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The Mummy

Cover Media logo Cover Media 15/06/2017

The Mummy is one of cinema’s most venerable franchises, having first been seen on screens as a black and white horror movie in 1932.

The latest attempt to terrify cinemagoers with tales of ancient Egyptian curses sees Tom Cruise play Nick Morton, a soldier-of-fortune with a sense of adventure and an eye for valuable ancient artefacts.

Scouting the Iraqi desert ahead of U.S. forces, Morton and an army Sergeant, Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) find themselves stranded in a village filled with militants and having to call for air support.

The explosive response unearths an ancient Egyptian tomb, mysteriously found hundreds of miles away from the nearest known remnants of the ancient civilisation.

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The tomb has been holding the spirit of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), an ancient Egyptian princess who murdered her father, and the infant son who replaced her in the line of succession.

Imprisoned in a sarcophagus submerged in liquid mercury, she has lain there for 5,000 years until Morton, Vail, and Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), an archaeologist employed by the U.S. army to save treasures from Islamic militants, disturb her from her slumber.

What follows is an action-packed supernatural thriller featuring stunt after spectacular stunt. Director Alex Kurtzman does not allow the action to let up, even after Jenny, Nick and, unfortunately for them, Ahmanet have travelled back to London. There they meet Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), the head of a secret society dedicated to containing and destroying supernatural threats to humanity.

Ahmanet, imbued with evil and capable of summoning up zombies at will, continues to pursue Nick as the key to a ritual that will give the power of the Egyptian god Set - but also unleash the god’s evil upon the Earth.

Although Cruise has spoken of his love for the original horror movies featuring the Egyptian undead, The Mummy owes more of a debt to his action films than the classic thrillers - and is the worse for it.

The joy of a good supernatural caper is that it plays on the mind and leaves the viewer guessing and petrified at what unseen terror might appear next. In The Mummy nothing is left to the audience’s imagination.

It makes for spectacular moments and fight scenes, but it is a predictable film. Cruise and Wallis give it their all as the film’s leads, although alarmingly Cruise appears to have more chemistry with Boutella’s Mummy than his primary love interest. Boutella herself is unsettling but strangely alluring as Ahmanet and Crowe gamely hams it up as he has done in a number of less serious roles.

But the lack of suspense in a film supposed to be about a world beyond human understanding means its premise is little more than a setting for its big set-piece action scenes.

The result is a film that entertains at times, but ultimately leaves the viewer unsatisfied due to its lack of intrigue or jeopardy. As the first instalment in a planned monster franchise, it does the job in setting the scene for future films - however one can only hope future instalments are more ambitious with their source material.

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