It’s probably too on the nose to compare this film to it’s titular villain, a soulless, lifeless conglomerate of parts hell bent on sucking the life out of us, but if the film isn’t going to do anything original then why should I?
The Mummy isn’t a good film. It’s by the numbers, filled with vapid CGI and not scary in the slightest but at least it’s a fun romp. Oh, sorry, I was talking about The Mummy from 1999. Y’know, the Brendan Fraser one that doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest and has a big old sand face in it. The Mummy 2017 (or Tom Cruise The Mummy) is all of those things as well, except it’s missing the fun romp part. It does, however, have a big old sand face.
Cursed to mummification after doing some Really Bad Things, Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is awoken in the present day by total jerk Nick Morton (Cruise), whom she chooses as her vessel for the reincarnation of the Egyptian god of Death, Set. From then on the mummy wreaks havoc on the world in her attempt to catch up with an ever running Cruise, eventually gaining help from Spin-Off HQ, headed by Russell Crowe’s Henry Jekyll.
Look, I didn’t hate this film; it’s just very hard to work up any emotion towards it. It’s just kind of there.
After an interesting, though unoriginal, opening and a reasonably gnarly first half hour which features an Iraq set action sequence, an impressive plane crash and some cool creature effects, the film grinds to a halt as it attempts to broaden it’s scope by having Russell Crowe exposition all over the place about the nature of evil. You see, this is Universal’s attempt/cash grab at that shared universe thing that’s been working so well in the flicks lately, dubbed Dark Universe – they’ve even gone and made a fancy logo for it, in a case of counting one’s chickens before they’ve risen from the dead – and in doing so The Mummy is perfectly serviceable in setting it up.
But it’s just so boring and uninspired. Cruise runs (shocker!) from place to place with Ahmanet and her mummy minions not far behind, there’s talk of curses and amulets and MacGuffins. By the end of it you’ll be praying for a poorly rendered CGI Rock Scorpion to show up just so there’s something memorable. There’s nothing that hits that level of so bad it’s good, just plain bad. The action is bland. The plot atrophies about an hour in. There are attempts at comedy that clash with the overall tone of the film and fall flat. Only Jake Johnson injects some fun into proceedings and that’s only by virtue of the fact that you’ll carry over some affection for his New Girl character.
Cruise, usually solid, utterly fails to convince here. His relationship with archaeologist Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) is completely devoid of chemistry making his arc from scoundrel to Good Man wholly unbelievable. Russell Crowe hams it up in a double role, one of which affords him to Dick Van Dyke it up for a bit which is as embarrassing as it sounds. As the mummy herself, Sofia Boutella is fine, but all she really has to do is spout menacing lines and hold her arms up occasionally which given her fun turn in last year’s Star Trek Beyond is disappointing.
There are kernels of good ideas in there, with a final shot that could potentially turn in to something interesting, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
There might have been a post credits scene. I didn’t stay to find out.