The Mummy Returns – 2001

The problem with reviewing a sequel without first reviewing the original is that sometimes you do have to sum up the previous movie. So. ‘The Mummy’ can be found here at the imdb.

Think Romeo and Juliet with lots of beetles, sand, and people getting shot. And Romeo and Juliet are evil. In fact, there’s so much running around, this could almost be West Side Story, if the warring gangs wore loincloths. Oh, and one of the best weasel-type sidekicks ever.

In short, Imohetep, one of the Pharaoh’s trusted servitors, got it on with the Pharaoh’s favorite and bad things happened as a result. The girl was killed and he tried to revive her only to be caught and sealed in a tomb under a curse for all eternity. My roommate likes to point out that it wasn’t really a punishment for him, as if someone freed him, he got to destroy everyone else.

At any rate, a young librarian (Evey), her cowardly brother (Jonathan) and an unlikely hero (Rick), aided by a devastatingly sexy man who is sworn to keep the mummy eternally buried (Ardeth), accidentally wake Imhotep, suffer through a lot of murders, snarky dialogue, reincarnation issues, disposable secondary characters, killer beetles, improbable running about and ludicrous acts of heroism before sending him back to his pseudo-eternal prison.

Yay!

So, for your enjoyment, allow us to present the sequel which features even more snarky dialogue, improbable stunts, special effects and a total lack of anything even remotely resembling proper Egyptian mythology or Earth Logic.

Our movie experience begins in ancient Egypt, as usual. We open with a fine display of synchronized marching by half-dressed men and a sexy, sexy voice-over – of a great deal of complete nonsense. But please, that’s what the half-dressed men and the sexy, sexy voice-over are for, to make sure you don’t register the lack of plot that they’re trying to feed you.

The careful choreography extends to the battle. Who has battles on the front steps of their exotic palaces, after all? Said battle includes multi-cultural warriors, cheap costume jewelry in large amounts and hey, the man with the giant, golden scorpion on his chest and the most bling (scorpion-themed bling at that) visible must be the guy in charge, right?

He’s obviously the guy in charge not because he’s doing all the yelling, but because only a battle-hungry loon would wear such terrible accessories that do nothing but slow him down and protect no vital organs as breastplates are usually expected to do.

What is this, high school?

Report card grade – Military history – F

There follows a great deal of totally bloodless carnage and melodramatic, slow-motion death scenes and, despite the valiant and manly efforts of the man with the scorpion bling, a humiliating defeat. The soldiers are awfully dirty, making it look more as if they lost a fight over who could make the most mud pies than anything else. As the defeated soldiers skulk off into the trackless desert wastes, you receive the impression that they’re being jeered at by the victors.

“Your momma makes Hathor look pretty!”

“Go chase an oasis!”

It’d certainly explain the dark looks that scorpion boy, minus the tacky, pseudo-breastplate, is casting over his shoulder.

For a desert army, you’d think that:

1. They’d be wearing more clothes.
2. They’d’ve been carrying some sort of water skins.
3. They’d know better than to rampage off into the trackless wastes and would instead have, oh, gone home?
4. As most armies are totally dependant on their supply trains and such, they’d’ve had fortifications to fall back on complete with medics, food and water.

But I suppose we’re meant to assume that the good citizens of Thebes just kicked that much butt.

Report card grade – Common Sense – F

Something tells me that in his efforts to conquer the known world, this Scorpion guy probably didn’t get very far before being handed his head on a platter. It looks like he was the spoiled six year old down the street who wanted to own the sandbox and Thebes took one look at his shiny, impractical armor and poorly equipped army – and I guess his clever plan to defeat them all while they rolled around on the ground laughing just didn’t go as well as he’d hoped.

One by one, his men fall, till the Scorpion guy is all alone, staggering mostly naked across the sand with only the sexy, sexy voice-over for company. Personally, it brings to mind images of shipwreck survivors eating the dead and dying combined with the way those nice folks in Dune would render the dead down for their water, ‘cause he sure still looks fat and healthy for someone supposedly dying of exposure and thirst.

Of course, he doesn’t get that far because some dingbat who failed comparative mythology stepped in and said: ‘Whoa. Dude. Wait. You know what would be, like, TOTALLY far out?’

Rant mode on. Forgivable is the use of the name Imhotep (that of the Mummy in question). It was originally a name meaning ‘he who comes in peace’, and it belonged to an architect responsible for some of the earliest forms of pyramids.

Okay, fine. What’s in a name, right?

But you don’t touch Anubis like that, bitch.

One, ‘dark god’ my mythology geek ass. Set, I’d believe. Apep, even. Anubis was the guardian of the dead, the inventor of embalming, protector of his father, Osiris, and judged souls for entrance into the underworld. Making a pact with him would achieve… what? A particularly cozy session of delicate organ removal? Assurance that he would get into the afterlife, period?

Not exactly the sort who you go around promising your soul to in order to gain a dark army.

Then again, Scorpion guy isn’t Egyptian, from what we can glean, so perhaps it’s all a case of mistaken godly identity.

“What was his name? Thinkthinkthink… started with an ‘A’, right?”

Maybe all that happens afterward is what you do when you make a pact for your soul with the wrong god and they decide to have their immortal fun with your stupidity.

In any case, this is not a procedure which we would recommend. When promising your soul to someone, kiddies, always make sure you know that you dialed the correct celestial number.

Anubis: Waaaaaitasec. Didn’t my people down in Thebes thrash your arrogant little ass? I thought you looked familiar. Sure. I’ll ‘help’ you.

When praying to a god for vengeance over a certain people, it’s always best not to pick their god to go bitching to.

Also? Anubis wasn’t scorpions. He was jackals.

Report card grade – Mythology – F

But when we see the Anubis warriors, the abuse of the Egyptian pantheon is almost forgiven. Almost.

We’ll spare you a description of the whole ‘biting the head off a scorpion’ thing. Ozzy did it better, and he had a bat. Plus? Biting the head off random scorpions is one of those things you should never, ever try at home. Not only will your parents not be impressed with the whole ‘just trying to sell my eternal soul to an Egyptian God in return for eternal vengeance’ thing, you’d look pretty silly down in the emergency room.

