The Mummy Returns (2001)
Does this mean the following sequels will be called The Mummy Forever and The Mummy and Robin? Our tale takes place ten years after the first. Our archeological heroes in Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz are now married and the proud parents of a blonde English boy (Freddie Boath) – who of course, gets into as much trouble as his parents do. Supposedly there’s this buried army of dog warriors from an Egyptian God. The trick is, you have to defeat their leader The Scorpion King to gain control over their ranks. So our good guys stumble upon setting things in motion accidentally, while our bad guys raise Imhotep (our mummy from the first one) with plans of him toppling The Insect Marvel.
The story of Mummy redux deals a lot with past lives and destinies. It seems miraculously everyone in our story is related to one another be it past or present (and we ain’t talking inbreeding). They fulfill their destinies – or whatever, mainly just fight with pointy things.
Many of the same characters return from the first one, almost like an ongoing serial. There’s the cowardly bumbling brother-in-law (John Hannah), the Arabic prince sworn to protect society form the evils of mummy-ness (Oded Fehr), and hell, even the damn mummy himself (Arnold Vosloo). We even get more of Vosloo’s dead girlfriend from the first picture. She has the honor of sharing a grotesque screen lip-lock with the decaying mummy. Talk about commitment.
Somehow pro wrestler The Rock (Is he in the phone book as “Rock, The”?) got into this film. His role is The Scorpion King, a cursed uber warrior of ancient Egypt. As you would expect from someone so elegantly named after a large, un-moving, mineral – The Rock’s acting is largely un-moving. He has one line in a different language, poorly delivered as well, then has five minutes of screen time battling people two feet smaller than him with the pearliest whites this side of the Nile. He shows up again later as a scorpion/human hybrid but is replaced with (say it with me class) CGI.
The acting is pure cornball, but to some degrees pleasantly so. We can’t have people taking themselves too seriously while being chased by little dead pygmy babies. Fraser seems to be leading the way for the next generation of action stars. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje appears in a small role as one of the big bad’s henchmen. After watching him for years on Oz it was a personal pleasure to see him on screen. Boath is the real surprise. If he were grating (like some lil’ Star Wars kid) I’d root for any undead creature to suck his nine year-old bones dry. He is fun to watch and acts like a kid, not a child actor acting like a kid.
The Mummy Returns will enchant you if you were enchanted by the first one. My stance on the mummy’s predecessor was that it was a tongue-in-cheek dose of cheese and adventure. It was nothing to write home about but it was a fun popcorn flick. However, The Mummy Returns throws the gauntlet down with the “bigger is better” rule of thumb almost tripling everything the first tried. It practically throws everything at you in its onslaught including a CGI kitchen sink. You’ll get computer everything. It’s almost like the producers are having a mummy wholesale – “everything must go!” As in reference to there is so much computer generated images in this film that it could be classified as the first living cartoon.
The action in The Mummy Returns is relentless. The pacing is fast and must be the bane to all those people who must squirm in their chair afraid they will miss something – you will. Most movies move through plot points, like from A to B. With The Mummy Returns, on the other hand, everything just bleeds together in a linear mess. It’s rather exhausting to watch.
The Mummy Returns continues to have its tongue firmly planted in cheek. Except with its onslaught it almost resembles a scene from Species with said tongue going in cheek then outside of brain cavity. If you’re hungry for an all-you-can-eat version of a movie, then The Mummy Returns might whet your appetite.
Nate’s Grade: C+