THE MUMMY RETURNS, again directed by Stephen Sommers, is a film with a
complex. It's a relentless movie that seems in constant fear that if it
ever slows down for a minute the entire audience will walk out. Rarely
pausing to smell the flowers or to provide the requisite motivation and
background, the confusing story scurries around like the thousands of
scorpions that take the place of Indiana Jones's snakes.
And speaking of Indiana Jones, the movie wants badly to morph into an
Indiana Jones-type franchise, a movie it mimics constantly. It also borrows
liberally from the fight sequences of STAR WARS EPISODE I - THE PHANTOM
MENACE and the creatures from GREMLINS. Gone is the campy charm from the
previous MUMMY. Instead, we have lots of nifty computer generated effects
and warriors and non-stop action. This is the perfect movie for 12-year-old
boys, since most have grown too sophisticated for Saturday morning cartoon
The stars from last time are back. Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evie (Rachel
Weisz) are now married and have an 8-year-old son, Alex (Freddie Boath).
Alex is a chip off the old block, curious and adventuresome like his
parents. This time Weisz gets many opportunities to flex her muscles, and
she turns out to be a surprisingly credible action star.
Arnold Vosloo again plays the mummy Im-Ho-Tep. Not content with a single
villain, the sequel adds WWF's The Rock playing The Scorpion King,
Im-Ho-Tep's competition. Rick will have to take them both out or the world
will end. What seems to never end is the movie itself. I lost count of the
number of "endings" that were merely preludes to other fight sequences.
As a display of computer generated images, the movie does dazzle and
impress. It can also be imaginative with a Jules Verne inspired
boat/dirigible being the most memorable.
"You know," Rick confesses, "a couple of years ago, this would have seemed
really strange to me." That's the problem with the sequel. We've seen it
all before. The only idea that the director had for the sequel was "more."
More special effects and lots more fighting. Its target audience will
undoubtedly love it.
THE MUMMY RETURNS runs a long 2:01. It is rated PG-13 for adventure action
and violence and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up. Younger
ones could be severely frightened.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes