"The Mummy" Review

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Tom Cruise’s Twitter bio includes the phrase: “Running in movies since 1981”. Someone even created a 19-minute compilation video last year called “Every Tom Cruise Run. Ever”. And, yes, Cruise does even more sprinting and dashing in his new, highly familiar reboot of “The Mummy”.

When I first learned that Cruise was being cast in a “Mummy” revival, I thought he was an odd choice. This seemed to be a little beneath him. But the actor apparently had a personal reason for coming on board. He says he saw the original 1932 “Mummy” when he was 6 years old, and it changed his life forever - inspiring a love of movies.

So if this project was so special to Cruise, why didn’t director Alex Kurtzman and the team of writers make Cruise’s Nick Morton character fit his personality and age? (he’s about to hit 55). Instead, Morton and friend Chris (played by “New Girl”’s Jake Johnson) are goofball U.S. soldiers serving in the Middle East and using their “free time” to steal ancient artifacts - and engage in corny dialogue. Nick gets involved romantically (and awkwardly) with archaeologist Jennifer (Annabelle Wallis), who’s more than 20 years younger.

Following a sandy action sequence, they discover an Egyptian Tomb which contains a sarcophagus with the body of ancient Egyptian Princess Ahmanet, who was buried alive centuries ago after making a pact with the dark side. With the tomb uncovered, Ahmanet can get back to her old tricks, literally sucking the life out of humans. And she picks Nick to be her soul mate. Sofia Boutella plays the mummy. She's by far the most interesting character in the film.

Annabelle Wallis and Tom Cruise in "The Mummy"
Annabelle Wallis and Tom Cruise in "The Mummy"

The “Revenge of the Mummy” ride at Universal Studios is a fan favorite because it’s fast, fun and a little frightening. This “Mummy” movie isn’t any of those things. There are a few high-powered action sequences, but they’re all similar in style to scenes out of Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible” series, as well as “Knight and Day” and “Edge of Tomorrow”. And the story, from a logic standpoint, completely falls apart in the final act. The biggest compliment I can give “The Mummy” is that it's creepy, though not at all scary. The one legitimate surprise is the reveal of Russell Crowe‘s character, but he’s underdeveloped and underused.

“The Mummy” is the first installment in Universal’s Dark Universe series, which will also include 2019’s “Bride of Frankenstein”. But, with a ho-hum story, poorly written characters and uninspired action, this new franchise may be dead on arrival.

Jackson Murphy: Emmy Award-winning Film Critic / Entertainment Reporter. Broadcast Film Critics Assoc. (@CriticsChoice), SAG-AFTRA (@SAGAwards)