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Brendan Fraser returns as explorer Rick O’Connell to combat the resurrected Han Emperor (Jet Li) in an epic that races from the catacombs of ancient China high into the frigid Himalayas. Rick is joined in this all-new adventure by son Alex (newcomer Luke Ford), wife Evelyn (Maria Bello) and her brother, Jonathan (John Hannah). And this time, the O’Connells must stop a mummy awoken from a 2,000-year-old curse who threatens to plunge the world into his merciless, unending service.

Doomed by a double-crossing sorceress (Michelle Yeoh) to spend eternity in suspended animation, China’s ruthless Dragon Emperor and his 10,000 warriors have laid forgotten for eons, entombed in clay as a vast, silent terra cotta army. But when dashing adventurer Alex O’Connell is tricked into awakening the ruler from eternal slumber, the reckless young archaeologist must seek the help of the only people who know more than he does about taking down the undead: his parents.

As the monarch roars back to life, our heroes find his quest for world domination has only intensified over the millennia. Striding the Far East with unimaginable supernatural powers, the Emperor Mummy will rouse his legion as an unstoppable, otherworldly force...unless the O’Connells can stop him first. Now, in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, the trademark thrills and visually spectacular action of the Mummy series will be redefined for a new generation.

The script is terrible, half the cast abandoned this second sequel because they thought it sucked so much, and Brendan Fraser only agreed to do it because Universal Pictures decided to back up a Brinks truck. Is there any hope at all for The Mummy 3? I think so.

So the script stinks. Who cares? This is an action movie and even if the script is half-written dreck it may not matter. A big, blockbuster action movie lives or dies on spectacle, and massive, stone warriors rampaging through outrageous explosions is probably going to be better on screen than it does on the page. Using a little C4 on set could make up for a multitude of sins here, and that’s how I’ve convinced myself that Tomb of the Dragon Emperor may actually have a shot at, if nothing else, being kind of fun.

Meanwhile, fans depressed over the departure of Rachel Weisz should console themselves with the knowledge that at least they found a fairly decent replacement. It’s not like Maria Bello is Lindsay Lohan. She can act. Besides, Brendan Fraser is back and he’s the only character in this series that has ever truly mattered. Mix in Jet Li as a villain and the cast, if slightly light on Weisz, is still good.

Will this be one of the summer’s biggest disasters? Maybe, but with as much fun as the first two Mummy movies delivered I think this third one deserves the benefit of doubt. Hand Rob Cohen a noose and let him have a chance to hang himself before you send in the firing squad.

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