Brendan Fraser unwraps another Mummy movie this weekend.
THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR (D: Rob Cohen, 112 min). Opens Friday, August 1. Rating: NN
The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor offers some okay action sequences and a half-good story, but both are sabotaged by mediocre filmmaking.
The basic story works fine. An ancient Chinese emperor (an unmenacing Jet Li) is back from the dead and hellbent on world domination. Only Rick (Brendan Fraser), his wife, Evelyn, (Maria Bello, taking over from Rachel Weisz) and their now-grown son Alex (Luke Ford) can stop him, with help from a witch (Michelle Yeoh).
But an awkwardly-written family dysfunction subplot leaves the trio looking uncomfortable in the dialogue scenes and kills the loving by-play that made Rick and Evelyn fun in the first two outings. There's also an endless stream of witless one-liners.
Director Rob Cohen delivers his action via choppy fragments of jarring camera moves and loud noise, so we rarely get a good look at what we're paying to see. Despite this, there are a couple of good battles and cool monsters.