THE MUMMY Review: 3 out of 10 (Cruise past the Crypt)
THE MUMMY represents the worst that Hollywood has to offer. It gathers some talented people, invests in a potential franchise, spends well over a 100 million dollars, and creates an absolute train wreck of a movie. Despite all of the potential, this film is likely the worst project for anyone associated with it--from writing to acting to producing. It is the perfect storm in filmmaking...and when I say storm I mean shitstorm.
directed by Alex Kurtzman the film stars Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, and Russell Crowe. The film follows a fairly familiar tale that echoes the previous (and far better) 1999 version of the film. Ahmanet (Boutella) is an Egyptian princess who opts for breaking bad to usurp the throne by selling her soul to the god Set. She is caught and punished by being buried alive and turned into (you guessed it) a mummy. The movie goes downhill from here.
In present day Iraq, wise cracking soldier-of-fortune Nick (played by Tom Cruise) is a strange and unexplained hybrid of military man and treasure hunter. It seems that the film wants to combine Indiana Jones and Rambo to serve its purposes here. Early on the film establishes that Cruise's Nick is a rough-and-tumble guy who has lots of quips and shtick. (Note to Cruise: Never try to do this again.) When Nick uncovers the tomb of Ahmanet we also meet Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) who serves absolutely no purpose in the film whatsoever except to be a damsel in distress/love interest--and an annoying one at that. Jake Johnson is Vail--the requisite sidekick who actually *can* pull off some of the campy humor, but only makes the film's tone further uneven as a result. After the mummy is unearthed, Nick is cursed (?) without much explanation as to why. Apparently now Nick cannot die and must help Ahmanet fulfill her destiny of selling her soul to the god Set so she can...IDK... be immortal and stuff. One would think that the ability to "not die" might be a trick Nick could leverage in a fight against a pissed off bandaged up skeletal woman. Instead, he prefers to offer more quips and playact in some scenes that could have been ripped out of a Scooby-Doo cartoon. One particular scene has Cruise driving a van while several mummy/skeletons attack at the bidding of Ahmanet. After driving one of the attackers into a tree, Nick is then being attacked by the single remaining bony hand. It is a scene that demands the talent of Bruce Campbell but utterly fails with the near spit-take performance of Cruise. The rest of the movie plays like a setup for an inevitable ride you can experience at your next visit to Universal Studios and Theme Park, but doesn't offer much else.
The only item of note here is the attempt by the film to do some world building for the greater franchise that this movie introduces: the Dark Universe film series by Universal. Russell Crowe stars here as Dr. Jekyll who is a secret monster specialist and the head of the Prodigium-- a secret society dedicated to hunting supernatural threats. Though Crowe's Jekyll/Hyde performance is one of the movie's most awful moments, the film does offer some nice narrative flourishes for creating the greater series of films and even nods to a few easter eggs along the way for the franchise.
THE MUMMY is a tonal mess that attempts to be a campy adventure film, a horror movie, an action flick, and supernatural thriller all "wrapped up" in one. It isn't any of these. It is a nominee for worst film of the year, however, and is easily the worst film Tom Cruise has ever made. Maybe this franchise can develop something better in the future... if it can ever decide what it wants to be.