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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 12, 2017

The Mummy Movie Review: Tom Cruise's Charisma Not Enough To Redeem The Shortcomings Of This Badly Scripted "Mummy" Reboot

WHY TOM CRUISE chose to do a reboot of “The Mummy” is something we’ll never understand. It just fails to equal or much less surpass the 1999 version of Brendan Fraser directed by Stephen Sommers which was such a hit that it spawned a sequel, “The Mummy Returns”. The 1999 film is a rousing action-adventure flick which was given an Indiana Jones flavor.

In fairness to Tom and his director, Alex Kurtzman, they tried to make their version different by making the mummy a woman and not the traditional one started by Boris Karloff in 1932. But it is so badly written you’d wish the mummy has remained mummified and not revived at all.

Too bad for Universal Pictures, who envisions this movie as the first installment of what they call their Dark Universe, which will be some sort of a DC or Marvel umbrella franchise of its various heroes. Only this time, it will showcase their classic movie monsters, like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, Jekyll & Hyde and The Invisible Man. It sounds like a brilliant idea, but the problem is they started it with a botched up job like “The Mummy”. Talk about starting on the wrong foot. We don’t know how they can recover from this.

“The Mummy” tries to come up with an all-new story and only the title of the old “Mummy” movies is used. It starts with underground workers building a new subway tunnel discovering a catacomb in the middle of London that dates back to the Crusades. Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll aka Mr. Hyde then comes along to tell the story of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella of “Kingsman: Secret Service”, “Star Trek Beyond”) , an Egyptian princess who used to be the favorite of her dad Pharaoh, until her brother comes along, so she makes a pact with the devilish god of the dead called Set and kills both her dad and baby brother. But she gets arrested before she gets to transfer the soul of Set to the body of her lover and she gets mummified in Mesopotamia, which is now known as Iraq.

The story then jumps to the present in Iraq and, later, modern day London. Tom Cruise is Nick Morton, an opportunist who robs tombs to make money out of stolen antiquities. He and his friend causes an explosion that opens up a big hole in the ground and as you might easily guess, it contains the tomb of Ahmanet.

Tom is one of the biggest and most charismatic stars in Hollywood today so you’d think he’d be enough to save the movie from its idiotic turns of plot. But no, Tom seems to be miscast as the reckless Nick. We’d rather have Ethan Hunt of “Mission Impossible” anytime.

But Nick is not even a Jack Reacher. Nick is the chosen one of Princess Ahmanet to be Set personified and she somewhat possesses his consciousness. But for her to be able to fully let Set get into Tom, she needs a special dagger which has a special gem stone, both of which are missing.

Of course, it’s but natural for Tom to hate the idea of being the toyboy of a mummified princess, so the rest of the movie shows him trying to run away and avoiding Ahmanet, with the help of a beautiful archaeologist, Jenny (Annabelle Wallis), who works for a secret society headed by Russell Crowe, who seems to be aware he’s doing crap.

Every now and then, they offer action set pieces with good CGI special effects to liven up the proceedings. There’s a big plane crash scene where the sarcophagus of the mummy is ejected and crashes in England. There are many scenes where zombies chase Tom ala-Walking Dead. (Yes, there’s only one mummy, but there are lots and lots of the undead coming up to life showing their allegiance to the mummy for some unspecified reason.) The final confrontation between The Mummy Princess and Tom is underwhelming, to say the least, really lacking in any kind of impact.

And the final sequence doesn’t make much sense, showing Tom with his wisecracking undead friend Chris (Jake Johnson) suddenly springing back to life and riding into the desert as if they expect to return for a sequel. Honestly, the projected Dark Universe is now more of a Black Hole.