The Mummy, C-
Rated PG-13, 120 minutes
The new action-adventure film "The Mummy" is a mildly entertaining, slick and pointless summer vehicle that lacks the excitement of its predecessors, even with a marquee name like Tom Cruise. A needless reboot of the Brendan Fraser films from awhile back, it won't give you any warm feelings of late 1990's nostalgia, especially since Fraser himself has slipped into obscurity, but that is a digression for another time.
Nick Morton (Cruise) is a soldier of fortune who plunders ancient sites for timeless artifacts and sells them to the highest bidder. When Nick accidentally unearths Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella of "The Kingsmen: Secret Service") in the Middle East, a betrayed Egyptian princess who was entombed under the desert for thousands of years. With her powers constantly evolving, Morton must now stop the resurrected monster as she embarks on a furious rampage through the streets of London.
"The Mummy" is directed by Alex Kurtzman ("People Like Us") and co-written by David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman, I give props to a cheesy, mediocre flick like this for clearly knowing its intention: to sell tickets. The writers must've had a field day dreaming up some inane action sequences and even worse dialogue ("you'll never be my type," Cruise says to the mummy), throwing in some zombie-like creatures (the recent "Pirates of the Caribbean" also used this tiresome undead gimmick) and Oscar-winner Russell Crowe in a useless role as Dr. Hyde (of Jekyll and Hyde), easily a set-up for some future movies.
The clumsy, confusing storytelling, which revolves around a few action set pieces, doesn't amount to much, and I was unsure why there needed to be zombies, along with
"New Girl" star Jake Johnson, who's kept undead for most of the picture, likely for a comedic presence; also there's the bland but beautiful Annabelle Wallis ("The Tudors"), who seems lost as Cruise's love interest and sideick. The most memorable is Boutella as the lithe young princess, who's most capable gift is summoning insects and the undead, and she casts enough evil glances to steal a few scenes from the always-intense Cruise, gritting as usual.
With so much promise there, so little happens, and it falters under Kurtzman's lazy direction. The ridiculous climax, in which Cruise's character supposedly sacrifices himself for a woman he hardly knows and even stole from after a one-night stand, is an easy set-up for a sequel. The unsatisfying "The Mummy," with some franchise appeal (and no Fraser), should sell a few tickets, but I recommend skipping this misfire to see "Wonder Woman" again or pull up a comfy chair next to some Netflix.