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Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The


Stars: Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah, Michelle Yeoh, Luke Ford, Isabella Leong, Anthony Wong, Liam Cunningham, David Calder

Director: Rob Cohen

Lots of action and oh-so-familiar story elements in this supernatural adventure that begins briskly and brightly in one of those long-undiscovered crypts where every footfall on a stone triggers another trap. So machinery meshes, arrows flash and deadly discs whirl through the air, as Alex (Ford), son of Rich (Fraser), discovers the tomb of the dragon emperor, and brings the emperor (Li) and his mummified horses back to Shanghai for exhibition.

Here he reunites with his neglectful parents - Evy is now played by Maria Bello, introducing herself slyly with 'I can say she's a completely different person' - and his father's brother-in-law (Hannah), now running a Shanghai nightclub amusingly called Imhotep's.

It isn't long before the emperor, aided by a power-hungry general, comes back to life, giving rise to a wild, firework-strewn chase through the streets of Shanghai, before the story develops into a cross between Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Lost Horizon. Even the abominable snowmen get dragged into the fevered action that follows, but we've seen it all before, and especially the CGI-boosted final battle between Li's terracotta army and Yeoh's legions of the dead.

Fraser and Hannah have their roles down pat, Ford (who looks a mere 10 years younger than his screen parents) only occasionally slips into his native Australian and Bello's immaculate English accent rather inhibits her performance, leaving Yeoh to scoop the acting honours. As an undemanding night out for those looking for constant action and no surprises, it fits the bill.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor.
112 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 04 Aug 2008