The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) – Movie Review

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor which also known as The Mummy 3 is the sequel to The Mummy and The Mummy Returns with Brendan Fraser reprising his role as Richard “Rick” O’Connell.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Jet Li as the Emperor Han in "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor "
Jet Li as the Emperor Han in "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor "

Emperor Han (Jet Li) is a tyrannical emperor who wants to dominate the entire world and has managed to conquer everything except his age. As he is slowly aging, his mission is to find immortality. Han commands his general, Ming Guo (Russell Wong) to bring a sorceress called Zi Juan (Michelle Yeoh) who happens to know the way to immortality to him. When Zi Juan says she doesn’t have but only know where to find it, Han warns Ming Guo to escort her but not to touch her as she belongs to the emperor.

During the search for immortality, Ming Guo betrays the emperor’s trust by having an affair with Zi Juan. When Ming Guo and Zi Juan return to the emperor, the emperor punishes Ming Guo by having his arms and feet tied to the horses. Han suggests to Zi Juan to give herself to him if she wants to live, but she promptly refuses. As a result, Han commands his armies to tear Ming Guo apart while he stabs a dagger onto Zi Juan. Before long, Han and his armies turn into statues as a result of the curse cast by Zi Juan earlier.

The movie fast forward to 1940, which Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and his wife, Evelyn O’Connell (played by Maria Bello as Rachel Weisz has dropped out) are retired from their exploring jobs. Their lives now are boring and simply monotonous. When the opportunity to go to Shanghai to return an ancient artifact to the government of China, the O’Connell takes the chance without a second thought Evelyn’s brother, Jonathan Carnahan (John Hannah) runs a nightclub in Shanghai.

The O’Connell are tricked into General Yang’s (Anthony Wong) plot of resurrecting Emperor Han and his terracotta warriors and are forced to prevent Yang’s absurd ambition. Coincidentally, it was their son, Alex O’Connell (Luke Ford) who has earlier discovered the terracotta warriors. Lin (Isabella Leong) shows up and tells Alex that she’s the guardian of the tomb, but when a fight ensues between General Yang’s men and the O’Connell, the resurrection potion falls and it has awakened Emperor Han.

Anthony Wong and a Yeti in "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor "
Anthony Wong and a Yeti in "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor "

Then, come the part where the O’Connell family chases Emperor Han and General Yang in order to stop them from reaching to a place called Shangri-La, where Han will be able to resurrect his armies. The cat and mouse chasing is quite fun but the plots are predictable.

Lin even summons the Yetis to fight along side the O’Connell as they are outnumbered by General Yang’s armies.

Jet Li turns into a three-headed dragon in "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor "

But, despite all the efforts to stop Han, he finally manages to find Shangri-La and after he jumps into the pool of immortality, he emerges as a three-headed dragon and flies back to his base in order to resurrect his terracotta warriors. In order to fight back, Zi Juan and her daughter sacrifice their immortality to bring back the undead who are buried by Emperor Han during the construction of the Great Wall of China.

Although the fight between the terracotta warriors and the undead are impressive, the movie is brought to an abrupt ending when Han is easily killed by Rick and Alex who fight hand-to-hand combat with Han. Overall, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is quite disappointing especially in terms of plot and fighting scenes where the real actions are missing. Perhaps, like The X-Files, people are already bored with Rick and his adventures of killing mummies. Somehow, in the last scene, Jonathan is seen holding the valuable piece of diamond artifact to Peru — hint us the next Mummy movie will be set in Peru. After all, after having done with Egypt and China, Peru’s ancient Moche pyramid is very likely the next target.

My ratings: 7 out of 10.