Tom Cruise Russell Crowe Annabelle Wallis Sofia Boutella Jake Johnson Courtney B. Vance
The Mummy is another showcase for Tom Cruise to dominate the action by performing impossible feats, bare his physique, and rescue a beautiful woman, usually blonde. Here, the story in the beginning casts him as Nick Morton, a soldier supposedly on a reconnaissance mission getting distracted from his duties in the interest of stealing antiquities and selling them on the black market. Far from being an admirable fellow, he is a thief, having stolen, in addition to artifacts, an archeological map to reach a Mesopotamian (now Iraqi) site that holds antiquities he can sell. When he ends up having to be rescued by his commanding officer, Col. Greenway (Vance), he lies without blinking an eye.
Accompanying Greenway is archeologist Jenny Halsey (Wallis), who is keenly interested in the site (guess where Nick got the map), and insists on exploring it after a bomb made a huge pit exposing valuable artifacts from Egypt (most unusual) in a tomb far from Egypt’s borders. Greenway sends Nick and his sidekick Vail (Johnson) down into the pit with her—presumably for protection—and gives them only a limited amount of time. Nick and Chris are like two boys in a candy story trying to nick (pun intended) every bauble they can grab. Appropriately, Jenny scolds them, but a far more threatening force has been unleashed by the violation of the tomb. They have unearthed (thanks to Nick’s careless use of his gun) a sculpture of a god that was not meant to be disturbed.
As background, we are told about an ancient Egyptian ruler named Ahmanet, who made a deal with the god of death, Set, when her father bore a son who would eventually usurp Ahmanet’s reign. She is punished and mummified for killing her father and his son, but by disturbing the site in the way he did, Nick is now cursed. The mummy of Ahmanet has risen and has decided that he is her “chosen one”, Set, so she tries to persuade him to join her in death to be a god. He is not very tempted, but she is able to “get into his head” in a way that propels him to go in directions he does not intend. It is only through sheer will that he is able to thwart her.
It turns out that Jenny the archeologist works with a Dr. Jekyll (Crowe) in London, who has grandiose plans of his own. Nick ends up there when Jenny realizes that he has been cursed, and she wants him to see a doctor. Here, Nick learns that Dr. Jekyll has actually captured Ahmanet as part of his plan and she is in chains.
Interspersed in all this are mummies turning into zombies, endless struggles by Nick and Jenny to break free (he’s now become, magically, a more honorable figure) of the curse, with Ahmanet pursuing them relentlessly, seeming to have superhuman powers. The film ends with a clear-cut set-up for sequels.
The best part of this film is watching Ahmanet, who is fascinating to look at, eerie and forceful in her actions, and relishing her evilness. She is abhorrent and beautiful in a surrealistic way, and about the only creative force in the film. Cruise plays his usual role; Annabelle Wallis is competent in rendering what she is given by the script, and Jake Johnson plays as well as he can his completely irritating character Vail, who is transformed into a zombie. Russell Crowe can certainly play conniving baddies, but the script he is given here makes his character neither convincing nor understandable because his “plan” is not well articulated.
Although there was a low-key applause at the screening I attended, it is doubtful this film will catch the fire that the studio and filmmakers hope for. It’s no longer interesting to see unending fights, despite the hope for CG effects to elevate them.
This is an uninspired attempt to revive The Mummy franchise.