmanet, sentencing her to be buried alive for eternity inside a sarcophagus surrounded by mercury so that her monstrous form will not escape the tomb. In present-day Iraq, soldier-of-fortune Nick Morton and his partner Chris Vail accidentally discover the tomb of Ahmanet after staging an airstrike on an insurgent stronghold. Jenny Halsey, an archaeologist who had a one-night stand with Nick, arrives and investigates the tomb, correctly concluding that it is a prison. After extracting Ahmanet’s sarcophagus from a pool of mercury, Nick’s superior, Colonel Greenway, places the sarcophagus on a transport plane, headed to England.During the flight, Vail becomes possessed by Ahmanet’s power after being bitten by a camel spider while inside the tomb. After attempting to open the sarcophagus, he stabs Greenway and attacks the group before Nick is forced to shoot him dead. A huge murder of crows then assault the plane, causing it to crash and kill everyone on board except for Jenny, who is parachuted off the plane by Nick. Nick awakens a day later in a morgue in Oxford, and learns from Vail’s ghost that he has been cursed by Ahmanet, who seeks to use him as a replacement vessel for Set. Ahmanet’s mummy escapes from the sarcophagus and begins feeding on rescue workers to regenerate her decomposed body. Turning the workers into zombie minions, she lures Nick and Jenny into a trap, forcing the two to fight off the minions as they unsuccessfully try to escape. Ahmanet also recovers the blade of the Dagger of Set from a reliquary in a nearby church.At the last second, unknown soldiers appear and subdue Ahmanet. Their leader, Dr. Henry Jekyll, explains that Jenny is an agent of Prodigium, a secret society dedicated to hunting supernatural threats whose base is under the Natural History Museum of London and contains such objects as a webbed hand and a human skull with fangs. He confirms that Nick was cursed when he unlocked Ahmanet’s tomb and reveals his intention to complete her ritual and allow Set to possess Nick in order to destroy Set and end his evil forever. Meanwhile, Ahmanet summons another spider to possess a Prodigium technician and frees herself from captivity, wreaking havoc, death, and destruction in the process. Jekyll succumbs to his own dark impulses and transforms into Edward Hyde, his murderous and psychotic alternate personality; when Nick rebuffs Hyde’s offer of an alliance between them, Hyde attacks and nearly kills Nick before Nick manages to stop him with the serum Jekyll uses to suppress his evil side. Nick and Jenny then escape from Prodigium while Ahmanet steals back the dagger, summons an army of deceased English crusaders to serve her, and creates a massive sandstorm that ravages London. The undead knights slaughter the Prodigium soldiers in the tomb, allowing Ahmanet to recover the ruby and set it in the dagger’s pommel, granting her all she needs to free Set.Guided by Vail, Nick and Jenny flee into the London Underground tunnels under London, but are attacked by Ahmanet’s minions. Ahmanet captures Jenny and drowns her, hoping to break her hold over Nick. Nick puts up a fight, but gives up and lets himself embrace Ahmanet, using it as a ruse to steal the dagger and stab himself. His body is possessed by Set, who proceeds to join Ahmanet to uphold his end of the bargain until he sees Jenny’s dead body, at which point Nick regains control and uses Set’s powers to overpower and suck the life out of Ahmanet, turning her back into a shriveled mummy. Nick harnesses Set’s powers to resurrect Jenny, saying goodbye before becoming overwhelmed by Set’s power and disappearing. Soon, Jenny regroups with Dr. Jekyll and they discuss if Nick, now fused with Set, will succumb to Set’s influence. Ahmanet’s corpse is lowered into a locked pool of mercury within the Prodigium base for safekeeping. Later on in the desert, Nick resurrects Vail, and the two set out on an adventure.I was very happy with the Mummy. I didn’t expect a lot, so I was pleasantly surprised with what I got. Not everyone is going to like it, though, The original Mummy movies were classics and some might say a reboot was unnecessary. A movie like this is one that’s best to make your own mind up on.