We’ll assume that he bit the head off the correct scorpion, however, as there is an immediate and highly over-compensatory eruption from the sands of tall trees and an oasis. Either that or it was a hallucinogenic scorpion. At any rate, Anubis apparently decides that the soul of a second-rate blingless loser is worth loosing his mighty *coughnonexistantcough* armies for and away we go.

For all of their mythological non-existence, the Anubis warriors kick some serious ass. Whoa. They’re… wow. We love them a lot. They rampage across Thebes like a mighty flood, kicking ass, taking names and looking mighty cool. As the Scorpion guy is indulging in a display of stereotypical maniacal laughter, however –

Anubis: I give you my armies and you go slaughter my people. You are so grounded.

With a bright, fiery gaze, the Scorpion guy is consumed.

It’s amusing to note that the huge, butt-ugly armlet/bracelet that now carries Anubis’ curse-whathaveyou, is one that the guy was wearing way before he decided to trade in his soul cheap on a slightly used army, and the irony of a scorpion with the head of a jackal just coincidentally being among his costume jewelry? I tell you. You have to be careful what you wear to a battle these days. Those days. Whatever.

Report card grade – Props – Subcategory ‘Bling’: D

So the Anubis warriors dissolve into clouds of dust, the Scorpion King goes off to the pits of hell for eternal damnation, etc, etc. Moving on.

Report card grade – Special Effects – A-

A handy little subtitle tells us that we’re still in Thebes, only the year is now 1933. We have lost our sexy, sexy voice-over, but that’s okay, he’ll be back. Into the ruins we go, for shots of rats, ominous moving shadows that really aren’t that ominous and Brendan Fraser (our hero, Rick O’Connell) doing his Indiana Jones impression. Hey, why not re-use a perfectly good set?

Still a little jumpy from the events of the last movie (and who wouldn’t be) he’s snuck up on by a small child who he nearly shoots and who is revealed to be his young son (who was most emphatically not in the last movie).

Enter Alex – the annoying child who is here specifically to point out Plot Device Number One – ie the very noticeable tattoo on Rick’s wrist.

Alex: What were you thinking, a mummy had come back to life?

Nice try kid, but we saw the first movie. It’s not as funny as you think it is. Rick doesn’t think it’s funny either.

Rick tells the kid to go off and play, to build a better mouse trap, which he then goes off and does. He’s a cute kid, if precociously annoying. Rick, leaving his son alone in a large, apparently unexplored Egyptian ruin then beetles off to locate Alex’s mother, a very pretty lady named Evey (short for Evelyn). She is dusting cobwebs off a wall (and maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t think they got many spiders in Egyptian tombs. Snakes, scorpions, bats – but not spiders.) While thus engaged, she is surprised by a harmless, inoffensive and totally non-poisonous snake and kicks it across the room at the newly arrived Rick.

Being married means kicking snakes at one another all in the spirit of good, clean fun.

We suppose that this action establishes Evey as confident, learned, and not at all prone to the usual womanly heebie-jeebies, but really, she’s just being cruel to animals. Those of us who know that red-and-black is harmless and red-and-yellow is poisonous now stop the movie to point at Rick and laugh as he tells her that the snake is of the deadly variety.

The real reason this movie is fun is the dialogue. It’s funny, it’s sarcastic, it’s oddly endearing. Rick and Evey engage in a little tomb-robbing, alternating smart remarks with either smashing or subtlety. They’re not very good archaeologists, frankly.

The wildlife in this movie gets no love, as evinced by Evey’s careful tiptoeing through a room full of beetles and scorpions and the odd tarantula (I didn’t think they had tarantulas in Egypt), while the heavily booted Rick stomps straight across to the sort of crunching normally only found in a large bowl of Rice Krispies.

While they are thus occupied, a trio of obvious thugs arrives, armed to the teeth. ‘Cause we all know that, in movies of this nature, weapons = bad guys. Well, ignoring the fact that Rick’s been waving a gun since we first laid eyes on him.

We’ll call them the three stooges. The description is, sadly, accurate. We have a jumpy one, a lunkheaded one and a bully.

Lunkhead and Jumpy begin rummaging in the room where Alex has constructed his better mouse-trap while Bully goes looking for Rick and Evey with obvious evil intent. Alex, having heard their none-too-subtle approach, has scrambled atop a set of scaffolding and is staying sensibly out of sight.

While their only child peers out at the stooges who are here to messily slaughter them all, Rick and Evey are still puttering around deep within the structure. Absentee parenting really isn’t the way to go when tomb-robbing, methinks.

It is at this dramatic juncture that Evey decides to have a hallucination/flashback/psychotic episode. It is conveniently centered on the exact room where they are and shows exactly how to get into the supposed treasure chamber. Useful as this is, her reaction to a flashback that has her entire surroundings changing around her isn’t to yelp or call out for her manly husband who was last seen less than three feet away, to pinch herself or even to grope for her anti-psychotic medications – no. Instead, she begins waving her torch around wildly, not unlike some 1930s feminist pyromaniac.

More disturbing, once she’s back in the same reality as Rick, she not only simply accepts what just happened, she’s relatively enthusiastic about it. Given their past adventures with Imhotep the raging mummy of doom, one would think that she’d be just a tad less pleased with having weird and inexplicable things messing with her head.

Then again, we learn in this scene that she dragged Rick all the way from England to Egypt following a strange dream she had earlier. Despite their proximity in the alphabet, that’s a hellish long distance to drag your long-suffering husband, particularly in the 1930s. Add to that the fact that she’s dragging him from his nice, warm home, on the strength of a freaky dream, to the place where his wife was kidnapped by a rampaging mummy who wanted to use her body as a vessel for the soul of his dead, demonic girlfriend?

Man, that’s one devoted husband.

It’s interesting to note that, in these movies, it is Evey who goes leaping madly into danger and havoc while her manly husband is the sensible voice of reason. Nice bit of gender role-reversal there.

At any rate, we’ll leave them fiddling with the mysterious door with its star-shaped combination lock and check back in on Lunkhead and Jumpy, who have occupied themselves with digging through and smashing the selection of pots, jars and random, not-shiny but yet historically significant artifacts. Alex, being a little kid, has let his need for entertainment override his common sense and produced a slingshot. He amuses himself by taking potshots at Lunkhead and Jumpy.

