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The Mummy Returns (2001)

Back from the dead . . . again

Directed by:

Stephen Sommers

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 130 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Set seven years on from when last we saw slap-headed mummy Imhotep sent back to the Underworld where he belongs, that crazy Egyptology gang are back for another FX-burdened romp among the pyramids.

We soon learn that the heroes of “The Mummy”, Rick and Evelyn (Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz), are now Mr and Mrs O'Connell. What's more, they now have a 7-year-old brat called Alex (Freddie Boath), who they're dragging around Egypt looking for artefacts when you really suspect he should be at school learning how to swear and break windows like all the other kids.

Having seemingly learned nothing from the hornet's nest stirred up last time around, the O'Connell's bring a rare relic back to London which just happens to be needed by a gang of baddies wishing to resurrect the evil Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo). Are they mad? Haven't they seen the first film?

Before long all Hell has once again broken loose, Alex has been kidnapped, and Imhotep's hatching a cunning plan to snatch the powers of an ancient warrior by the name of “The Scorpion King”. As a point of note, the Scorpion King is played by WWF grappler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, though thankfully his appearances are few and far between – and by the end of the movie they've abandoned his acting “talents” completely and replaced him with a computer-generated beastie.

It's difficult to see what this film's offering that's any different from the original – the key characters are still largely bereft of charm, there's still a massive over-reliance on admittedly tremendous special effects, and there's still not the slightest bit of believable chemistry between Fraser and Weisz. John Hannah's back again as Evelyn's mega-annoying brother, though this time he's given a serious run for his money in the irritation stakes by newcomer Boath.

As with “The Mummy”, what saves “The Mummy Returns” from a less restrained slagging is its fast pace and all-out commitment to entertaining the audience at all costs. It works, but only by the very narrowest of margins.

It's Got: Another batch of OTT visual trickery.

It Needs: To have let things lie after the first one.

DVD Extras 20 minute location featurette, exclusive interview with The Rock (woop-dee-doo!), "Egyptology 201", music video, out-takes, special effects, trailer and production notes. DVD Extras Rating: 9/10

Alternatives:

any of the Indiana Jones films, Romancing the Stone, The Jewel of the Nile, The Mummy

Summary

Whether you liked or disliked “The Mummy”, this is largely more of the same – nice to look at, but precious little to get the brain ticking.

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