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Reviewed by Carlos deVillalvilla
Note to Hollywood filmmakers, class of 1999: now this is how to do monster movies in the 21st century. Something old (the setting), something new (the effects), something borrowed (the premise), something blue (a couple of racy outfits).
Brendan Fraser is Rick McCollum, an adventurer in the tradition of Indiana Jones. He's smart, strong, a crack shot and as it happens, one of two survivors of an ill-fated expedition to Hamunaptra, the legendary (some would say mythical) Egyptian city of the dead. It's reputed to be the resting place of Egypt's treasure.
It's also the resting place of Im-Ho-Tep, the high priest of the dead and murderer of Pharoah Seti II. Seems he got the nastiest Egyptian punishment there is - to be slowly devoured by flesh-eating scarab beetles after being entombed while still alive. That definitely leaves a mark.
Cut to the 1920's. After a sweet-natured librarian (Rachel Weisz) discovers a map to the legendary lost city, she enlists McCallum, her ne'er-do-well brother and a corrupt local official (read designated victim) to help find the site, where the Book of Amon Ra, which contains the secrets of Egyptian magic, is said to reside.
He wants to re-animate his dead lover (after 2,000 years, a fella's got needs) and kidnaps the librarian to do so. From here on in, it's a roller-coaster ride of dazzling special effects, spine-tingling thrills and daring escapes.
This is one of the best movies -- in terms of sheer entertainment -- that's come down the pike since, say, "Aliens." It moves at breakneck speed and visually is superb eye candy. Director Stephen Sommers took a fairly hackneyed monster movie and turned it into a potential franchise for Universal, which sorely needs one.
And Brendan Fraser as an action hero? Who'da thunk it, but it works. Fraser is very likable, in the tradition of Mel Gibson. But you're not watching the movie for the acting. It's all about More and Bigger and Louder, and "The Mummy" delivers.
While some of he scenes are a bit too intense for younger children in general, this is one fine family entertainment that you'll want to add to your video library.
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