Back to Rick and Evey mumbling over a chest with *gasp* another star-shaped lock. For those of you tuning in late, the main artifacts which got everyone into so much trouble in the first book had star-shaped locks. Frankly I don’t recall the Egyptians being much into star shapes but maybe it’s just the somewhat warped logic of sequels.

Evey tells us all about how the place is full of information on the Scorpion King who, “…is supposed to be pure myth. No trace of him has ever been found before.”

Which more or less begs the question of how she knows about him in the first place.

“No harm ever came from opening a chest,” Evey tells Rick.

Remembering the last movie, Rick ripostes, “Yeah, and no harm ever came from reading a book, either, and you remember how that one turned out.”

A key to the lock is located hanging around the neck of one of the cobwebby corpses standing at attention to either side of the pedestal that the chest is sitting atop. Because, you know, people just die standing at attention and then stand there for several thousand years, particularly with the key to the priceless treasure hanging around their necks.

Which sort of invalidates the point of locking the damn thing in the first place, really.

At any rate, the chest is opened and they behold a tacky golden armlet. For those of you paying attention to the opening sequence, it is immediately familiar as the armlet of the Scorpion King, a jackal-headed scorpion with its legs curving around the arm. We’ll leave the Egyptian mythos to writhe in twisted agony and turn to the interesting bit, where Evey makes girlish squealing noises about how it’s the mythical ‘bracelet of Anubis’.

Back to the unsupervised small child. Jumpy’s not just the second-string stooge he appears to be and the slapstick routine deteriorates into a fast game of ‘catch and eviscerate the small child’. Leaving Alex to scramble hastily backward on the rickety scaffolding as Jumpy ascends, murder on his mind, we’ll check back with his parents.

Bully, meanwhile, has finally caught up to Rick and Evey and is peering around the edge of the door, leveling his gun at the unsuspecting pair. Cheerfully oblivious, Evey picks up the bracelet.

While the Egyptians were masters of architecture and the cunning booby-trap, the star-shaped combination lock that is still working thousands of years later left us blinking a bit. However, that little tidbit is nothing as compared to what came next.

The chest is not attached to the stand it is sitting on. The bracelet is not attached to the chest. However, Evey’s lifting of the bracelet apparently set off an ancient self-destruct mechanism and with a thunderous scraping of rock and groaning of architecture, the place starts to come apart around them. Sand and dust falls from the ceiling, Bully takes off running, and Evey chucks the bracelet back in the chest, thus making it harder to carry, as they make a break for it.

Logic, we hardly knew ye.

They then pause in the midst of the chaos so that Evey can translate what it says on the chest. You know, after they’ve opened it and extracted the contents. I always thought it was best to read the warning labels first?

“He who disturbs this bracelet shall drink from the Nile.”

Now… we’re not told where they are during all of this and there is water visible outside and if they’re back in Thebes they reallyaren’t that far from the Nile, but to have an ancient device that floods an entire temple complex with water from the Nile just –

Report card grade – Engineering – C-

As Alex rushes around just out of reach of Jumpy, Bully arrives and tells everyone to get out. They rush off but not before Jumpy kicks the support out from beneath the scaffolding.

Evey and Rick, meanwhile, are racing frantically to keep two steps ahead of the rushing water and it finally catches up to them. I have no idea what they did with the chest at this point.

Alex’s rickety scaffolding falls and hits a nearby, gigantic pillar. This pillar, which has stood for several thousands of years, takes the impact of about 35-40 lbs of child and perhaps another 80-100 pounds of scaffold… and tips over. To further belie the apparently amazing booby-trap, it falls directly onto the next gigantic pillar, which falls onto the next –

Egyptian dominoes, really. It’s sort of a cute commentary on a moment in the first movie wherein Evey manages to knock over all the shelves in the Cairo library and shows that little Alex really is his mother’s son, but still?

Report card grade – Engineering – D-

As all this goes on, Rick and Evey get down to the relatively important business of drowning and Alex notes that the last pillar is only sort of grinding very slowly downward. Displaying an astounding lack of logic, he tries to shore it up. It’s all right, though. As it ponderously comes to rest against the wall, the wall breaks, spilling water, Rick, Evey and the chest across the floor.

So much for that incredible bit of building, design and architecture.

Report card – Laws of Cause and Effect – F

The water then conveniently ebbs away, to be seen no more.

Let us shift scene, then, to Hamunaptra, lost/cursed city of the dead, uneasy resting place of the cursed mummy Imhotep, guarded day and night by the descendants of the pharaoh’s devoted guards the Med-jai, who destroy those who might awaken him.

And the Med-jai are apparently all off at the Annual Nude Guardians-of-the-Unspeakable Oasis Retreat, lying by the pool and sipping margaritas, as the place looks like it’s been opened for strip-mining. (Nude because they’re all working on their even tans to go with their flowing black robes and facial tattoos. One must be fashionably swarthy, however goth.)

*ahem* Sorry. Moving on.

The lost city of Hamunaptra has is full of torches, flood-lights, oppressed looking workers doing mad excavating at apparently random sites and a huge group of people in ethnically-suspicious red robes and turbans. The people in red have big, shiny weapons which is probably the direct cause of the oppressed looks worn by the workers.

The people in red are apparently being directed by a rather sleazy middle-aged gentleman with an accent of no particular origin, a tall, dark, menacing man with a pretty sexy voice himself, and a skanky, skinny chick.

So this is our introduction to the Very Evil people. Well, perhaps not so much very evil as just plain old evil and incompetent evil with a very bad crush. Well, their evil heart is in the right place. We know this, because they handle some obviously bad and evil artifacts as if they are about to swoon out of evil delight and awe. We assumed that, were no one watching, they’d lick them or something even more disturbing but no, we are assured that, pictographs aside, they just have them for the articles.

“The Book of the Dead gives life,” the dark, menacing man proclaims, producing the main plot object from the first movie.

“And the Book of the Living,” the skanky chick responds, also producing the described item “takes life away.”

It is worth noting that the skanky chick strongly resembles the unfaithful concubine who started the entire mess that resulted in the creation of Imhotep the mummy of doom in the first place. Funnily enough, she’s the one telling everyone where to dig and to look for Imhotep and the books – which can’t be explained by reincarnation because she certainly wasn’t around when they defeated Imhotep and reburied the books just a few years back and hell, she was dead when they hid them the first time.

