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The Mummy (2017)

This installment of the newly formed "Universal Dark Universe" is not nearly as awful as critics would have you believe. There were varying complaints, from "this is a movie about Tom Cruise, not the mummy," to "this is just an action movie disguised as a mummy movie." Well, for the first complaint, I don't think that's fair. I'm usually fairly well-entertained by Cruise, but I can usually tell when Cruise is trying to make the movie all about himself and I don't feel that's the case here. As for the second gripe, well, yeah, it's a movie full of action and it's supposed to be a horror movie, and I didn't think it was scary at all. But the Brendan Fraser mummy movies were full of action and were pretty well-received. So, I kind of compared this movie to those and found it to be on somewhat even ground with them.

We've got the flashback tale at the first, like most mummy movies, where the person who will become the mummy is revealed. This time it is Ahmanet, a female Egyptian, played by the lovely Sofia Boutella, who is quite effective as the villainess of the title. Even swathed in bandages, she's hot as can be. And whoever choreographed her mummy moves (the non-CGI moves) did a real good job. Cruise is good and a bit of a goofball in this and it works to his advantage, so we take his free-wheeling adventurer at face value. He and Jake Johnson make a great team, using military cover as an excuse to search for valuable treasure hidden in the Iraqi desert. They accidentally uncover the burial place of Ahmanet, pissing off archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), who knows exactly what they've uncovered and has another agenda besides hidden treasure which lies with her employer, Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), who is less effective than the rest of the cast but seems to be in the film for exposition when the time comes to explain his and Halsey's real purpose.

But the adventure and action is the real draw and on that level it works greatly. It almost never stops and I found it be very enjoyable and effective. It was much more entertaining than I had any reason to hope. I don't know if a sequel is really called for but it's set up if need be. It did so-so business here in the U.S. but raked it in worldwide so that could decide things.