In the third instalment of the Mummy franchise, we have a lot of action, adventure and computer animation blended together, sometimes seamlessly and sometimes not quite. The story, as in the other two Mummy flicks, is about an evil undead power who wants to enslave the world. And once again, our valiant hero Brandon Fraser rises to the occasion to slay the seemingly invincible vile creature. Only this time, it's a different Mummy!
Jet Li plays the evil Chinese King who has been cursed by a sorceress he had wronged. He and his ruthless men are turned to stone and doomed to that frozen state for eons, until an aspiring young archaeologist comes along and finds them. This young boy happens to be the son of the renowned Mummy fighters Mr. and Mrs. O'Connell. Unwittingly, they bring the Mummy alive and now, they have to find a way to put an end to his ambition to rule the world. The wicked King, though free from his frozen state, is yet to regain his human form. A dip in the pool at the mythical Shangri-la will help him turn whole and also make him immortal. What ensues is a string of action-packed events from explosions to avalanches to bullet showers to arrow storms, until good wins over evil, and peace is restored.
The computer animation is remarkable. The bow and arrow wielding army of skeletons, battling the semi-dead stone battalion, is a war to watch! Jet Li's transformations - from human to rock, then back to human, then into a three-headed dragon and then into a hideous hairy wolf-like creature, are beautifully rendered. The Yettis are quite a furry treat! On the flip side, there is a sense of haste about the move. Sometimes rather than being pacey, the story seems to be hurrying forward - like there was so much to say but too little time, so they figured a little clutter won't hurt.
The actors have done their bit well. Brandon is by now a pro at Mummy slaying. As his wife, this time we have Maria Bello replacing Rachel Weisz. Maria has given it her best shot. As their son we have Luke Ford, who is as yet to learn to charm, but has done his bit anyway.
It may not be as thrilling as the first part, but The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is nevertheless entertaining.