Sorry, “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” Jet Li would win

Wow. That was so bad.


Really, really bad.

To be more substantive, the comedy wasn’t funny. Luke Ford, who plays Brendan Fraser‘s son, has about as much charisma as one of the rocks in my backyard. (The rocks aren’t that cute either.)

I had higher hopes for this one due to the casting of Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh, and when I saw there was even another woman of color in a strong speaking role (Isabella Leong), and another one in a smaller speaking role (Jessey Meng), I was pretty excited.

Once I started watching it, though, I was all over the map with how many stars I would give it.

Kind of like this:

  • Evelyn has turned from an intellectual scholar of ancient languages and history into a writer of romance novels. Nice. Zero stars.
  • Now she’s using memories of their wild adventures as a come-on to spark things up with her husband. Consider establishing new category for negative stars.
  • Oh look, Alex is getting credit for finding the tomb when it’s actually the Chinese workers who located the door. And hey, they’re expendable, who knew? What will we call the new negative stars category?
  • Hey, the assassin who’s guarding the tomb of the Emperor is a woman. Three stars?
  • Oh, she’s young and pretty and they’re going to make her fall for the young white guy. One star.
  • At least they’re paying lip service to the idea of digging up historical artifacts for study and preservation in their own country instead of taking them off to England. Two stars?

And so on and so forth. In the end, the movie stayed firmly in the “white people save the world” mold because heaven forbid that white men don’t get to be the ultimate heroes, even when women of color have put in 2,000 years of work and personal sacrifice to save the world.

I’m going to give The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor one star. It included just as many Chinese people as white people among the central characters, and that’s an upgrade from the previous films. Unfortunately, it falls back on the same typical tired stereotypes and plot maneuvers as its predecessors. Also, there’s no way Brendan Fraser was kicking Jet Li’s ass. That’s just silly.

Other Commentary: Feminist Mom Approved, a guest post by Rachel Feldman on Women in Hollywood

This post was originally published on Heroine Content, a feminist and anti-racist movie blog that ran from July 2006 to May 2012.

5 thoughts on “Sorry, “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” Jet Li would win

  1. Djiril

    If you want to see a movie that’s really interesting from a feminist perspective, and where none of the characters are white, try “Mongol.”

  2. SunlessNick

    Evelyn has turned from an intellectual scholar of ancient languages and history into a writer of romance novels.

    It’s not April the first is it?

  3. fireweaver

    i do have to say that the one positive thing about these movies is that the heroine/hero are shown as a couple very much faithfully in love with each other. there’s never any wandering-eye crapola going on, and i find the idea of the main characters being in a long-term stable relationship quite refreshing.

    that being said, geez, how annoying was it to watch the “evil chinese chick army officer” strumpeting around the place? i have female friends in the military, and i can quite assure you that even your dress uniform is nowhere near as figure-hugging. it’s very much like the sexxxed-up versions of nurse uniforms (for example) to fantasy fetishize the idea of a woman with a career, rather than deal with the reality of her wage-earning.

  4. Mickle

    The moment I heard Rachel Weisz wasn’t coming back I suspected that it was going to be really bad. Nice to know my instincts are sometimes right.

  5. Alexandra P

    I was expecting to be disappointed by this movie and so, bizarrely, I wasn’t… it was as bad as expected. (Except for the yetis. I liked the yetis.) If Alex had had any less charisma, and any less spark between him and love interest, there might have been the spontaneous creation of a black hole or something… and Rick and Evie, too. Very sad.

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