Rewatched Aug 08, 2012
Tony Black’s review:
Everyone has a guilty pleasure - yes, even you. The Mummy Returns qualifies most definitely as mine. Critically, it's got plenty of obvious flaws but from an entertainment point of view, it ticks so many of my boxes. It's exciting, it amps up the stakes & expands the story as every sequel should, it doesn't take itself remotely seriously and, importantly, it has FUN. Stephen Sommers, Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah - you can tell they're all having a great time and that spills out on screen, in the production. I would even go as far as to suggest this has long been quite underrated.
We can check plenty of things off that don't work, sure. How can we forget the shocking CGI of the Scorpion King once we reached the climax? It's among the worst on film. Indeed The Rock, in the infancy of his movie career, is way too underused here. Equally, you can suggest the threat of Arnold Vosloo's Imhotep is undermined by this 'bigger' villain at the end. Sure, Freddie Boath's pre-adolescent Alex is annoying (you can't blame Adewale's tormented henchman wanting to kill him!). Of course the script is covered in cheese, the plot twists and turns at times in ways that don't make much sense, and there's a general feeling that Rick & Evie are never really in danger... but, to me, that just doesn't seem to matter. It should, but it doesn't, maybe because Fraser & Weisz have such great chemistry & their characters (and Hannah's bumbling Jonathan) are so endearing and likeable it never feels a chore being in their company - while Sommers keeps the plot running along with plenty of pace, throwing at us some quality action sequences in the meanwhile (such as the chase across 1930's London). It's old-school, Indy-style adventure fun all over again - not as fresh as in The Mummy, maybe, but damn well as enjoyable.
I've never sat in the majority loving The Mummy Returns, aware that critically you really should knock off a star, but I'm unapologetic in considering it one of the better sequels Hollywood gave us; a rip-roaring, tongue-in-cheek ride that embraces comedic adventure and OTT action to deliver the kind of movie you can lie back and let wash over you. My favourite Mummy movie and, I believe, a film that deserves much more love than it gets.