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The Mummy - Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Review (Blu-ray)

I’m going to admit from the off that I despised the first two Mummy films. I can’t put my finger on why; possibly the setting, storyline or poor acting? Whatever the reason, the films bored me to tears and were a sure way to send me to sleep. With this being said, it won’t come as a surprise to you when I state I wasn’t looking forward to the third and final instalment in The Mummy series. So did I fall asleep during yet another Mummy movie or did the franchise resurrect itself and go out with a bang?

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A number of notable changes have been made since the last instalment of the series, with the director Rob Cohen coming in to replace Stephen Sommers being the most obvious. The film is set in China, a country that Cohen happens to have a keen interest in fro recent studies of the country’s history and therefore this helped add passion and little touches to the movie. Brendan Fraser returns as the no-nonsense Mummy hunter, but has apparently changed wives due to the beautiful Maria Bello now taking up the role. Possibly the most important addition to the cast is legendary martial artist Jet Li who plays Emperor Han. With famous names such as Fraser, Jet Li and the return of the comical John Hannah, the film had the all-star cast to make this easily the best Mummy yet; and they sure did!

The journey starts with Rick O’Connell (Fraser) and his wife Evelyn (Bello) mulling around their posh mansion, not knowing what to do with themselves and bored beyond belief. When an opportunity of escorting The Eye of Shangri-La (an ancient relic) to China presents itself, the couple jump at the chance of starting another adventure together; although they were unaware of what would lay ahead.

Meanwhile, the O’Connell’s son Alex is busy in China making his first discovery; without the knowledge of his parents who believe he is studying at University! Alex and his colleagues stumble upon the tomb of Emperor Han and his famous 10,000 strong Terracotta Army. Han was cursed by sorceress Zi Juan and transferred in to a Mummy many centuries ago after killing the sorceress’s true love General Ming. Alex must have wished Emperor Han stayed a mystery after he gets betrayed by colleague Professor Roger Wilson at the grand opening of his discovery. The professor had secretly been working with the evil General Yang whose ambition is to serve Emperor Han and take back the glory of China.

It so happens that The O’Connell’s bump in to their son Alex whilst taking The Eye of Shangri-La to China. Their annoyance at hearing he has quit school soon turns to joy as they learn of his recent discover. An even bigger coincidence however is that The Eye of Shangri-La has the power to resurrect Emperor Han, aswell as guiding him towards a pool high in the Himalaya Mountains which offers eternal life. A race to the pool of eternal life begins, with the O’Connell’s desperate to stop Emperor Han from becoming immortal and raising his 10,000 strong Terracotta army. I found the story to be interesting enough to keep me engaged throughout the film’s 1 hour and 52 minute length, with the story being well told by the director, mixing the correct amount of action with story telling to keep the movie flowing well.

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The action scenes found in The Tomb of The Dragon Emperor are done extremely well and provide more than enough excitement. Jet-Li brings his experience to the film via his Martial Arts background, with this style contrasting well with Brendan Fraser’s more no-nonsense approach to fighting. The differing styles ensure there is enough variety in the film to avoid repetition throughout the action scenes.

Each actor and actress produced solid acting performances for the third instalment in the Mummy Trilogy. Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello have good cohesion together which makes the prospect of them being married believable, and the same goes for the pair’s make-believe son Luke Ford who mirrors his dad’s performance extremely well. Jet-Li expectedly performed well as the evil Emperor and used all of his experience to good affect.

Video – 5/5:
The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is presented beautifully on Blu-ray and is easily one of the best transfers I have seen to date. Each and every scene amazed me and made my jaw drop on countless occasions. The whole movie appears to be incredibly sharp with great amounts of detail seen throughout. You can easily see even the smallest detail on the armour of the Terracotta Army, with each warrior’s armour carrying a different effect and varying from the next. A scene which stands out in my memory is where a group of Abominable Snowmen come to the aid of the heroes and protect them from a treacherous avalanche which would surely bring them to their deaths. Each strand of the Snowmen’s fur can be seen individually and moves in it’s own way, and this helps bring an amazing sense of realism to the stunning creatures.

Unfortunately I did not view The Tomb of The Dragon Emperor with a surround sound system and therefore can’t really comment of the films audio qualities. However, the case tells me the film includes DTS-HD Master Audio which suggests the film wouldn’t fail in testing your audio system to the max.

Special Features – 5/5:
I usually skip watching special features as they tend to bore me and are often tedious, but I am very glad I chose to view the features included on this Blu-ray disk. Universal hasn’t left anything to your imagine due to ten special features being available which cover pretty much every aspect of the film.

The often seen Commentary with Director feature has thankfully been included. Rob Cohen does a good job of keeping you entertained throughout his commentary and explains all of his decisions in good detail, telling you why each scene was included, where it was filmed, what effect he hoped it would have on the audience etc… I highly recommend viewing the movie again with this Commentary feature enabled if you are a fan of the film or Director Rob Cohen.

Other Special Features include Deleted and Extended Scenes, The Making of The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, how the cast was picked for the film, building and creating the many sets of the film, along with a number of short clips giving a brief history of China and the Terracotta army.

The BD-Live Center is also available if you have your Blu-ray player connected to the internet. The BD-Live Center essentially allows you to view trailers of upcoming Blu-ray releases, and this can come in handy if you haven’t kept up to date with upcoming movies or the latest releases.

The third and final instalment in the Mummy series is by far the best in my opinion. The all-star casts solid acting performances combined with an entertaining story gel together to provide an enjoyable movie experience. The film takes full advantage of the Blu-ray format with a stunning visual feast, coupled with Master audio to give that surround sound system of yours a hefty workout. A plethora of Special Features which run for 2 hours and 50 minutes is more than enough to keep you engaged well after the film has ended and will keep you coming back for more. If you are a fan of the previous Mummy films, any of the star cast or even the Director Rob Cohen, I highly recommend you take a look at The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Fans of the action and adventure genre should find the film entertaining enough for at least a Saturday night rental.

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