“Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters,” says Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) to Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) as he tries to explain how he’s cursed and has unknowingly unleashed an ancient evil in the reboot of the 1932 classic Universal horror film, The Mummy.
In present day Iraq, soldier of fortune Nick Morton and his buddy, Chris (Jake Johnson), accidentally discover the tomb of ancient Egyptian Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) while fleeing from hostiles. One thing leads to another and they’re soon joined by archeologist Jennifer Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) who insists they remove the invaluable sarcophagus from its centuries-old resting place. Once the sarcophagus is placed on board a cargo plane bound for London, things begin to spiral out of control. The plane’s engines catch fire and a massive flock of birds crash into the cockpit causing it to plummet out of the sky. As Nick and Jenny are thrown about the plane on its downward descent, he manages to get Jenny into a parachute and push her from the plane, saving her life. Parachute-less, Nick screams as the plane hurtles toward the ground.
The bodies from the plane crash rest in bags in a hospital morgue, however one bag suddenly begins to move. Nick sits up, encased in plastic, and finally frees himself from the bag. He’s somehow miraculously alive – and naked. Jenny and a few of the staff discover Nick alive among the dead and aren’t nearly as shocked as you’d expect them to be when witnessing a plane crash victim alive, unscathed, and walking around in a morgue.
Nick and Jenny head out for a drink, and Nick continues having visions of Ahmanet in the desert of Egypt beckoning to him, visions which began the moment he saw her tomb underground. It’s not long before Nick discovers they’ve freed the mummy of Ahmanet, an evil woman who was imprisoned for murdering her father and her baby half-brother in order to inherit the throne. Now that she’s free, she’ll unleash the curses of Egypt and the evil darkness upon the world unless they can find a way to break the curse and destroy her.
Unoriginal and uneven, The Mummy is a disjointed mishmash of a film trying too hard to incorporate too many genres and lacking any real scares. The film lifts ideas, images, and scenes from such horror classics as An American Werewolf in London, 1999’s The Mummy, and Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy.
Tom Cruise is solid as Nick the soldier of fortune who’s in way over his head and might be doomed for all time if the mummy gets her way. He’s once again up to the physical challenge of doing some impressive stunt work and action scenes, but his character never really becomes likeable enough for the audience to root for. In fact, he’s mostly just a bumbling jerk who it is hard to believe has survived this long being a soldier of fortune. Annabelle Wallis delivers a flat performance as Jenny, the so-called expert on Egyptian artifacts who both repelled by and is attracted to Nick. She has zero chemistry with Cruise and fails to show fear when her character should be terrified.
Sofia Boutella is extremely effective as the damned Egyptian princess Ahmanet whose lust for power drove her to do unspeakable evil acts and condemned her to a horrific death. Boutella exudes both beauty and sexuality as the princess and a true malevolence as the resurrected mummy stealing the lives of innocent victims to make herself stronger and more powerful. Her performance is without a doubt the highlight of the film.
The only other highlights worth noting are two actions: the cargo plane crash which is impressive and the underwater chase with Nick swimming to save Jenny from Ahmanet while being chased by the mummy’s zombies. Both action scenes are visually thrilling. Sadly, it’s not enough to salvage what could and should have been an exciting and creepy remake of a classic horror film. Trust me and leave The Mummy in its tomb.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, action and scary images, and for some suggestive content and partial nudity
Release Date: June 9, 2017
Running Time: 110 minutes
Directed By: Alex Kurtzman