To be perfectly honest, I went in expecting the absolute worst from The Mummy Rebirth, which should not be confused with the relatively recent Mummy Reborn. The reason for my trepidation is due to the fact that Justin Price’s previous films have been awful. Starting in 2015, his titles have been miserable slogs with lousy effects, poor pacing, and terrible characterizations (his movies before that year I have yet to see). The Dawnseeker, The Elf, and Alien: Reign Of Man, I have seen them all and was not remotely entertained.
The Mummy Rebirth starts off just as agonizing as I feared. Sebek (Shamel Hashish) treks through a poorly rendered CGI desert while wearing a terrible Halloween costume that resembles one of the Egyptian gods. He descends stone stairs to meet Reheema (Taylor Carter), his forbidden lover. As they are preparing to escape through a secret tunnel, the Pharaoh’s guards come in and kill them.
Then the opening title sequence begins, complete with a voice-over narration explaining several vital elements that were not very clear in that prologue. The CGI used here is still unpolished, but given the stylized imagery on display, it is far easier to forgive. Plus, there is repetitive information between the prologue and the opening titles. Considering that the latter gives more information, more engagingly, and is more pleasing visually speaking, why the prologue exists at all is confounding.
“For reasons not yet known to the intrepid adventurers, their employer…desires to help the now resurrected mummy.”
The plot officially gets underway in modern times, when archaeologists Noah (Carter) and Daniella (Brittany Goodwin) discover a map to a lost ancient city. This long-forgotten place houses the mummified Sebek (Michal Aaron Wiede), who is hell-bent on destroying the world. For reasons not yet known to the intrepid adventurers, their employer Sager (David E. Cazares) desires to help the now resurrected mummy. Will the reincarnated lovers finally be reunited for all time? Can the Indiana Jones and Lara Croft comparisons to the main characters be avoided?
To answer the last question first, no, those comparisons loom large, mainly due to their costume designs; which are not too shabby, in all honesty. The mummy himself, who is an actor in a costume looks quite good. The physical quality of seeing the mummy taking down a victim or two adds to the sense of danger nicely. Plus, while yes, Daniella and Noah look like two of the most iconic action-adventure heroes of all-time, and is that really a problem? Co-writers/ co-directors Khu and Justin Price wear their inspiration as a badge of honor.
This does mean The Mummy Rebirth walks recycled ground. There are no surprises to be had, nor do the characters have much depth to them. Moreover, the movie is pure fun. Khu and Price use the fact that the audience already knows these tropes to stage a series of cool action setpieces. The plot merely serves as connective tissue for some exciting, well-paced action scenes. There is a lot of fun witnessing a giant monster attack people in the desert. The best sequence in the film for my money is when the mummy chases Daniella through a museum. There’s a long take after she walks offscreen as another figure emerges from the shadows that are inventive and intense.
“There is a lot of fun witnessing a giant monster attack people in the desert…”
However, closer to the end of the movie, there is a fight scene that does not work. The mummy summons giant monsters to stop the heroes. They are, of course, CGI. And that CGI is abysmal, to say the least. The creatures are very blocky and have no weight to them, and are terribly integrated into the scenes. It is evident that the actors are reacting to things that are not there, which ruins the suspension of disbelief. It is a disenchanting way to leave the audience, but it does drown the whole movie.
Carter, who does go by just the one name, handles the action well and his one-liners tend to land more often than not. Brittany Goodwin is equally as assured and they two play off each other well. As the mummy Wiede is fantastic, emoting believably through the make-up. He also uses his body language to full effect under the wraps, to eerily menacing effect. The rest of the cast veers from stiff to forgettable, but no one really embarrasses themselves at all.
The Mummy Rebirth is by large and far Justin Price and Khu’s best film to date. Their use of computer-generated special effects is lacking, even by low budget adventure film standards. Plus, the story and characters have been done better elsewhere. However, the action scenes are exciting, the mummy is creepy, and there is some frightening imagery on display throughout.