In fact, Imhotep didn’t even become the mummy until after she was dead and almost resurrected the first time. I wonder. Since he got halfway to resurrecting her for the second time in the first movie, Maybe it’s reincarnation Vu? Like Deja Vu only stuff your previous life would have known if you hadn’t been dead at the time? Was she a normal evil vapid supermodel that woke up reincarnated one day? But, if so, you’d think she’d’ve gotten Imhotep out before this. I mean, it’s not every girl who’d wake up with a very hot, mostly naked genius and worker of arcane magics suddenly lurking around in her past.

Report card grade – Linear Progression – D

The workers aren’t very good at digging, it is noted.

Report card grade – Digging – F

They do finally manage to unearth something, with an ominous rumble of shifting earth, and out pour thousands upon thousands of scarab beetles in a dark, chitinous fountain to eat the poor, helpless workers!

Note: Scarab beetle – FAMILY: Scarabidae – GENUS: Scarabaeus – SPECIES: sacer. Despite the fact that they were used to great and horrific effect in the first movie by crawling under people’s skin and eating them alive, they are not the piranha of the beetle world. They are, in fact, dung beetles.

This makes the yelling and the screaming and the being eaten alive by the things burrowing under their skin just a bit ludicrous.

Report card grade – Entomology – F

The scarabs are dealt with by flamethrowers – which begs a number of important questions. As in, how the hell did a cursed mummy in a secret city, lost to the sands of time and jealously guarded by a murderous army of totally devoted and mildly obsessed horsemen with sharp pointy weapons gain a modern, well-organized and well-funded, multi-cultural secret society dedicated to his awakening, getting laid and future world dominion? More or less in that order.

The Med-jai fail at secret-keeping. Maybe it was all the margaritas at the Annual Nude Guardians-of-the-Unspeakable Oasis Retreat or maybe it’s the facial tattoos. Not exactly the most subtle way to mark your secret agents.

The three stooges arrive to report their failure to steal the bracelet of the mythical, never-heard-of-before Scorpion King to the sleazy guy in charge and are roundly and deservedly chastised for their ineptitude.

They do eventually locate Imhotep who, despite having been sunk in a dark, oily pool of damned souls at the end of the last movie, appears to have been encased in something sort of resembling a melted glass cocoon.

We get a glimpse of the sexy, sexy voiceover guy, though he doesn’t exactly speak to inform us of such, but we get the idea that he’s a ‘good guy’ by the fact that he’s the only one dressed in black and the only one even attempting to hide his face, although the easily-identifiable tattoos on his face aren’t covered by said disguise. At all. Even a little. He’s still very, very sexy, even without being able to hear his voice.

Fade to London, complete with dramatic ‘we love you, Great Britain’ musical crescendo. We are treated to the heartwarming sight of a humongous building that is, presumably, the home of Rick and Evey. At least, they’re flinging their luggage about inside as Rick complains that he doesn’t want to go out chasing after lost oasises… oaisii? because they’ve just arrived home. Evey is persistent. Rick persists in being reasonable, so she turns to using her womanly wiles on him. It appears to be working, right through a long exposition on their past history – clever, working it in like that – and Rick smiles at her sweetly and says, “What’s the catch?”

That man does know his wife.

“It’s supposedly the resting place of Anubis’ army.”

“How did I know that?”

There follows a long explanation of all the various dark portents and stories that surround this lost oasis, as Rick persists in being the extremely funny voice of reason while Evey goes on at length about the various horrors.

Their marriage is so… interesting.

Cut to an exterior shot of two beautiful cars pulling up in front of the previously shown giant stone home, wherein it is the prerequisite, menacing, dark and stormy night. This despite no apparent time having passed and the last shot having it a fairly fine afternoon. Go figure.

In the meantime, little Alex has begun to fiddle with/unpack the priceless Egyptian relics right in the family living room. Who in their right mind lets their kid unpack valuable and priceless Egyptian relics in their living room? These aren’t archaeologists. They’re grave robbers with semi-official backing.

A shot of the cars as they pull up has the dark and menacing man in rather noticeable foreign-of-no-determinate-flavor robes peering menacingly up and out at the house.

Meanwhile, Alex has opened the chest downstairs while his parents chat romantically about life, death and mad coincidence on the landing above. Actually, it opens mysteriously all on its own, despite the difficulties that his parents had with it earlier. He picks up the bracelet of Anubis and clasps it around his wrist for no apparent reason and is subject to a mad montage of various easily recognizable Egyptian landmarks – despite the fact that the kid would have no real idea what the damn places looked like several thousand years ago. Nor did the movie-makers, apparently.

As Rick gently guilts Evey into giving up adventuring in favor of staying home and doing scholarly research, they remain oblivious to the following:

a) their son was handling heavy and priceless artifacts that they already knew were booby-trapped and nearly got them all killed.
b) their son has somehow opened the chest and is playing with a huge bit of Egyptian bling.
c) their kid just unleashed a curse that will end in death, mayhem, cross-country globetrotting, and necrophilia.

No, we’re not kidding about the necrophilia.

It’s amazing little Alex survived this long, frankly. Great parents. Very attentive. Perhaps this is all a ploy by Alex for some much-needed attention. Not that we’d blame him. But couldn’t he have… oh, I don’t know, given himself a haircut? Got a piercing? Picked up a strange and exotic pet? Played with one of the convenient and innumerable swords lying around the living room?

At any rate, Alex watches the pretty moving picture show until it suddenly shuts off and immediately (far too late) tries to get the bracelet off. I’m surprised he wasn’t clutching his stomach and complaining of vertigo. As he struggles, his parents get all cute and gooey on the landing until Rick dips Evey and she spots a set of underwear hanging off a nearby piece of furniture, which she positively identifies as not her own.

Rick mutters darkly, “Jonathan,” and beetles off to investigate. Although why someone named Jonathan would be wearing (or not wearing, actually) women’s knickers around the place is sort of left to the imagination, which boggles.

Alex, meanwhile, has swiped a nearby baseball trophy and shoved it into the chest. He drags his sleeve down over the bracelet and attempts to appear innocent as his mother arrives at his side.

