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By Ron Wells | May 10, 1999

Mmmmm, vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein,… what else is sitting in the vault? Ah, the Mummy!
Not even remotely a remake, we open in an early Egypt ruled by the pharoah, Seti. He catches his untouchable mistress messing with his high priest, Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), so the lovers kill him. Imhotep escapes while the mistress stalls the guards, but kills herself before they can. The priest vows to resurrect his love but is captured and punished WITH THE WORST CURSE IMAGINABLE. This curse is so bad, it requires his burial site to be guarded in the legendary “City of the Dead” for all of eternity.
Cut to 1925, and a rogue band of Foreign Legionnaires are battling the locals over the long, lost “City of the Dead”. The only survivors are lovable rogue, Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser), and weasel Beni (Kevin O’Conner). Three years later, the two lead rival expeditions back for the untold treasure underneath, but locate something much worse.
Now, everybody comments on the “Indiana Jones”-lite aspect of this CGI fest, but something kept nagging at me. Let’s see, 1) a bouncy tone, 2) a lovable, but dim, wisecracking here (Fraser), 3) a beautiful, learned heroine (Rachel Weisz), 4) an incantation from an ancient Book of the Dead that raises an old evil and assorted weirdness, HEY! that sounds a lot like “Evil Dead 2”!
It’s very easy, actually, to picture Bruce Campbell in the lead role. It’s very easy to picture Sam Raimi directing this, too, around 10 years ago. Interestingly enough, this film actually displays the major problem of “Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness”, which is a dullness generated by an attempt to get a desired rating and attract more than a cult audience. Both films suffer. “The Mummy” goes to lengths to try to gross you out, but the over-used CGI and the PG-13 keep the film down to the level of a family theme park ride. It could have been so much more.
As it is, the film is still a diverting entertainment. I just wish we could have had a real horror film or something.

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