Combustible Celluloid
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With: Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah, Michelle Yeoh, Luke Ford, Isabella Leong, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Russell Wong, Liam Cunningham, David Calder, Jessey Meng, Tian Liang, Albert Kwan
Written by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
Directed by: Rob Cohen
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for adventure action and violence
Running Time: 112
Date: 07/24/2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

1/2 Star (out of 4)

Mummies and Baddies

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Directed by Rob Cohen, this terrible third entry in a terrible trilogy brings our heroes to China, circa 1946, to battle more mummies. It features some of the most colossally incompetent action sequences ever filmed, shaky, disorienting and noisy. It's a tough call, however, to say that they're worse than the irritating character and dialogue sequences that fall in-between. As the married, adventuring heroes, Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello (replacing Rachel Weisz) fail to conjure up any energy, and John Hannah is annoying as the "comic sidekick," but Luke Ford has him beat as the heroes' obnoxiously cocky son. Most unforgivably, the first-class Hong Kong stars Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh and Anthony Wong are practically slapped in the face with their lifeless, insulting roles. Cohen replaced the marginally worse writer/director Stephen Sommers, who helmed the previous two entries, The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001). Believe it or not, screenwriters Alfred Gough and Miles Millar also co-wrote the astounding Spider-Man 2. How to explain such a discrepancy?

DVD Details: Disc one of Universal's two-disc deluxe set comes with a commentary track by director Cohen; despite my best hope, he does not actually apologize for making the worst film of 2008. There's also ten minutes of deleted/extended scenes and a "visual aid" track. Disc two comes with seven featurettes and optional subtitles. We also get a digital copy, compatible with both Mac and PC.

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