 

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REVIEW: THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR

CAST

Brendan Fraser (Bedazzled)
Jet Li (The One)
Maria Bello (The Cooler)
John Hannah (Spartacus)
Luke Ford (Animal Kingdom)
Michelle Yeoh (Memoirs of a Geisha)
Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones)
Isabella Leong (Spider Lilies)
Anthony Wong (The Mad Monk)
Russell Wong (Romeo Must Die)

In ancient China, a brutal and tyrannical warlord unites the country’s kingdoms into an empire and becomes the Dragon Emperor. He orders the construction of the Great Wall of China to bury and curse his dead enemies, eventually learning power over the classical elements fire, water, earth, wood and metal. The Emperor soon grows fearful that his death will end all he has accomplished and summons Zi Yuan, a sorceress who is said to know the secret of immortality. She seemingly casts a spell on the Emperor in Sanskrit, before he executes General Ming, his trusted friend and Zi Yuan’s secret lover. He impales Zi Yuan, but having foreseen such events, she immolates and detains the Emperor, transforming his army into the Terracotta Army, and flees.In 1946, Alex O’Connell, Rick and Evelyn O’Connell’s son, and his archaeology professor Roger Wilson locates the Emperor’s tomb. Though attacked by a mysterious woman, they succeed in bringing the coffin to Shanghai. Meanwhile, the British government entrusts the O’Connells to take the Eye of Shangri-La back to China. However, they learn that Wilson works for a rogue military faction led by General Yang, who had provided the financial backing of Alex’s expedition. Yang believes that the Emperor is the one who can lead China out of the chaos following WWII and plans to resurrect the Emperor using the Eye, which contains the Elixir of Life. They open it, but it accidentally lands on the statue of the carriage driver, which is revealed to actually be the Emperor’s mummified body. He accepts Yang’s service but kills Wilson and escapes.Along with Evelyn’s brother Jonathan Carnahan, the O’Connells and the mysterious woman, Lin, travel to a stupa in the Himalayas that will reveal the path to Shangri-La when the Eye is placed on top of it. With the help of Yetis summoned by Lin, the group hold off Yang’s soldiers but the Emperor discovers Shangri-La’s location. Alex attempts to trigger an avalanche. The Emperor throws a dagger at him, but Rick shoves Alex and is stabbed instead. Lin takes the group to Shangri-La, where Zi Yuan still lives and heals Rick’s wound. The group discovers that Lin is Zi Yuan’s daughter, both rendered immortal due to the power of Shangri-La’s waters. As Rick heals, Alex and Lin have grown attached to each other, but Lin refuses due to her immortality; unable to bear falling in love with Alex only to watch him grow old and die, just as Zi Yuan mourned for General Ming.The Emperor and General Yang eventually arrive and attack them in Shangri-La, and the Emperor bathes in the mystical waters, which restores his human form and youth, and gives him the ability to shapeshift. Transforming into a dragon, the Emperor kidnaps Lin and flies back to the tomb, raising his Terracota Army, planning to cross the Great Wall, where they will be invincible. The O’Connells and Zi Yuan pursue the Emperor to the Great Wall where she sacrifices her and Lin’s immortality to create an undead army from beneath The Great Wall, led by a revived General Ming. As Alex rescues Lin, Zi Yuan fights the Emperor and is mortally wounded, but secures the dagger. Zi Yuan gives the dagger to the group before dying. Meanwhile, the Emperor goes into the Great Wall to use his elemental powers to negate the undead spell. Rick and Alex fight off the Emperor while Evelyn and Lin fight and kill Yang. The Emperor gains the upper hand over Rick, but Rick and Alex manage to stab the Emperor in his heart with the dagger, killing him and defeating the Terracotta Army. Ming’s army briefly celebrates before finally moving on to a peaceful afterlife.The O’Connells return to Shanghai while Jonathan decides to move to Peru with the Eye of Shangri-La, as he wants to go somewhere with no mummies. However, in postscript, it is revealed that upon his arrival, mummies were discovered in Peru.The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has a lot of physical comedy and computer-generated creatures as the previous two movies did. Fans of the Mummy films will be entertained as long as their expectations are checked at the door. I, for one, still enjoyed the mindless entertainment.

