Hollywood a movie as you can get these days. Led by a bonafide “movie star” in an attempt to turn a venerable movie studio’s collection of classic monsters into some sort of a franchise — dollar signs and cynicism practically drip off of this thing.
Of course, the Hollywood machine can bring competency to the table and they actually almost made a decent movie had they not pulled their punches at the end. What we are left with is a movie that is surprisingly more than just Tom Cruise running and punching mummies in the head, but not enough more to be anything but a dismissible slice of summer entertainment.
Things actually start off kind of interesting. Our mummy in question is actually a foxy princess named Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who was sealed away for trying to seize power by embracing evil, supernatural forces.
Cruise plays against type as a bit of a cad. Here, he is Nick Morton, an Army recon officer who dabbles in the looting of antiquities with his buddy and comic relief Chris (Jake Johnson).
Nick and Chris uncover Ahmanet’s tomb in the middle of a war zone in Iraq but are thwarted from tomb raiding by archeologist and love interest Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis).
Of course, as we know, unearthing a cursed mummy has its consequences and it’s not long before the dead are rising and all hell is breaking loose.
Things get even more interesting when Nick meets professional monster chaser Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), who has a very intimate knowledge of uncontrollable evil.
Crowe nails the serious-but-not-too-serious tone of this movie and I have to admit I would be all in on a Russell Crowe “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” movie, as few actors have made careers out of moving back and forth between being prim and posh and monstrously fearsome.
“The Mummy” is directed by seasoned Hollywood writer and producer Alex Kurtzman working with a script bandied around between several screenwriters, not the least of which are legends David Koepp (“Jurassic Park,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Spider-Man”) and Christopher McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects”). These guys know how to deliver a finished product, but you can tell the movie definitely suffers from having too many cooks in the kitchen.
The soft and squishy ending serves to undercut any edge or originality the movie might have had and we wind up getting precisely what was advertised — some cool effects, a couple of thrills, and not much more.
“The Mummy” is fairly forgettable, but it will be interesting to see if Universal can do something compelling as it dusts off more of its famous creatures of yore. At least bring me more Russell Hyde!
“The Mummy” is rated PG-13 for violence, action, and scary images, and for some suggestive content and partial nudity.