Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Mummy

There's nothing wrong with a big, noisy action movie, but is there anything worse than a big, noisy action film that's also relentlessly unsatisfying? The Mummy is a big, noisy action film that aspires to reach a level of fun it can never quite achieve. Almost shamelessly modeled after the Indiana Jones movies, The Mummy tries for that series' breezy matinee atmosphere but the results turn out far too forced. Set in 1920s Egypt, the film stars Brendan Fraser, who makes for an effective enough hero, as a Foreign Legion soldier-turned-explorer in search of a lost, treasure-laden city of the dead. After hooking up with an English brother-sister team (John Hannah, Rachel Weisz), Fraser stumbles on the city, in the process awakening the revenge-intent mummified corpse of Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo, perhaps replacing Billy Zane as Hollywood's bald villain of choice), leading to a seemingly endless series of strangely perfunctory action setpieces and computer effects. The first time Kevin J. O'Connor, playing Fraser's swarthy, mummy-toadying nemesis (the most prominent of a number of questionable "ethnic" roles) chimes in with a wisecrack, it's amusing enough. By the end of the movie, it's grown tiresome and a little uncomfortable. The same can be said of just about every element of the film, from the swingingly colonial '20s Middle East setting to the mannered, old-fashioned dialogue, to the cleverly choreographed mummy-on-human fight scenes that eventually start to look like some perverse Industrial Light & Magic-sponsored version of contemporary dance, to the expensive, impressive special effects that look like, well, impressively expensive special effects, or a demo reel for a really good video game. It's passable entertainment, but it'll likely leave you wanting more.


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