REVIEW: THE MUMMY RETURNS

CAST

Brendan Fraser (Bedazzled)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Arnold Vosloo (G.I. Joe)
John Hannah (Spartacus)
Oded Fehr (Resident Evil: Apocalypse)
Patricia Velásquez (Mindhunters)
Freddie Boath (The Pillars of The Earth)
Alun Armstrong (Van Helsing)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Suicide Squad)
Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas)
Shaun Parkes (The River)
Aharon Ipalé (Charlie Wilson’s war)

In 3067 BC, the Scorpion King leads his army on a campaign to conquer the world. After fighting for seven years, his army is defeated while attacking Thebes and exiled to the desert of Ahm Shere, where his men die of heat exhaustion. After vowing to give Anubis his soul for the power to defeat his enemies, an oasis forms to hide the Scorpion King’s pyramid and he is given a legion of jackal warriors in return. The Army of Anubis sweeps across Egypt, but once their task is finished, Anubis claims the Scorpion King’s soul and his army.In 1933, Rick and Evelyn O’Connell explore a ruined mortuary temple in ancient Thebes with their son, Alex, where they find the Bracelet of Anubis. In London, the bracelet locks onto Alex, showing him a vision directing him to Ahm Shere. Alex has seven days to reach the oasis, or the bracelet will kill him when the sun’s rays shine on the Scorpion King’s pyramid.Evelyn is captured by an Egyptian cult who resurrect Imhotep; they wish to use his power to defeat the Scorpion King, giving him command of Anubis’ army to take over the world. The cult, led by Baltus Hafez, the British Museum’s curator, includes a warrior named Lock-Nah and Meela Nais; the latter being a reincarnation of Imhotep’s love interest Anck-su-namun. Rick sets out to rescue Evelyn, accompanied by her brother Jonathan and the Medjai Ardeth Bay.Hafez attempts to sacrifice Evelyn but a fight ensues between Rick and Imhotep. Imhotep calls on the help of mummified soldiers to kill Rick and the others. After freeing Evelyn, they flee on a double-decker bus with the soldiers in pursuit. After defeating them, Alex is kidnapped by Lock-Nah, and along with the cult travels to Egypt. The O’Connells pursue them to rescue Alex, along with Rick’s associate from his past adventures, Izzy, a pilot, who provides the group with transportation.The bracelet gives Alex directions to Ahm Shere that Imhotep follows and they travel there by train. At each location, Alex leaves clues for his parents, who follow in Izzy’s dirigible. Imhotep uses the Book of the Dead to give Meela Nais the soul of Anck-su-namun, but by doing so he allows Evelyn to unlock the memories of her previous life as Princess Nefertiri, the bracelet’s keeper and Pharaoh Seti I’s daughter. Lock-Nah finds Alex leaving clues, so Imhotep makes a wall of water that attacks the dirigible, causing the O’Connells to crash into the jungle of Ahm Shere. Izzy stays with the dirigible in hopes to repair it. By nightfall, the O’Connells attack the cult, and both groups are attacked by pygmy mummies. Rick retrieves Alex while Ardeth Bay kills Lock-Nah. They escape the pygmies, who kill the cult except for Baltus. Imhotep and Anck-su-namun escape unharmed.Rick and Alex eventually make it to the pyramid before sunrise, where the bracelet detaches from Alex’s arm. Ardeth regroups with the Medjai in case Anubis’s army rises. Anck-su-namun soon stabs Evelyn, killing her, and escapes with Imhotep. Rick, determined to avenge the death of Evelyn, pursues Imhotep. Baltus puts on the bracelet and revives the army. Anubis takes Imhotep’s powers, wanting Imhotep to fight as a mortal. Rick finds Imhotep summoning the Scorpion King and fights him. The Scorpion King interrupts them, and Imhotep lies to him that Rick was sent to kill him. At the same time, the Medjai battle Anubis’s army of jackal warriors. While Rick and the Scorpion King fight, Baltus is killed. Jonathan and Alex steal the Book of the Dead from Anck-su-namun and use it to resurrect Evelyn, who confronts Anck-su-namun while Alex and Jonathan go to help Rick.The scepter Jonathan has been carrying extends into a spear that can kill the Scorpion King. The Medjai defeats Anubis’ army, but have only defeated the vanguard; the full army charges toward them. Rick kills the Scorpion King, using the scepter, sending him and his army back into the Underworld, which causes the oasis to be sucked back into the pyramid. Rick and Imhotep hang above a pit that leads to the underworld. Evelyn risks her life to save Rick, but Anck-su-namun abandons Imhotep, who, heartbroken, chooses to fall to his death. Anck-su-namun, while escaping, falls into a pit of scorpions and is stung to death. The O’Connells reach the top of the pyramid, which is sinking into the desert. Izzy arrives with a modified dirigible and rescues the O’Connells just as the oasis and the pyramid disappears completely. They depart into the sunset, with Ardeth Bay saluting them, before riding off.A  fresh element to the movie is an interesting  sub-plot about Evy. Her bizarre visions are actually flashbacks from her past life as Nefertiri. Although unnecessary to the movie overall, it does provide some moments of revelation that intertwine with the history of Imhotep’s forbidden love, Anck Su Namun. Although this movie feels like it’s just a bigger and better version of the first film, that’s certainly not a bad thing. Hell, what made the first film so memorable was its highly entertaining blend of action, adventure, special effects, and comedy. Even better, it was all wrapped up in engaging Egyptian folklore.

