The Mummy (15)

Action (2017)
110mins US

Starring: Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe, Jake Johnson
Director: Alex Kurtzman
Writer(s): Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman, David Koepp
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Tomb raider Nick Morton travels to Egypt with plucky archaeologist Jenny Halsey to retrieve an ancient artefact. In the process, Nick accidentally unearths the resting place of Princess Ahmanet, who was buried alive hundreds of years ago. Nick and a team of military specialists transport Ahmanet's sarcophagus back to the UK. En route, the airplane is brought down by a flock of crows, thereby releasing Ahmanet's evil upon the modern world.

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LondonNet Film Review
The Mummy (15)

We are living in a battle-scarred world of gods and monsters, and Tom Cruise plays both in director Alex Kurtzman's action-packed reboot of the classic horror. This modern-day take on The Mummy kicks sand in the face of the tongue-in-cheek trilogy headlining Brendan Fraser and nods affectionately to the seminal 1932 picture starring Boris Karloff. Special effects-laden destruction, including eerie scenes of crowds running for their lives through the streets of London, is peppered with intense combat sequences involving the eponymous villain's zombified underlings. One slickly choreographed bout of fisticuffs in a church descends into blackly humorous delirium as Cruise's fists and feet become lodged in the decomposing skulls and chests of the reanimated dead...

The Mummy. Copyright: Universal Pictures. Caption: Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis star in The Mummy, directed by Alex Kurtzman. Photo: Chiabella James. All Rights Reserved.As usual, the leading man performs his own stunts including a jaw-dropping aerial sequence shot in zero gravity in a specially outfitted aircraft which plummeted from an altitude of 25,000 feet more than 60 times. The film occasionally goes into freefall too: character development is under-nourished, Cruise's on-screen romance with co-star Annabelle Wallis barely simmers, and the three scriptwriters pose an intriguing moral conundrum about self-sacrifice but have no intention of wrestling with the ramifications. The flawed hero is Nick Morton (Cruise), who undertakes long-range reconnaissance for the US military alongside Sergeant Chris Vail (Jake Johnson). The two men abuse their position to steal artefacts for private collectors.

"We are not looters. We are liberators of precious antiquities," Nick reminds his buddy with a smirk. A daredevil treasure hunt in Iraq - formerly Mesopotamia - unearths the tomb of long-forgotten Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who was buried alive 5,000 years ago after she forged a blood pact with Set, the god of war, to murder her father (Selva Rasalingam) and seize the throne. Plucky archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Wallis) and a crack military squad led by Colonel Greenaway (Courtney B Vance) fly Ahmanet's sarcophagus back to the UK. En route, a murder of crows brings down the flight. Jenny escapes by parachute but Nick perishes... only to be resuscitated without a scratch by a newly resurrected Ahmanet, who has chosen him as the human vessel for Set. A haphazard quest for salvation leads to a shadowy organisation called Prodigium fronted by chemical pathologist Dr Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), who knows Ahmanet's fate is linked to a burial chamber of Crusader knights located beneath the River Thames.

The Mummy is the opening salvo in a universe of movie monstrosities that will expand to include Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's monster and Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man. Kurtzman's picture is suitably dark to warrant a 15 certificate - spiders and rats abound - and polished action trumps gut-wrenching emotion throughout. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 proved it is possible to have both. Even with Cruise's bruising zero-gravity acrobatics, The Mummy is not the daddy of this year's summer blockbusters.

- Jo Planter

The Mummy. Copyright: Universal Pictures. Caption: Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis star in The Mummy, directed by Alex Kurtzman. Photo: Chiabella James. All Rights Reserved.

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