The Mummy IP began as a 1932 horror hit that expanded into a six-movie franchise that lasted until 1955. In 1999 it was rebooted with the iconic Brendan Fraser at its forefront, gifting us a trilogy across the next nine years. A further reboot has occurred in the years since – remember the Dark Universe? – but we’re not here to bring attention to those almighty failures, we’re here to discuss the high art that is the Brendan Fraser Mummy Trilogy.
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3. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)
Last on the list is, unsurprisingly, the final instalment of the trilogy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. This 2008 film is infamously terrible.
Directed by Rob Cohen, The Mummy 3 sees Brendan Fraser and John Hannah reprising their roles as Rick O’Connell and Jonathan Carnahan respectively, while Rachel Weisz has been replaced as Evelyn by Maria Bello – a decision that throws off the entire film.
Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is set in China in 1946 and centres around the origins of the Terracotta Army and the Dragon Emperor (Jet Li) who has been imprisoned in clay. It’s a fun trip through Shanghai, the Himalayas, and along the Great Wall, and would be a decent film if not for them trying to forcibly remind you that it’s supposed to be a Mummy film every five minutes.
It’s a good length with some reasonable stakes and great fight choreography, but Fraser just does not have the same kind of chemistry with Bello that he had with Weisz.
Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has a lot less horror elements than its predecessors, but there is still a surprising amount of violent imagery. The film also completely changes who the characters are just to fit in with the plot. For example, Rick and Evy bicker about their relationships with their now grown son, Alex, who has become somewhat estranged from them.
As a standalone film, this Mummy may have had more success. But, as the final film in a strong trilogy, it just doesn’t have the same gravitas.