Rock-ing Rick Returns
"The Mummy Returns" is very much in the same manner as "The Mummy" which means it is built around a lot of action scenes embellished to the hilt with special effects. It even tries to continue the storyline as we meet up with Rick and Evy who now have a child and find themselves once more battling the High Priest Imhotep as he comes back from the dead with more evil plans. But the trouble is that whilst it does sort of continue on what we watched the first time around the storyline seems less important this time as the focus resides on the effect driven action. In fact whilst not a complex storyline it seems more confusing thanks to so much padding to try and make it more interesting.
Many centuries ago, Mathayus the Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson - Get Smart) was forced to sell his soul to Anubis and became the leader of a menacing army. But now his presence from history has been erased, known purely as a myth. But that is until Rick and Evy (Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz) discover evidence of his existence including the gold bracelet of Anubis. Unfortunately for Rick and Evy their son Alex (Freddie Boath) has accidentally put the bracelet on and there are a group of people who will do anything to get hold of it including kidnapping their son. Desperate to get him back Rick and Evy find themselves coming up against a few old faces as they travel across Egypt.
It has to be said that when you strip away all the action scenes there really isn't much storyline left. Basically through the discovery of a gold bracelet, their son trying it on and some bad guys who want it we basically have a very simple storyline of Rick and Evy as well as a couple of returning faces doing battle with High Priest Imhotep who through his lackies has kidnapped their son. I am sure many will enjoy the storyline finding it perfect as a vehicle for plenty of action but it left me wanting. It also left me almost confused because for a simple adventure movie there is a lot of padding, Evy's memories of a past life often creeping in to make things more confusing than they needed to be.
But to be honest the storyline is just enough to be a vehicle for a lot of action and "The Mummy Returns" definitely has a lot of action. Right from the opening scenes everything seems to have had an injection of action and even the most innocuous of moments seems to have been embellished by an effects laden action montage. For me it made "The Mummy Returns" a movie which is best not to think about but to sit back and enjoy the ride and to be honest it's not a bad ride. The amount of action is an overkill with some of these high paced scenes ending up far too absurd, even for a fantasy movie. But for those who just want to be entertained by CGI corpses giving chase and legions rising from the sands then it is sure to please.
As for the acting well Brendan Fraser gives us more comical moments as are heroic Rick O'Connell and Rachel Weisz comes over all mysterious as Evy with her sudden burst of memories from a past life, a story element which just didn't work for me. But Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz work well together and basically deliver the right blend of comedy and action heroics for the movie. John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo and Oded Fehr also return and continue giving the same sort of performance that they did the first time around as Jonathan Carnahan, High Priest Imhotep and Ardeth Bay.
But the real star of "The Mummy Returns" is Freddie Boath as Rick and Evy's son Alex. He maybe playing an archetypal child character but at least his performance feels fresh, a welcome addition to the movie as it helps it to feel different to "The Mummy". And of course Dwayne Johnson appears as Mathayus the Scorpion King and to be frank I wasn't impressed, yes he looks good but that's about it.
What this all boils down to is that "The Mummy Returns" isn't as good as "The Mummy" but it's not far off it. It feels like more emphasis has been given to the action and as such the storyline at times almost feels unimportant as one action scene follows another. But if you enjoyed "The Mummy" and enjoy movies where you are entertained via countless swashbuckling action sequences all laden with CGI then "The Mummy Returns" will most likely do the job.