tek's rating: ¾

The Mummy Returns (PG-13)
Dread Central (Blu-ray); IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Universal; UMD; Wikia; Wikipedia
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Caution: spoilers.

This came out in 2001. I watched it on DVD in 2017, about a week after watching The Mummy. I feel like I might have seen it sometime prior to that, but I can't really say for sure. Anyway, it doesn't matter. Like I said in my review of the first movie, this is more of a special effects-heavy action movie, rather than a horror movie. And even more than with the first one, I'm tempted to put my review under "action" instead of "scary," but... I'll keep it here anyway, because mummies. And stuff. Another thing I said in my review of the first movie is that anyone who dislikes it is objectively wrong. And I feel the need to say the same thing about this movie. In fact, this movie was not quite as well-received by critics as the first one (which itself wasn't exactly critically beloved). But personally, I'd say it's slightly better than the first movie. I still loved all the effects, and action, and characters, and humor, and everything else I enjoyed about the first movie. (Well, except that Beni's not in this movie, of course, and I always really liked that character- or at least found him really amusing. But there are new characters to like in this movie, in addition to the main group of returning characters.) Anyway, it's all just... more.

It begins with a flashback to 3067 B.C., when there was someone called the Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson), who led an army and tried to conquer the world. (This was 1,777 years earlier than the opening scene from the first movie, so I guess it would make sense that the ancient Egyptian characters from that movie would know about an even ancienter character from this movie.) Anyway, I guess the Scorpion King had plenty of victories before finally being defeated. He and the remnants of his army wandered in the desert, and all of them died except him. Finally, he begged the god Anubis to save his life and help him conquer the world. So Anubis sent his army of warriors that all pretty much look like Anubis, and they conquer the world, but then Anubis claims the Scorpion king's soul and takes his army back, so poor ol' Scorpy didn't actually get to rule the world at all. And then I guess the world just went back to ruling itself, or whatever.

Then we flash forward to 1933, which is seven years after the main part of the first movie. Rick and Evie are now married, and they have an eight-year-old son named Alex. So the math on that is weird, but I'm guessing the writers just checked the first "modern" scene from the first movie, which was 1923, and maybe forgot that the rest of the movie was set three years after that. Yup, that's my guess. Anyway, the three O'Connells are now exploring another Egyptian tomb, where they find the bracelet of Anubis, and take it back to England. Meanwhile, there was a guy named Baltus Hafez, who was leading a cult that wanted to obtain the bracelet. He'd sent a few mercenaries to kill the O'Connells while they were still in the tomb, but things went awry, and they end up being sent on a different assignment, while Baltus decides to handle the O'Connells himself, back in England. Well, not entirely by himself, because he's got a bunch of followers, the main one being a guy named Lock-Nah (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), as well as a woman named Meela. (Since she's played by the same person as Anck-su-namun was in her brief scene in the first movie, it's hardly surprising when we learn Meela is the reincarnation of Anck-su-namun. Though I'm not exactly clear how that works, I mean... I generally think of reincarnation as a soul being reborn into a new body. But in this case, Anck's soul isn't in Meela, because Imhotep still has to restore her soul, later in the movie. And yet Meela seemed to have Anck's memories even before that. And like... does this mean Meela was walking around her whole life without a soul? It's just weird.)

Anyway, the O'Connells' old pal Ardeth follows Baltus's cult to England, to warn the O'Connells they're in danger. And after some fighting (in which Evie unexpectedly turns out to be kind of a badass, herself), our heroes find themselves on the run from some of Imhotep's mummy minions. Oh, yeah... did I forget to mention that the cult resurrected Imhotep? There's just so much going on, I tend to forget little details like that. See, they want the bracelet of Anubis to resurrect the Scorpion King and the Army of Anubis. But then they want Imhotep to kill the Scorpion King, so they can take control of the army and use it to conquer the world, themselves. Unfortunately for them, Alex was playing around with the chest that the bracelet was in, and he put it on his wrist, and then it wouldn't come off. And it gives him visions that will lead the way to the fabled oasis of Ahm Shere, where the Scorpion King's pyramid is located. So, the bad guys have to kidnap Alex, who annoys the heck out of Lock-Nah during their journey.

Meanwhile, Rick takes Evie, Ardeth, and Jonathan to meet a former associate named Izzy, who turns out to want nothing to with Rick, because whenever they work together, Izzy ends up getting shot. But he soon agrees to pilot them in their search for Alex and the bad guys. But even before any of this started, Evie had had a dream that seemed more like a vision, and now she starts having visions while awake. And um... it all leads to a surprising revelation about her, which I won't spoil. There's also a revelation about Rick, courtesy of Ardeth, which I also won't spoil. But anyway, I should also mention that if by some chance the Army of Anubis should be awakened, our heroes won't be alone, because there's a whole army of Medjai tracking them as they seek Alex and the bad guys.

And lots of other stuff happens, which I don't want to spoil. Like, some really cool stuff and some really bad stuff and then some really good stuff. And... I want to say that I thought Alex was a decent character. And I really liked Izzy, and wish he would have had a larger role. And I thought it was great for Meela/Anck to have a much larger role in this movie than in the first one. Anyway, the movie was a lot of fun.

Followed by The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. But before that, there was a spin-off animated series, and a spin-off prequel movie, The Scorpion King, which started its own franchise.

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