The Mummy Returns (2001)

DVD Cover (Universal Reissue)
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Overall Rating 64%
Overall Rating
Ranked #511
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Many years ago, in Ancient Egypt, the Scorpion King led a menacing army, but when he sold his soul to Anubis, he was erased from history. Now he is only a myth...or is he? Rick and Evelyn O'Connell are still discovering new artifacts, along with their 8 year old son Alex. They discover the Bracelet of Anubis. But someone else is after the bracelet. High Priest Imhotep has been brought back from the dead once again and wants the bracelet, to control the Scorpion King's army. That's not the only problem. Imhotep now has Alex and with the bracelet attached to him, doesn't have long to live. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: May 16, 2017
After the success of The Mummy, a sequel was inevitable. More importantly, The Mummy Returns would provide the beginning of Dwayne Johnson's transition from the wrestling ring to the movie screen.

It's been close to ten years since Rick and Evie saved the world from the resurrected priest, Imhotep. They've since married and have a rather tenacious eight-year-old son named Alex who frequently joins them on their expeditions. The latest of which has a touch of the supernatural about it, as the family have been led right to a temple and guided through its puzzles by a dream. Her visions take them straight to the Bracelet of Anubis, once held by the fabled Scorpion King. Five thousand years ago, this vicious warlord made a pact with Anubis, granting him the ability to rise every five millennia and command the army of Anubis to wipe out the world. However, if anyone manages to kill The Scorpion King, they gain control of this army. Knowing this is no small feat, Baltus Hafez instructs his cult to resurrect Imhotep, planning on using the immortal mummy as a weapon.

I tell you, Sommer really went off the rails with this sequel. He was trying so hard to up the ante in comedy and backstory that the entire film he completely forgot about basic plot coherence. Despite being the titular character, Imhotep is resurrected as a tool to be used, completely undermining him as a threat. He's no longer a force, but a lackey. It's a shame too, because Arnold Vosloo once again turned in a very nice performance. Had he killed Hafez when he was told about the Scorpion King and ascended to the movie's true villain alongside Anck-Su-Namun, it would have been a much tighter movie. It wouldn't have fixed things entirely though. You see, Evie is given an extension to her backstory that flops pretty hard. While the new role gave Rachel Weiss much more room to make the character her own and I do appreciate that it's something of a callback to the Universal movies, it felt way too forced. Worst than that, it didn't even factor into the greater plot in any significant way. It was supposed to build up something of a rivalry between her and Anck-Su-Namun but they didn't do anything with it. It would have made much more sense to give her a connection with the Scorpion King and used it flesh him out. Other than a brief description of his origin in the beginning, we know absolutely nothing about him. Not a smart move for a character that's supposed to be the big bad. As an added bonus, a connection with Evie would have inherently given the climax some extra weight, and that never hurts.

The attempts at comedy came with a massive amount of collateral damage as well. The original's laughs were by Brendan Fraser's off-kilter charisma. There was something organic about it. Now, the jokes are courtesy of his smart-ass son. Like most child actors, Freddie Boath grates on the nerves for the entire running time and the tired "villains are outsmarted by children" trope is in full effect here. As you can imagine, not only do you want to punch the boy every time he opens his mouth but it makes the villains that much less imposing. I have no trouble with him being more tenacious than a typical kid nor having a bit of a sarcastic side. Hell, you'd expect it with his parents but they just went way too far with it. Anck-Su-Namun is the only villain he interacts with that you can tell makes him nervous and it carries through to the viewer.

Given the first movie, you'd expect that at least the action scenes would be on point and I can say that they get the job done well enough. For the most part, they're typical firefights with Brendan Fraser's wit giving them some much needed heart but there are a few that bring a little more to the table. The final fight with the Scorpion King come to mind, as well as a romp through a jungle inhabited by ferocious, mummified pygmies. It serves as a great reminder that things are so much more fun when you just let them happen. Granted, I do have to admit that there are a few hiccups in here as well. Perhaps the most noteworthy is a flashback scene involving two women fighting with sai that went on a bit too long.

The Mummy Returns might be worth a single viewing if nothing else is on but I certainly wouldn't recommend going out of your way to see it. The foundation of a good sequel is there; there's just way too much crap piled on top of it. 4/10.
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