Other reviewers have likened The Mummy Returns
to films of the 1930's, not those starring Boris Karloff but rather those
starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. Apparently, today's heroes
are so dysfunctional that you have to go back that far to find a happily
married, husband and wife team battling evil-doers. That is not to say
that The Mummy Returns is in the same class as the The
Thin Man. It's not. But it is a reasonably amusing film.
The reason for the comparison with Nick and Nora Charles is that in this
sequel to The Mummy, the
two main characters, Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evie (Rachel Weitz) have
got married, had a son and now ten years later have returned to Egypt.
As the trailer for this movie says, these two people should know better.
But they don't and soon they are plunged into another adventure involving
long dead mummies including their ``old" adversary Im-Ho-Tep (Arnold Vosloo).
It's all a bit murky but Im-Ho-Tep id being reanimated yet again to do
battle with the Scorpion King (The Rock) who is also due to wake up.
Unfortunately, the loving couple's son Alex (Freddie Boath) has found the
Scorpion King's bracelet and he is kidnapped by the bad guys. Meanwhile,
if Rick and Evie can't deal with all these mummies in time, it will mean
the end of the world. All of the action involves extensive computer
effects courtesy of Industrial Light and Magic. And there's lots
of action. It's all pretty dumb but entertaining. Fraser and
Weitz are no Powell and Loy but they do have a nice chemistry together.
In the first movie, Weitz was more of a damsel in distress but in the sequel
she is buff and kicks ass. Apparently, motherhood agrees with her.
It's either that or the fact that she is channeling Queen Nefertiti a la
Michelle Yeoh. Since it's still frowned on for guys to beat up on
woman in such movies, it is Weitz's job to fight Im-Ho-Tep's girlfriend
who is also channeling an ancient Egyptian by way of Hong Kong. It
is left to Weitz's hapless brother (John Hannah), who also returns for
the sequel, to do all the screaming. Hannah is sadly wasted here.
He has done some great stuff in other films, notably Four
Weddings and a Funeral and Sliding
Doors. No screaming either from Alex, the 8-year-old son, who
is already a little Indiana Jones. The Rock, best known from WWF
Smackdown, looks like a bit like muscled Rob Schneider and does his
best work when his head has been computer animated. Another good
but wasted actor, is Alun Armstrong of the Royal Shakespeare Company who
plays the leader of the bad guys. The continuous action and
the likeable cast make this a watchable movie. But it is so derivative
that you can have some fun guessing which previous film each scene
of The Mummy Returns was stolen from. But in this case, the
sequel is definitely better than original. The 1999 original that is.