Note: A baseball trophy in an English Manor House in the 1930s is a bit of a jarring note. Rick may be American, but he grew up in an Cairo orphanage that, apparently, gave strange wrist tattoos to its orphans and can thus be assumed to be another place unlikely to field a baseball team at the turn of the century.

Upstairs, presumably in another section of the house, we find the aforementioned Jonathan, one arm slung around an expensive looking blonde, gesturing with what appears to be a solid gold scepter. He is using tales of Rick’s exploits with the Mummy from the previous movie in order to get laid. Surprisingly, it appears to be working. Well, he also mentions money.

They are surprised by the men from the cars we saw arriving, or some of them anyway. Jonathan is grabbed while the blonde is shown forcibly from the scene. Once again, the crazy underground cult again demonstrates just how incompetent they are. Also how trigger-happy. With apparently no idea of who they are actually seeking, they attempt to bully information and/or the bracelet out of Jonathan – assuming that as he’s a white male of about the right age, he must be Rick. He could have been anyone. They might have started questioning the butler, or the drunken, debaucherous relative that’s staying the night… hey, waitasecond. Add to that the fact that Rick is an American with attitude and muscles and Jonathan is British and, well – the fact that the guy that bested their cult figure years ago is now babbling like a brook and trying to appease them while pleading desperately for his life isn’t a bit of a hint that something isn’t adding up?

As the sleazy man in charge browbeats Jonathan, his subordinates… do nothing. At all. Well, two of them hold down Jonathan, not that he’s doing much struggling, and hey, they’re all even wearing red shirts. How nicely appropriate.

Jonathan attempts to explain that he’s not Rick, but they mock him. It is at this point that he begins lying up a storm. As the sleazy man grabs the golden scepter and salivates on it as if it were a plot device religious relic, the young woman from the earlier scene with the beetles and the dying and the psychotic behavior reappears.

This time, she’s clad in haute couture, complete with a cute little hat with veil and a basket with an asp. Jonathan immediately tries to impress her and is only slightly put off by the asp – at least until she advances on him. He babbles madly in an attempt to convince her not to kill him, which doesn’t appear to do much as she dangles it right in his face.

Enter Rick.

The scene is his own bedroom. His brother-in-law is being held down in a chair, a knife held to his throat by obvious villains as a young woman threatens him with a deadly reptile and a man in a silly red hat fondles a golden scepter in a decidedly un PG-13 like manner. Rick looks not at all surprised by any of it.

Jonathan must be quite the lad. I wonder what other parties he’s thrown? Then again, if Evey and Rick were so concerned about Jonathan’s wild parties, perhaps its no small wonder that Alex was slighted in the parenting department.

Rick: Uh, hello. Jonathan, I thought I said no more wild parties?

Jonathan *attempting a devil-may-care attitude despite the asp and knife*: Yes, well, when you’re popular….

Cut scene to the living room, where Evey is frisking Alex to find the key to the box that the bracelet came in. As she’s going through his pockets, she somehow fails to notice the enormous lump on his arm under the sleeve of his jacket. More support for the ‘negligent parent’ theory, frankly.

As she finishes, the tall, dark and menacing man who’d been peering out of the car earlier appears and announces that he’s come for the box. Alex grabs it as a large number of men in those interestingly-unidentifiable-as-to-country-of-origin red outfits appear and, as the storm rages outside, they all loom menacingly at Evey and Alex. Alex suggests that they call for help as Evey grabs a sword.

Dark threats are made to the accompaniment of an overly melodramatic crack of lightning, and there is a swirl of black fabric as a sexy, sexy voice proclaims, “I think not.”

Leaving aside the obvious jokes as to Descartes, let us all swoon at the sexy, sexy voice and its equally sexy owner. We recognize the sexy, sexy voice. The less enlightened of the audience now realize that the voice over guy and the glowering tattoo spy guy are the same man. (Less enlightened simply meaning that they didn’t see the first movie. Because really. How else could one make the connection?)

Tension is high as everyone glares at each other and Evey exclaims, “Ardeth, what are you doing here?”

Ardeth takes over Rick’s job as Voice of Reason, and says, “Perhaps explanations are best kept for later.”

The dark, menacing man greets him by name and Ardeth returns the favor, thus upping the tension and implying *gasp* a dark, hidden past between them!

Cut scene back upstairs to where Rick has obviously got the wrong idea and is telling the assorted thugs that even if Jonathan owes them money and probably deserves whatever they’re about to do to him, this is his house and there are certain rules about snakes and dismemberment –

The penny finally drops.

The girl hurls the snake at Rick and suddenly all is chaos, violence and havoc as Jonathan leaps to somewhat dubious safety. Rick catches the snake, looks at it, and hurls it back, catching a red shirt in the face.

What is it with these people and the abuse of various reptiles?

Suddenly, it’s all knives and pointy weapons, upstairs and below, as battle is joined. There is much hacking and slashing, dramatic gestures, witty bon mots –

It sort of makes you wonder why, exactly, Rick has found it necessary to have house rules involving snakes and dismemberment. He catches a knife in the air and hurls it back at another red shirt, who ducks as a compatriot catches it rather less successfully than Rick did.

Ardeth is sexy and violent for quite some time before dark, menacing guy deigns to join the fray and attempt to righteously kick Ardeth’s extremely attractive ass. Alex tries to protect the box – with limited success. Evey has suddenly learned to do bloody battle with swords with no prior training and expresses surprise at this as she and Ardeth catch up in the middle of the fight.

Alas, it is all to no avail as the baddies grab the box and Evey and make a run for it.

Note: Unless these guys all received training as circus clowns, there’s no way they all fit in those two cars for this trip.

Upstairs, Rick and Jonathan are being shot at and take cover in a nearby bathroom. Rather, Rick does. Jonathan hides in a convenient tub, full to the brim with bubbles. It makes one wonder if they have invisible servants or if someone snuck in and drew up a bath. Bubbles don’t last that long.

Rick: What did you do THIS time??
Jonathan: I haven’t done anything to anybody!
*automatic weapons fire*
Jonathan… lately.

They leap out a nearby window and land, two stories below, unharmed and just in time to see the villains drive off with Evey. The rain has mysteriously and fortuitously ended, although we are still treated to the ominous thunder and lightning. There aren’t any puddles, either.

