Rob Cohen | 2008 | 112 mins | USA
Ok, first of all, a reanimated terracotta soldier is not, technically speaking, any kind of "mummy", unless the word "mummy" means "any dead thing brought back to life by reckless adventurers".
But, whatever. The third installment in the Mummy franchise begins with a familiar (and real) tale from history: that of the First Emperor of Qin, the tyrranical ancient ruler of China who began construction on the Great Wall and was buried with 8,000 terracotta soldiers, 130 chariots and about 650 horses. Undoubtedly, the Terracotta Army was one of the 20th century's greatest archeological finds. As the film says: biggest thing since King Tut.
However, what you might not know about this story is that those 8,000 soldiers were all REAL, but turned to clay as the result of a curse placed on them and their terrifying leader by a beautiful witch. On no, wait! That part isn't real, but who cares! Brendan Fraser is about to enter the picture!
Cue Frazer, his wife (Maria Bello, who is no Rachel Weisz in the "English accent" department), her brother, their son, a sexy ninja lady, a yak and some guy named "mad dog", and you've got just the right motley crew of misfits for a Himalayan adventure on the trail to Shangri-La, where they have to try to stop the recently awakened Emperor (Jet Li) from rousing his army and taking over the world.
Here's the thing. It's hard to call The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor a good film. But it's also hard to say that it doesn't fully deliver on being The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, if you know what I mean.
It's got yaks, yetis, sword fights between Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh, avalanches and flying monsters, an exploding fireworks truck and a battle between reanimated skeletons and reanimated clay men. What more could you want from the Mummy franchise that isn't laid out before you on a silver goddamn platter by this juggernaut of adventure? You want a jumbo Elixir of Eternal Life with your popcorn, for fuck's sake?