The Mummy Returns (2001)

Rated PG-13 for adventure action and violence.

Starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, The Rock, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo.
Written and directed by Stephen Sommers.
Distributed by Universal Pictures.
140 minutes.

Photo ©Universal Pictures. All rights reserved.

Get What You Expect

OK. So let me summarize the plot of The Mummy Returns, sequel to 1999's The Mummy. There's a prologue, then an escape scene, then some fights, then a chase scene, then more chases, then a fight scene, then yet more chases, then several simultaneous fight scenes. Most of these scenes are entertaining and feature a lot of decent computer-generated imagery. There. That's all you really need to know.

What? You say you want story details? Well, all right, but I don't think they're really all that necessary, honestly. A long time ago in Egypt, a man called The Scorpion King (played by WWF's "The Rock") commanded a supernatural army, but in exchange for the privelege to command it his soul was taken and sealed away. Cut to the 1930's, where some evil people decide to try to revive both the Scorpion King and Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), the "Mummy" from the first movie. They hope that Imhotep will kill the Scorpion King and therefore take command of his unholy army. Finding and reviving Imhotep proves to be fairly easy, thanks to an Anck-Su-Namun look-alike (Patricia Velazquez); however, the wrong-doers can only be lead the way to the tomb of the Scorpion King by the use of an artifact: the king's bracelet. This item was uncovered and taken by our heroes: Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser), his wife Evie (Rachel Weisz), their 9-year-old son Alex (Freddie Boath), and Evie's brother Jonathan (John Hannah). When Alex puts the bracelet on, the bad guys kidnap him so that he can lead the way to the resting place of the Scorpion King; our heroes are joined by their friend Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr), the guardian warrior from the first movie, in hot pursuit of the kidnappers.

By describing the story above, I'm really just filling up space. There's really just not much to say about this movie. What you expect is what you get. There's thrilling chase sequences that require entire suspension of disbelief. There's lots of action involving either guns or swords. There are one-on-one battles between fighters skilled at swordplay or hand-to-hand combat. There are army battle sequences, where one army is completely made up of cg-warriors. There are plentiful goofy jokes, visual gags, and funny remarks thrown in. And many of the dangers are cg-generated perils, such as a wall of water with a face on it (like the first movie's sandstorm-with-a-face) and an army of fast-moving pygmy zombies.

Is it fun? Yeah, it is. The plot is as thin as can be and is really just an excuse to get the chase going, so there's no need to think about that. The fights aren't too original, but they are exciting enough. The overall feel of the movie is a little more serious than its over-jokey predecessor, but there's still enough humor in it to evoke smiles. The whole thing is another roller-coaster movie, which is fun while the ride lasts but is forgettable the minute you step off of it.

Did the movie do its job? Sure it did. Did I wish it had more of a story to entertain me with, instead of just relying on action sequence after action sequence? Of course I did. But I wasn't expecting anything more than what the movie gave me , so on that level the film delivers.

Rating: 5/10

©Jeffrey Chen, May 6, 2001