"I said I did NOT want highlights on my nails!" Sofia Boutella stars as the titular character in director Alex Kurtzman's new take on Universal Pictures' ancient horror star in THE MUMMY. Credit: Universal Pictures © 2016 Universal Pictures. All rights reserved. 

KEY CAST MEMBERS: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance and Marwan Kenzari

WRITER(S): David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman (screenplay); Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet (screen story)

DIRECTOR(S): Alex Kurtzman


HERE'S THE STORY: The first foray into Universal Pictures' "Dark Universe" (everyone wants to be Marvel nowadays), The Mummy stars Tom Cruise as Nick Morton, a para-military explorer who is a thief purveyor of "ancient antiquities" with his wisecracking partner Chris (Jake Johnson). Having lifted an ancient map from Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), Nick and Chris now find themselves in the Middle East dodging the bullets of soldiers trying to stop them from invading the spot on the map where a grand treasure awaits. 

As fate would have it, Nick, Chris and Jenny (who of course shows up on the scene) find more than they ever anticipated once they come across an ancient tomb buried deep beneath the sandy surface, lifting out a sarcophagus shrouded in mystery given how it is being held under a lake of mercury. And that's when the fun begins. Because just as Jenny discovers the ancient casket is the burial place of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) – an ancient Egyptian princess who was denied the right to become queen and went kinda nuts as a result – wouldn't you know there's an incident on the plane trying to take her away from her burial ground. And why is Ahmanet on her way to London? Only Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) knows that answer for sure ...

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Tom Cruise fans; people who enjoy 80s-style action comedies and sitcoms; anyone who sees it for free; people enjoyed the third Mummy movie that starred Brendan Fraser

WHO WON'T (OR SHOULDN'T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? Fans of the first two Mummy pictures with Brendan Fraser; people who hate corny movie jokes and characters; anyone who hates a reliance on special effects to drive a story

SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? The trailer for The Mummy promises a lot of action, tension and high stakes monster action. What it actually delivers, however, is a corny hodgepodge of corny 1980s sitcom humor for its first hour followed by a tepid romance between Cruise and Wallis with Russell Crowe trying to save the movie by injecting some class/intelligence before his character is somewhat wasted when a simple tease would have been enough to suffice and better served in his own movie. 

So, is The Mummy good, bad or awful? Let me put it this way – it certainly is NOT "good," "bad" is too weak and "awful" is too harsh ... But if I had to pick one, it's not going to be the first two choices. 

Some actors take over a movie with their presence; in the case of another release this week, It Comes At Night, that is a good thing as young actor Kelvin Harrison, Jr. is mesmerizing in his presence, emoting so much while seemingly doing so little to have to do so. In The Mummy, however, Cruise's takeover results in "Hey, I'm wacky!" or "What's going on here? Am I in trouble?!" at the most ridiculous times possible, resulting in a comedic mash-up of an action film that at its best feels like outtakes from a Mission Impossible movie. (If the jokes were good as opposed to needing a laugh-track behind them, that would be one thing ...) 

Likewise, Jake Johnson's presence as a (SPOILER ALERT) happy ghost (after committing murder and then joking about Cruise's character's actions, nonetheless) only adds to the mishmash of the entire affair's ridiculousness and Wallis is wasted as she goes from scientist to amazed bystander as the film moves on. Then again, since the plot of the film is very simple, this further showcases a bad light on Cruise, as it does everything possible to remind you that he is "my chosen" – although that could apply to Cruise thinking about himself. His character isn't smart, he isn't swashbuckling, he isn't deep, he's actually just kind of ... annoying, which fits in a movie that is so full of bombast it is as well. 

One of those movies where you could spend 10-15 minutes breaking down the errors/stupidity/silliness found in a 2-5 minute scene, The Mummy is one of those films that should have stayed buried deep, deep, DEEP in Universal Pictures' film vault. Poor Brendan Fraser: Even he had the sense to quit after that awful third Mummy movie, which, in comparison, looks like ancient-Egyptian equivalent of Terminator 2 compared to this. But fear not, Cruise fans, if none of his previous scandals have kept him down, it's safe to say The Mummy won't, either.

As long as this franchise stays wrapped up, however, that'll be enough.



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