The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

mummy tomb of the dragon emperor poster 2008 movie
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 7/10

Better visuals than the previous film

Convoluted and lacking fun

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Mummy:  Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Studio:  Relativity Media

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Horror/Comedy

Release Date(s):  August 1, 2008

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

mummy tomb of the dragon emperor jet li qin shi huang

I’m sick of these humans

Alex O’Connell (Luke Ford), the son of Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn (Mario Bello), has uncovered the tomb of Qin Shi Huang (Jet Li) in China.  When Dragon Emperor is awakened by a rogue Chinese agent, Alex and his parents find they must stop him and his terracotta army.  Aided by a mysterious woman named Lin (Isabella Leong), Alex and his parents seek out Shangri-La and work to prevent the Dragon Emperor from reaching the Pool of Eternal Life…which could make him unstoppable!

Directed by Rob Cohen, The Mummy:  Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is an action adventure horror movie.  The film is the follow-up to The Mummy Returns in 2001 and was preceded by a comic book limited series by IDW called The Mummy Movie Prequel:  The Rise and Fall of Xango’s Ax and also had a tie-in video game.  The movie was met with high criticism but relatively strong box office returns.

I struggled with The Mummy, liked The Mummy Returns a bit more because it didn’t try as hard, but really had a tough time sitting through The Mummy:  Tomb of the Dragon Emperor…mostly because I found it extremely dull.

mummy tomb of the dragon emperor yeti abominable snowman

Yea for Yetis!!!

The story doesn’t have enough going for it especially when compared to something like The Mummy Returns which had too much action).  It feels like the pacing for this movie is off, but it does have its moments like the scene with the yetis (or abominable snowmen) which do liven-up the fantasy.  The whole battle with the Dragon Emperor seems to drag on (get it drag on…dragon), and some of the set-up seems unnecessarily complex for a brainless action movie…which it should be.  Let just have them fight mummies!

I do like the switch from Egypt to China to live things up, but there aren’t enough changes in the cast to help the movie.  The decision to age Alex to a young man poses a bit of a problem because it is not possible for Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello to be his father and mother, and it doesn’t look like they are his parents since they are way too young.  Losing Rachel Weisz hurt the film, though I do enjoy the little joke they pulled about it when she describes her past self as “a totally different person”.  Both Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh are always fun and Isabella Leong is good as Lin, but I’d prefer them in a better movie.

mummy tomb of the dragon emperor

Hagrid would be jealous of this dragon

The special effects do show some improvements from the embarrassment that was the Rock at the end of The Mummy Returns, and creations like the yetis and the dragon are quite cool looking.  It just feels really abstract in general.  The effects are cool but the power of the mummy is so undefinited…it just seemed to have powers when powers were needed.  It just doesn’t quite feel like a mummy movie no matter what they try.

The Mummy: Tomb of Dragon Emperor didn’t do as well as many hoped.  The movie was initially planned to be a bit of a soft relaunch of The Mummy series, and many of the actors were signed to sequels, but the sequels never materialized.  Universal decided to launch the Dark Universe with Tom Cruise and The Mummy as their first outing in 2017…the movie bombed and the future of more Mummy movies is in question (but the Mummy always comes back).

Related Links:

The Mummy (1999)

The Mummy Returns (2001)

The Scorpion King (2002)

The Scorpion King 2:  Rise of a Warrior (2008)

The Scorpion King 3:  Battle for Redemption (2012)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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