The Mummy Returns

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the wrestling king, makes his acting debut as the Scorpion King. Some acting! The Rock shows up in the prologue, circa 3067 B.C., playing a warrior who makes a deal with the devil.

Then he's back at the film's end, circa 1933, with his body attached to giant mechanical claws looking like, what, the Rock Lobster? Johnson will star in a Mummy prequel set for 2002, but he's onscreen here for barely five minutes. He's the fortunate one. We have to suffer through two hours of this rancid summer cheese.

This sequel to the 1999 original, which inexplicably grossed $414 million worldwide, returns Brendan Fraser to the role of Rick O'Connell, a cut-rate Indiana Jones who has married Evelyn (Rachel Weisz), spawned a son (Freddie Boath) and still hasn't learned not to mess with Mummy nature. Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) rises from the mold, and the cast runs around dodging death, cracking jokes and acting like they're in it for something more than a quick buck.

No! Written and directed by Stephen Sommers with the same lack of flair for humor, suspense and character he brought to the original, the sequel relies on cheap tricks: mummies on a bus, hounds from hell, pygmies that look like gremlins and a wall-of-water scene so fake it looks like F/X hasn't advanced since Chuck Heston parted the Red Sea in 1956's Ten Commandments. It's a piss-poor mummy movie indeed that doesn't deliver a damn thing worth preserving.

From The Archives Issue 870: June 7, 2001