Follow Us on Twitter

The Mummy (Tom Cruise) - Review

The Mummy

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

AS GOOD (and sometimes great) as Marvel’s multi-movie superhero universe is, we now have it to ‘thank’ (or blame) for a new breed of blockbuster – the shared universe genre.

Desperate to give new and extended life to classic characters of days gone by, we now see all of the major studios scrambling to unlock their vaults and create inter-linking movies that could serve to create a never-ending franchise.

Warner Bros is doing it, to lacklustre effect, with both the DC superhero universe and the Godzilla/King Kong one. And now Universal is following suit with The Mummy, the first in a proposed Dark Universe that will also revive the likes of The Invisible Man and Dracula.

On the evidence of this first effort, the franchise already deserves to be cursed. Part Mission: Impossible-style action-adventure, part Walking Dead-style horror, and part comedy, Alex Kurtzman’s film is an unholy mess that feels like the desperate attempt it is to follow in Marvel’s path.

Tom Cruise plays Nick Moran, a soldier of fortune operating in Iraq, who accidentally stumbles upon the tomb of an evil Egyptian sorceress named Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who selects him as her ‘chosen one’ – a human to be sacrificed so that evil can take mortal form.

With the help of beautiful Egypt expert Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), Nick sets about trying to stay alive (even though he may already be dead) and save humanity, while a shadowy figure, played by Russell Crowe, offers mysterious help to satisfy his own agenda.

Early on, there’s a certain amount of fun to be had in bringing The Mummy into a contemporary arena, which in turn gives Cruise the opportunity to dabble in some more ridiculously OTT stunts. A mid-air, zero gravity sequence on board a plane is admittedly stylish, even if the idea seems borrowed from the last Mission: Impossible.

But once Boutella’s Ahmanet is unleashed, the film loses momentum as the absurdities in the plot become increasingly apparent and the film tries to hide the fact it’s merely an opening chapter by throwing one loud set piece at you after another.

The duality inherent in Cruise’s Nick (will he turn to evil or won’t he) is only explored on a cursory level, Boutella’s Ahmanet isn’t afforded enough time to create a formidable villain beyond a CGI effect, and Wallis’s Jenny is quickly reduced to a damsel-in-distress. Given the movie’s potential to provide two empowering roles for its women, these latter two failures feel particularly disappointing.

But then any semblance of a good (or original) idea that the film has early on is also lost amid the noise and chaos that ensues.

Kurtzman gets lost somewhere between filling Cruise’s unquenchable thirst for a gasp-inducing set piece and settling on a consistent tone, sacrificing plot and character for empty razzle-dazzle or past movie referencing (whether it be Cruise’s own back catalogue or the horror vaults of the likes of the 1999 Mummy or An American Werewolf in London).

As a result, he even struggles to capture a single decent performance, with Cruise coming up woefully short in the comedy stakes and eventually seeming content just to look confused; Russell going hammy as hell, and Jake Johnson – usually very funny – just plain irritating as Cruise’s partner in crime.

By the time the film lumbers to its franchise-spinning climax, with more questions posed than answered, audiences may well be lamenting the start of yet another open-ended journey that may never reach a satisfying conclusion. As for emotional investment in the characters, there is none.

Far from leaving you excited by the prospect of a Dark Universe packed with monsters, The Mummy leaves you cursing your own misfortune at having been tricked into seeing it.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 110mins
UK Release Date: June 9, 2017