When the first announcements were made about The Mummy being in production most people jumped to the conclusion that this would be a re-boot of the Brendan Fraser/Rachel Weisz movies from the early 2000s. While that triggered some groans when it was announced that was actually a big budget action-thriller with a horror twist starring Tom Cruise (Top Gun, Mission: Impossible) and Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind) suddenly the interest levels were sparked.
Directed by Alex Kurtzman (People Like Us, TV’S Alias) The Mummy sees Cruise play Nick Morton, an intelligence officer in the U.S.Army who alongside his colleague Chris Vail (Jake Johnson – Jurassic World, Let’s Me Cops) use the cover of war to find and then sell archaeological items on the black market. After sleeping with archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis – X-Men: First Class, Annabelle) Nick steals her map that leads him to a large area of Egyptian artefacts in Iraq.
Nick and Chris find themselves ambushed while trying to get to the artefacts and when Jenny finally arrives they find themselves having to gather up what they can quickly – this includes items from the tomb of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella – Kingsman: The Secret Service, Star Trek Beyond) an Egyptian Princess who killed her father and evoked a curse in a bid for power. When Ahmanet is awoken and begins an attack on London Jenny calls in Dr. Henry Jekyll (Crowe) and his team of investigators and soldiers to try and get to the bottom of it.
The Mummy may actually come as a bit of a surprise to most horror fans. It’s almost expected these days that when Hollywood makes a big budget horror it holds back a little bit in that department so they can for a safer M rating. The fact that Kurtmann and his screenwriters, which includes David Koepp (who has previously worked with Cruise on War Of The Worlds and Mission: Impossible) are not afraid to really push the horror aspect of the Ahmanet storyline does bring a whole new aspect and audience to this film. Koepp’s work on the film is obvious – at times it does feel like you are watching a Mission: Impossible film with a supernatural twist and for the most part the mix of genres works pretty well. Seeing Cruise and co battle to survive a plane crash and then falling into a world that feels like The Walking Dead meets Tomb Raider is a refreshing mix for the audience however the brief times when the film goes to the explanation of the Ahmanet mythology does seem to drag the film down a little… a shame when the rest works so well.
The highlight of the film is the scenes between Cruise and Crowe. It really does feel like you are watching a heavy-weight title fight as the pair go up against each other. Even dialogue driven scenes are lifted to a new height and when the fists start flying the audience are in for the best on-screen fight since Vin Diesel vs Dwayne Johnson. The fact that Crowe is playing such an interesting character that is also introducing the audience to the new Dark Universe world makes for some intriguing scenes that make me excited for the future of this franchise.
While Crowe and Cruise are good in this film it is credit to Boutella and Wallis that don’t allow themselves to get blown off the screen. Boutella stands out as the mysterious Ahmanet despite some very limited dialogue while Wallis really announces herself as a star to watch matching the acting ability of Cruise and Crowe throughout the film.
The Mummy is a fun action-horror that has a decent supernatural aspect that opens up an exciting new prospect as a franchise with the Dark Universe. With some great action sequences and intriguing plot The Mummy is far from the disappointment that some have labelled it.