Rick grabs Ardeth and demands to know what he’s doing here, logically assuming that if costumed weirdos have appeared out of nowhere and grabbed his wife and another costumed weirdo (albeit a very sexy one and known to him from previously trying circumstances) shows up directly in their wake, he must have something to do with it.

Ardeth is conveniently armed with a sexy, sexy lack of any real explanation, but is carrying a photograph of the sleazy guy who likes to fondle other people’s scepters. Alex, from two feet away, in the dark and at the wrong angle, correctly identifies the man. He is apparently a curator at the British Museum. How convenient. Presumably he doesn’t wear that outfit to work.

Fast plot exposition as Jonathan, Ardeth, Rick and Alex race for the car. Alex shows them all the bracelet and Jonathan’s first reaction, predictably, is, “Is that gold?” There is further exposition as Alex tells them all about what happened when he put it on.

Alex’s role as Plot Device now firmly established, Ardeth grabs his wrist and stares at him. “By putting it on you have started a chain reaction that could bring about the next apocalypse!”

All: GASP!

Rick *points at Ardeth*: You, lighten up. *points at Alex*: You, big trouble. *points at Jonathan* You, get in the car.

They speed away into the night as Ardeth goes on for further sexy, sexy exposition and tells us all about the prophesied apocalypse. Unfortunately, his audience, save for Alex, is just a bit jaded toward impending doom by this point. Jonathan sums it up nicely with this comment, “Ah, the old wipe out the world ploy…” (See ‘The Mummy’ for details). It is to be assumed that Alex will grow into it, however. It seems to be a family trait to go around bringing about the end of the world.

We learn all about the Scorpion King and how someone must defeat him to take control of Anubis’ armies, and this is why they are waking Imhotep. Ardeth is most informative in a sexy, sexy way.

They reach the museum, leaving Jonathan to guard the car and Alex to guard Jonathan. More or less.

Alex: Guard the car? Just because I’m a kid doesn’t mean I’m stupid.

Ah-huh. You’re sporting a big bling that shows lack of credibility in that department. You put on a cursed artifact why, exactly?

We don’t fault Jonathan for being cowardly. It’s rather clever and endearing here. And humbling. He’s a likable, humble, cowardly, debauched troublemaker. He knows when he’s out of his depth, which really does set him apart from the rest of the cast.

As Rick unpacks his arsenal from the boot, we get another look at his mysterious tattoo of plot contrivance and Ardeth murmurs dark catchphrases and codewords, which Rick amazingly knows the countersigns for – and then none of it is explained. At all. Or even ever referred to again.

Cut to the inside of the British Museum, because all the really fashionable cults bring cursed mummies back to life with elaborate ceremony, half-naked, buff, oiled young men, open torches, a young woman bound with the clumsiest knots ever seen outside a class for amateur sailors and in the middle of one of the most popular exhibits.

No, really.

Most museums, in fact, are not only rather cramped, but have security guards who are unlikely to simply ignore such shenanigans, even if the curator himself wanders in with a few dozen redshirts, a really weird-looking lump of glass that is Totally Not An Artifact, a skanky-looking tramp, and calmly says “they’re with me.”

Plus, the whole human sacrifice thing? So terribly un-British. Not really very Egyptian, either. More of an Aztec thing.

Moving on.

So we have a huge circle of torches and groveling and chanting red-shirts among the huge, scattered crates, a sort of entrance to the area flanked by various statues of Egyptian Gods, and not very accurate statues at that, even ignoring the fact that they’re all the same statue (far more Greek than Egyptian in execution) in different colors with various heads stuck on.

And no one notices.

Evey is being carried on a wooden slab that might be a door or a bit of crate and extremely clumsily bound with rope that’s thick enough to be used for mooring ships. Most ten year olds I know would have been out of that in moments.

She’s placed on the floor in front of the sleazy guy, who is chanting impressively from the Book of the Dead, and looking a little silly with his red ceremonial hat and his Saville Row suit. Surrounded by genuflecting and changing minions, Evey glances around and makes a brilliant statement of the obvious as she recognizes Imhotep, even though he’s currently just a chunk of art nouveau glass with no distinguishing features. Despite the mad close-up of the glass thing we can’t recognize anything vaguely Imhotep-like, so we’ll take her word. We’ll just assume that she’s attuned to his Aura of Evil ™ and move along.

Rick and Ardeth have snuck into the museum and are lurking around amid the various glass cases and lesser, non-cursed mummies. The ominous, atmosphere-enhancing thunder and lightning are back, but drowned out somewhat by the chanting. Evey sits up and looks all wan and helpless, despite being mostly ignored. I’d’ve snuck out the back at this point, myself.

The mummies are clawing at their cases now, woken from their napping by all that noisy chanting and presumably complaining that the museum used to be so nice and quiet. None of this is doing anything for Rick and Ardeth’s nerves. The bursts of intermittent lightning that somehow light up the inside of this dark and otherwise unlit building can’t be helping much, either.

Back in the middle of it all, the art nouveau glass cracks and shatters, producing one extremely pissed off mummy. He lunges around a bit, looking just a tad irritated at having been so summarily prodded awake without benefit of a snooze alarm and presumably looking for someone to rend. Interestingly, and quite unlike the first movie, he gets a little of his skin back and looks a tad more human right away, if you ignore the gaping holes and all.

“What year is it?” he snarls, in Arabic, presumably.

As he’s grovellingly soothed by the sleazy guy, skanky chick makes an entrance and Evey has another psychic moment. The museum fades away and the skanky chick loses her haute couture in order to become the scantily clad and highly decorated concubine that we remember from the first movie.

Shock. Surprise. Alarm.

Imhotep takes waking up in the British museum without blinking, glances at the reincarnated lover whose death drove him mad in the first place without so much as a ‘Now my continued existence and the unending pain and suffering has meaning’ and assumes that they’ve brought him around to fulfill some prophecy involving the Army of Anubis and the Scorpion King without even needing to see the cue cards.

In fact, he greets the skanky chick with the observation that yes, she is Anck-su-namun but ‘only in body’. This opens up a whole new can of worms. Last time I checked, re-incarnation was an old soul being reborn. If she’s just the chick’s body, how the hell does she know anything and what was Imhotep doing in the last movie when he was trying to stuff Anck-su-namun’s soul down Evey’s throat?

