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The Mummy Review

OK

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky visuals with exaggerated action. It's certainly nothing like the involving classic monster movies they're trying to reignite, such as the 1932 Boris Karloff classic The Mummy. But this movie has more in common with Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible and Jack Reacher blockbusters, with added swimming zombies.

Cruise plays Nick, an American army officer and mercenary who with his cohort Vail (Jake Johnson) has just located a long-lost burial site deep in Daesh-controlled Iraq. Somehow, the hot archaeologist Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) arrives immediately to stop him from plundering this tomb. It turns out that the sarcophagus contains the remains of ancient Egyptian Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who was mummified alive for making a pact with the evil god Set and then murdering her father and brother. Now transported to London, she returns to life with a vengeance, casting a spell on Nick to help reassemble Set's dagger and finish her nefarious plan. So Jenny turns to her deeply unstable boss Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) for help.

There's rather a lot of mythology building going on here, setting things up for the further adventures of Jekyll's secret society, which is trying to deal with ancient evil like a mash-up of Men in Black and Night at the Museum. Without the humour. There are some throwaway gags here and there, but director Alex Kurtzman stages everything with a gloomy sense of foreboding that simply never gains traction. The thin plot seems constructed merely to connect a series of enormous action set-pieces, which are all very well choreographed but never remotely exciting. It doesn't help that everything on-screen has been extravagantly over-designed, with cavernous sets that have been made deliberately dark and sooty. But this leaves the entire movie feeling artificial, random mayhem in fake places.

Continue reading: The Mummy Review

The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor Review


Bad
In the classic movie monster hierarchy, the cloth-clad Mummy really scrapes the bottom of the scare barrel. Aside from his close kinship with the zombie -- sadly, this is one Egyptian artifact that avoids the mandatory skin eating -- there's really nothing inherently spooky about a reanimated corpse with limited super(natural) powers. This is especially true of the sarcophagus' latest big screen incarnation. In Rob Cohen's horrid The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, our wrapped rascal is literally as menacing as an inert stone statue.

Ever since the end of WWII, the rough riding O'Connell Family -- Rick (Brendan Fraser), Evelyn (Maria Bello, subbing for Rachael Weisz), and college age son Alex (Luke Ford) -- have been in semi-retirement. Gone are the days when they would circumnavigate the globe looking for ancient treasure and kicking antiquated butt. When they get the chance to return a precious diamond to the people of China, they jump at the chance. Unfortunately, the gem is instrumental in the resurrection of the evil Emperor Han (Jet Li), a ruthless tyrant bent on conquering the world. Luckily, an ancient witch (Michelle Yeoh) has cursed him to an eternity embedded in rock. Of course, it won't be long before our haphazard adventurers have him up and around -- and seeking immortality via his massive terra cotta army.

Continue reading: The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor Review

The Scorpion King Review


Terrible
The Rock: One name symbolizes everything that can be defined as the stereotypical American male. Why? He's a gruff, tough-as-nails, merciless, and sexually magnetic savior of the free world. And he's huge on TV. And sure enough, The Scorpion King - the latest installment in the mind-numbing, insanely profitable Mummy series - is pure trash. Starring the aforementioned WWF superstar, The Scorpion King is filmmaking at its worst.

The Scorpion King ably rehashes the plots of the variety of other, better films including Gladiator, the Indiana Jones series, Flash Gordon, Beastmaster, and even The Goonies. Set 5,000 years ago, a warlord named Memnon (Steven Brand), acting on crazed Napoleonic urges, ravages the land and bends its people into totalitarian rule. With the aid of a seer who foretells the future, Memnon stands invincible against all aggressors.

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Dark Blue Review


Weak
Call it L.A. Confidential lite. In Ron Shelton's derivative new police corruption drama - adapted from a story by Confidential scribe James Ellroy - Kurt Russell stars as Sgt. Eldon Perry Jr., a self-professed gunslinger who sees himself as a noble warrior charged with cleaning up his beloved city's streets. A member of the LAPD's elite Special Investigations Squad, he's the kind of guy who freely expounds on the depravity of L.A.'s lower classes with a barrage of bigoted epithets, and feels no pangs of conscience when gunning down unarmed suspects in back alleys. According to Perry's tunnel vision logic, a criminal is a criminal, and worrying about the vague, inconsequential differences between each one is not only a waste of time, but a disservice to the community he's trying to save.

Unfortunately for Perry, it's April 1992, and not a very good time to be an arrogant, white LAPD officer. The Rodney King trial has set L.A. on the precipice of Armageddon, and the verdict - to be announced imminently - has become the focal point for a metropolis simmering with class and racial tension. Perry, however, has more pressing matters to worry about. His partner, a wet-behind-the-ears rookie named Bobby Keough (played with baby-faced blankness by ex-Felicity hunk Scott Speedman), has screwed up an arrest, and Perry - always looking to back up a fellow brother in blue - has killed the defenseless perp (with Keough's gun) rather than letting him escape. The film begins with both officers knee-deep into lying their way through an eight-hour inquiry, since Perry has decided that his incompetent protégé should take the heat for the killing anyway. As far as Perry is concerned, one's first shooting inquiry is a right of passage - a baptism into an immoral system that's primarily sworn to protect and serve its own members.

Continue reading: Dark Blue Review

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Sean Daniel Movies

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Movie Review

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Movie Review

In the classic movie monster hierarchy, the cloth-clad Mummy really scrapes the bottom of the...

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The Scorpion King Movie Review

The Scorpion King Movie Review

The Rock: One name symbolizes everything that can be defined as the stereotypical American...

Dark Blue Movie Review

Dark Blue Movie Review

Call it L.A. Confidential lite. In Ron Shelton's derivative new police corruption drama - adapted...

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