The Mummy Returns (2001)


Man, Evie and Rick O’Connell have to be two of the most incompetent movie heroes ever conceived. Not only do they bring the mummy to life in the first movie, but in the opening of the second film, they desecrate a tomb, and steal a sacred bracelet that their snot nosed son slips on. Even worse, their son is kidnapped, and said bracelet is going to kill him in a week if he doesn’t find a mythical oasis. There’s a big difference between being an average Joe adventurer like Indiana Jones, and a bungling nincompoop like the O’Connell’s. Seriously, is it so hard to watch one child? And if you’re handling priceless artifacts that are absolutely irreplaceable, why entrust it to an eight year old kid?

Even Indie occasionally smacked Short Round when he tried to handle a trinket. “The Mummy Returns” for all intents and purposes has a better plot this time around. It’s just too obsessed with pandering to kids by adding a snot nosed brat to the mix, that any hope of the follow up being exciting is snuffed out. Plus, it prides itself in being louder, faster, and more annoying than the original. The Scorpion King is one of the worst figures in Egyptian history who made a pact with Anubis to lead his undead army across Egypt in a war path. Years later, Evie and Rick discover the bracelet of the Scorpion King, hoping to learn more about it. Meanwhile, an ancient cult digs up Imhotep and resurrects him in hope of using him to defeat the Scorpion King and rule over his army. What’s never made clear is what the end goal was with the bracelet.

Did they plan to keep the bracelet or did they know the O’Connell’s son accidentally wore the bracelet unleashing the scorpion king? If so, how would they actually have known that? Did they plan to resurrect Imhotep and the scorpion king, have them battle, and then follow whoever reigned supreme? The details there are very fuzzy. In either case, Rick and Evie being the morons they are, lose their son Alex when he’s kidnapped by Imhotep and the cult, prompting them to chase after the villains, all of whom plan to visit the ancient oasis hiding the pyramid of the Scorpion King. They do that thanks to Alex, who puts on the Scorpion bracelet which holds the map to the hidden oasis. Much of “The Mummy Returns” feels like treading of the same old ground. And that’s likely because no one here has really evolved.

Every character are still the same way we met them, save for Evie who mysteriously develops the abilities of martial arts over the course of a nine year period that involves globe trotting and having a child. It’s sad since Weisz and Fraser have interesting chemistry. There’s just not much for them to chew on playing a romantic duo, save for clunky romantic exposition. The villains for the most part also stay the same, save for the scorpion king, and they’re really the stars of the film. They’re brought to life through CGI of varying quality ranging from mediocre to laughable (e.g. the scorpion king). “The Mummy Returns” doesn’t expand on the original movie; instead it merely reiterates a lot of the same beats from the first film, with minor additions that are merely glorified plot devices all of which add up to a tedious and annoying sequel.