The Mummy

The Mummy

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Anyone who has read a Conan Doyle short story will know that messing around in Egyptian tombs is bad for your health. It's those curses. Superstition has a tendency to come up with surprises, which, in this case, is the resurrection of a 3000-year-old bald guy. He doesn't just appear, semi-naked with gold amulets. He is skeletal, mummified and determined to bring his girlfriend back to life.

It's the Twenties. The English behave like chaps and are jolly good at pretending they're no good at things. The Americans are different. They have pistols and rush about firing them, looking handsome and rugged and invincible. Of course, they're not. Once Boney M gets his bearings and remembers how to walk, they are in BIG troubola.

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The Girl (Rachel Weisz) is the brainy one. She speaks all kinds of languages, studies ancient scripts and doesn't stand for any nonsense. Her brother (John Hannah) plays the giddy goat and is everything they told you not to be at school - a coward, a thief, a lazy fellow. The Adventurer (Brendan Fraser), on the other hand, is a hunk - thick as a plank, a mile wide around the chest and great in a crisis. Six guns, two fists, riding boots and a rough tongue are all he needs. Y'betya!

Writer/director Stephen Sommers ignores warnings that The Mummy franchise is past its sell-by date. Forget the bandaged bloke from Hammer horror flicks. This is class effects, dashing adventure, a load of laughs and non-stop action. It is also scary. Kids can take it, but grown-ups may find themselves under the seat.

Films of this sort are either under-funded and therefore tacky, or clones of Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Neither is true here. Money has been spent well and Sommers is enough of an original to avoid Steven Spielberg's trademarks. He has a better sense of humour, anyway.

Fraser is pure beefcake and fits the good-natured hero perfectly. Weisz is a revelation. She enters into the spirit with an enthusiasm that is infectious and manages to make intelligence sexy. The only miscast is Hannah. He's not cut out for silly ass roles. He tags along, looking as if he'd rather be sending Gwyneth Paltrow flowers. Instead, dead people chase him through a ruined temple.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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The Mummy packshot
There are problems at the pyramids after an archaeological dig accidentally wakes a mummy.
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Director: Stephen Sommers

Writer: Nina Wilcox Putnam, Richard Schayer

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Kevin J. O'Connor, Oded Fehr, Jonathan Hyde, Erick Avari, Bernard Fox, Stephen Dunham, Corey Johnson

Year: 1999

Runtime: 124 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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