It is also interesting to note that everyone speaks the same language here. In the last movie, Imhotep spoke a very old and mostly dead language, which led to some interesting errors in communication and translation. Here, according to the subtitles, everyone’s speaking modern Arabic. Emphasis on the modern. Just a little something that Imhotep picked up while sealed in glass with nothing but his ‘Teach Yourself Arabic’ tapes for company.

He paces slowly around Anck-su-namum, running dry, bony fingers through her hair and giving us a lovely moment where we can see right through his head… we did mention the necrophilia, didn’t we? Well, don’t worry, we’ll be mentioning it again.

As the reunited lovers stare at each other meaningfully, Ricky and Ardeth watch from above. Rick’s only comment? “You know, a couple of years ago, this would have seemed really strange to me.”

Below, the dark, menacing guy and the sleazy guy run acid along the back hinge of the chest to open it, gloating about how pleased Imhotep will be that they’ve already retrieved the bracelet, only to find themselves the proud possessors of an anachronistic baseball trophy.

Outside, ‘guarding’ the car, Alex is entertaining his uncle Jonathan with stories of golden pyramids and giant diamonds, which is nicely keeping them both out of trouble.

Anck-su-namun takes this opportunity to present the bound Evey to Imhotep and use her Reincarnation Vu to proclaim that she knew it would please Imhotep to watch Evey die. This, despite the fact that the only witnesses to Imhotep’s defeat the first time were Ardeth, Rick, Evey and Jonathan and I can’t see any of them telling tales out of school. Despite all of this, she seems to think that burning Evey for everyone’s entertainment and pleasure would make a smashing Welcome Home Honey gift to her rotting soul mate.

Evey chooses now to decide to struggle, when all eyes are again upon her. Not the brightest of moves and it’s all to no avail. She goes to her soon-to-be death in the convenient flaming firepit which all museums keep hand, proclaiming heroically that she’ll put Imhotep in his grave again. Do we doubt her? Considering she’s about to be tipped into a handy dandy firepit, I think we’re supposed to doubt her.

Imhotep shouts a command which, despite everyone apparently knowing how to speak the same language, Anck-su-namun takes obvious pleasure in translating. “Burn her!”

So Evey is tipped into the fire pit to have a crackly, burning death, at least until her husband leaps out of the flames (or is it from behind the flames) and saves her. Of course.

With Ardeth providing covering fire from above, all hell breaks loose again in a flurry of gunshots, some fancy knifeplay, and Imhotep stands around in his immortal way, looking mildly irritated and wondering what all this duck-and-cover fuss is about.

Outside, Jonathan and Alex struggle frantically to get back into the car, which they’d been leaning against while Alex entertained them both. Once in, Jonathan breaks off the key in the ignition. “Be quiet, Alex! If there’s going to be any hysterics, they’ll come from me!”

The chaos continues and there is much gunplay and dying on the part of the redshirts. Both of our romantic couples are violent and bloodthirsty and there are many explosions as, apparently, specimens packed in formaldehyde shouldn’t be shot full of holes right next to melodramatic open flames.

Rick and Imhotep come face to face and snarl at each other. Rick shoots Imhotep and the immortal Mummy doesn’t take that at all well. Stomping off in a snit, he snatches up a large jar that is conveniently full of instant undead minions. Just recite the correct incantation and add malice.

I love how his minions are just sitting there innocently in the museum basement. “Let’s just fill the place with all the Egyptian stuff we can spare, just in case he needs it. You know, to make him feel at home. In London.”

There are four of said minions, sort of odd, undead, not-quite mummy creatures. They roar menacingly.

Cut to outside where Alex and Jonathan panic adorably and abandon the useless car, only to steal a double-decker bus and return just in time to pick up the fleeing Rick, Evey and Ardeth. As they roar off down the street at the bus’ top speed of about twenty mph, the creatures burst through the wall of the museum and jog madly down the street after them, trampling Rick’s beloved car into scrap metal in the process.

Everyone, (except Jonathan who is driving and Alex who is too young) having not learned anything by the previous five minutes and five hundred rounds, tries to shoot them. Which only works a little, but makes Ardeth and Rick appear very manly. The undead creatures leap around onto buildings and run along the sides and finally manage to board the bus in the time-honored fashion of undead pirates everywhere.

So much for the manliness as Rick and Ardeth get themselves thoroughly spanked. We don’t recommended hand to hand combat when it comes to the undead. Our heroes are now sweaty, manly, beaten and bruised.

The entire thing suddenly resembles a Harry Potter movie – for all of about fifteen seconds.

Ardeth gets wounded, in a sexy, sexy fashion, and is saved by Evey – who up until that moment was backseat driving over Jonathan’s shoulder. Rick continues to get beaten up right until Jonathan drives under a low bridge, resulting in a rather Warner Brothers end for the mummy Rick was fighting on the top level of the bus.

The dramatic chase ends with an establishing shot of the good old London Bridge. Just in case the whole red, double-decker bus and British Museum thing weren’t obvious enough.

Ardeth is all sweaty and relaxed and very, very sexy about his enjoyment of his first bus ride.

They all relax in their battered bus and there are dignified embraces all around – except for Alex. The child with the main plot device and the cause of all this conflict is left to wander off and immediately be nobbled by their pursuers. Again with the negligent parenting. The villains drive away, cackling madly, as the bridge rises in the middle, leaving Rick clinging to the far side, calling manfully for his vanished son.

Cut scene to our favorite necrophiliac couple, standing on a balcony overlooking London and musing about their plans to take over the world. They are interrupted momentarily by the sleazy curator and informed that the good guys have ‘The Scepter of Osiris’ which we can take to mean Jonathan’s gold scepter that the sleazy curator was fondling so happily earlier in the movie.

Note: Whatever happened to the rod and the flail and why does Osiris suddenly have a scepter? Gods don’t NEED scepters, generally. Or gaudy and anatomically improbable armlets, for that matter.

Imhotep dismisses him, stares deeply into Anck-su-namun’s eyes, prompting another flashback. Sort of. Imhotep is suddenly all flesh and blood and disturbingly hot. It takes Anck-su-namun a moment or two to gather herself as Imhotep demonstrates his ability to make other people hallucinate. He’s quite good at it. To the point that they’re no longer in England, he isn’t undead and rotting, and he’s a really good kisser. Really. Because back on the balcony in London, Anck-su-namun is happily sucking face with someone… who doesn’t really have all of a face to suck.