REVIEW: THE MUMMY (1999)

VCAST

Brendan Fraser (Bedazzled)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Arnold Vosloo (G.I. Joe)
John Hannah (Spartacus)
Kevin J. O’ Connor (Van Helsing)
Jonathan Hyde (The Strain)
Oded Fehr (Resident Evil: Apocalypse)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Patricia Velásquez (Mindhunters)
Bernard Fox (Titanic)
Omid Djalili (Alien Autopsy)

In Thebes, Egypt, 1290 BC, high priest Imhotep has a love affair with Anck-su-Namun, the mistress of Pharaoh Seti I. When the Pharaoh discovers the affair, Imhotep and Anck-su-Namun assassinate him. Imhotep flees, while Anck-su-Namun kills herself, intending for Imhotep to resurrect her. Imhotep and his priests steal her corpse and travel to Hamunaptra, the city of the dead, but the resurrection ritual is stopped by Seti’s bodyguards, the Medjai. Imhotep’s priests are all mummified alive, while Imhotep himself is sentenced to suffer the Hom Dai, the worst of Egyptian curses, buried alive with flesh-eating scarab beetles. Imhotep is sealed away in a sarcophagus at the feet of a statue of the Egyptian god Anubis and kept under strict surveillance by the Medjai to prevent Imhotep’s return.In 1926, Jonathan Carnahan presents his sister Evelyn, a Cairo librarian and aspiring Egyptologist, with an intricate box and map, which leads to Hamunaptra. Jonathan reveals he stole the box from an American adventurer, Rick O’Connell, who discovered the city while in the French Foreign Legion. Rick makes a deal with Evelyn to lead them there if they release him from prison.Rick leads Evelyn and her party to the city, where the group encounters a band of American treasure hunters guided by Rick’s cowardly colleague Beni Gabor. The expeditions are attacked by the Medjai, led by the warrior Ardeth Bay. Against Ardeth’s advice to leave the city, the two expeditions continue to excavate. Evelyn searches for the famous Book of the Living, a book made of pure gold. Instead of finding the book, she, Rick, and Jonathan stumble upon the statue of Anubis and the remains of Imhotep buried underneath. The team of Americans, meanwhile, discover the black Book of the Dead, accompanied by canopic jars carrying Anck-su-Namun’s preserved organs.At night, Evelyn takes the Book of the Dead and reads a page aloud, accidentally awakening Imhotep. The expeditions return to Cairo, but Imhotep follows them with the help of Beni. Imhotep returns to full strength by killing the Americans one by one, and brings the ten plagues back to Egypt. Seeking a way to stop Imhotep, Rick, Evelyn and Jonathan meet Ardeth at a museum. Ardeth hypothesizes that Imhotep wants to resurrect Anck-su-Namun again and plans to do so by sacrificing Evelyn. Evelyn believes that if the Book of the Dead brought Imhotep back to life, the Book of the Living can kill him again, and deduces the book’s whereabouts. Imhotep corners the group with an army of slaves. Evelyn agrees to accompany Imhotep if he spares the rest of the  group. Imhotep, Evelyn, and Beni return to Hamunaptra, pursued by Rick, Jonathan, and Ardeth. Imhotep prepares to sacrifice Evelyn, but she is rescued after an intense battle with Imhotep’s mummified priests. When Evelyn reads from the Book of Amun-Ra, Imhotep becomes mortal again, and Rick forces him into the River of Death. Imhotep leaves the world of the living, vowing revenge. While looting treasure from the pyramid, Beni accidentally sets off an ancient booby trap and is trapped by a swarm of flesh-eating scarabs as Hamunaptra collapses into the sand. Ardeth rides away as Rick and Evelyn kiss and, with Jonathan, ride off into the sunset on a pair of camels laden with Beni’s treasure.In terms of pure escapist fun, The Mummy was a huge success, and it holds up well thanks to Director Stephen Sommers balancing the elements involved so well.