Lowdown: A Chinese Mummy.
It's been something like seven years since the second episode of The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, and now we've been hit with Mummy 3 (or, by its full name, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor). Once again, it's a story of an Indiana Jones like archaeologist who just happens to stumble upon a resurrected mummy keen upon ruling the world rather ruthlessly and leaving our hero with no choice but to make sure our the mummy is retired to its former status. The main difference is that now our mummy is Chinese (and portrayed by Jet Li), the story is in China, and some personnel changes with the actors and director.
So, did the series survive this migration? Before answering, let me ask you this: given that the story follows an evil mummy, what is the scariest thing about Mummy 3? My answer is that, at least according to Widescreen Review, Mummy 3 has been the best grossing film of the trilogy thus far. And why is this so scary? Simply because Mummy 3 is an incredibly bad film.
Where shall we start? With the cast, if you please. Brendan Fraser is back for the main role, but seems like he never really woke up for the job; on his opposite side, Rachel Weisz has decided not to come back and play Fraser's wife (a very weisz move), so this quality actress is replaced by
Maria Bello about whom I cannot say much other than that she's doing an awful job. And Jet Li? Well, he spends most of the film as a digital effect anyway.
Yes, like many of its compatriots that try to make a killing at the box office without delivering much, Mummy 3 is digital heavy; way too heavy, so heavy it drowns. Similarly, its action scenes are shot with a shaky camera that doesn't allow you to figure out what is really going on (other than notice the rather unreal digital nature of it all). Pretty bad.
Character development? You mean, you're asking for character development in a film that puts digital effects ahead of everything? What are you going to ask for next, a decent plot? No, this one relies on you knowing the characters from before, and settles for just the very basic cliches the book can offer.
The bottom line is that Mummy 3 is a cheap excuse for a foundation lacking sequel to be set in China. It's predictable, it does not thrill in the least, and it's not funny like its predecessors were (to one extent or another). The magic that was there, at least with the first film (and despite its blatant copying of the Indiana Jones formula), is gone; Mummy 3 is exactly the type of film that gives sequels a bad name.
Worst scene: There's a tough competition for this title, but I'll hand it out to the scene where Yetis are introduced on a mountain scene. Digital yetis (say no more).
Overall: Bad from start to finish. 1.5 out of 5 stars.