Proof that someone is evil: they don’t care if your lips are non-existent and your teeth are rotting and other parts are in similarly questionable condition, they still want to make mad hot evil love. Hell, in the first movie he didn’t even have a tongue for the first half hour of his unlife – and let’s not go there.

Fade out, thankfully, to Evey clinging to Rick as he comforts her over the loss of their son and his Armlet o’ Cheesy Bling. Ardeth tries to be reassuring in his sexy, sexy informative and expository way.

Rick mutters about flying carpets in order to catch up, thus mixing Persian and Egyptian mythologies in a way that… actually doesn’t hurt any more than any of the earlier agonies they’ve inflicted.

While the good guys are delightfully muttering about magic conveyance, the bad guys have already made it to Egypt and are traveling in luxury in a private train. This amuses us.

“We’d like to rent a train?”

“Oh, don’t mind the imposing figure of doom in all black.”

“He’s with us.”

“The mask and robes in unbelievably hot weather?”

“He’s a leper.”

“Yeah. A leper.”

“We travel in high class with lepers. What’s your point? You have something against reaching out to the less fortunate?”

On board, Alex meets Anck-su-namun, who is expository and creepy at the poor boy, and apparently taking direction from the sleazy curator. Hey, who’s the reincarnated love muffin around here anyway?

They send Alex off with the dark, menacing guy to chat with Imhotep and he is carted bodily away as the three stooges enter the train compartment to talk to Anck-su-namun and the sleazy curator. They appear to have increased in skill, if not in brains. Jumpy is jumpier, Bully is bully-er.. and Lunkhead hasn’t said anything yet but we have faith in trends. The three of them are here to extort further money from everyone in return for something they were sent to retrieve and actually managed to get their grubby fingers on.

Those of you here from the first movie will recognize the object as containing some funerary jars that are indeed just as cursed as Jumpy claims they are. We can safely assume, at this point, that the three stooges are going to meet an unhappy and messy end in the very near future.

Further back in the train, Alex is shoved into a carriage with torches on the walls and a tall figured garbed impressively in black robes and wearing a mask. Tall, dark and menacing kneels and Alex looks scared… for all of about a minute. Then he’s all cocky and kid-like and really losing his endearing qualities. I don’t know about you, but after all he’s been through, I’d be a little less mouthy and a lot more cooperative.

For the record, Imhotep also has a sexy, sexy voice, although it loses something from behind a mask. It also loses something when he switches to English. How many ‘Teach Yourself’ tapes did he have sealed in that glass with him?

It’s Imhotep’s turn for exposition, explaining to little Alex that putting on the bracelet will not only allow him to find the oasis for them, but that if he doesn’t get to the pyramid in the center of the oasis before the sun strikes it on the seventh day, he dies. Imhotep produces a snazzy hourglass that will supposedly run out of sand at the end of Alex’s time. We doubt that it’s large enough for that, but it’s pretty.

Report card grade – Props subcategory ‘Hourglass’– B

Now, this is the 1930s. How do you get from England to several odd and unspecified points in Egypt and then deep into uncharted and unexplored territory in only seven days? They aren’t even to the first mystical checkpoint yet and they only have five days to go. Add to that the fun and games of lugging a large supply of disposable henchmen and that totally inconspicuous Leper Goth.

I think our disbelief is starting to lose feeling in its extremities from all the hanging.

Report card grade – Space Time Continuum – C-

Alex, in a fit of idiotic bravado, tells Imhotep that Rick will kick his ass. Imhotep removes his mask and says that he doesn’t think so. Alex, understandably, freaks.

Score:

Mouthy British Schoolboy – 0
Imhotep – 2

Alex is hauled away as Anck-su-namun arrives, three stooges in tow. She shows them into the same car, telling them that here they’ll find their just rewards. Somehow, the box they brought with them, which Jumpy stated quite accurately is cursed, made it into the car before them.

Never trust anyone when you’re evil. Even other evil people. Especially other evil people. The stooges die predictably and in a humiliating manner that nicely reflects the first movie only in extreme fast forward. Their deaths do serve a purpose, as they make Imhotep all shiny and sexy again.

This only distracts from the necrophilia. It doesn’t make it right.

The Heroic Trio have apparently driven to Egypt arriving just on the heels of the Evil Horde without any kind of cultish schedule or connections or funding. Although, judging by the house they live in back in England, Evey must be loaded. Grave-robbing must be a very profitable sideline, although from the looks of the house I doubt she ever actually sells anything.

Here, Rick introduces Evey and Jonathan to a friend of his named Izzy. Izzy demonstrates remarkable foresight by screaming and running away and then slamming his door directly in Rick’s face. Jonathan has brought the Scepter of Osiris with them, much as a small child would bring a particularly loved teddy bear and Rick has to wrest it from him in order to get him to help carry the bags.

Well, help being a relative term. Jonathan gets to carry all the bags. Perhaps you can see why he clings to the scepter instead of to his sister.

There has been no mention at any type of informing anyone in authority of Alex’s kidnapping. This is perhaps unsurprising when one views the way his parents do things. The trend of breaking and entering into other people’s homes, businesses, and resting places is continued as Rick shoots his way into Izzy’s open-air abode. With friends like these, we’d scream and lock them out, too.

Rick manages to corner Izzy and a great many scandalous details of their mutual past come out, much to Evey’s interest and speculation. We didn’t really need to hear about the bit with the waxing of body parts and the surfboard, however. Thank you. That and bullets lodging in Izzy’s posterior whenever Rick’s about. It makes you wonder what Rick did before joining the Foreign Legion – other than rob banks.

Strangely, the only thing Evey seems inclined to hold against him is the passing mention of a belly dancer. Must be love.

As a deal is struck, involving a large sum of money and the Scepter of Osiris, Ardeth arrives with a small squad of Med-jai, all on horseback and clad in flowing black. Ardeth saunters over in a sexy, sexy way, a hawk on his arm, and explains that he’ll be coming along for the ride. He also introduces his bird, Horus as his ‘best and most clever friend’.

The boy needs to get out more often.

We’re also disappointed in him for not choosing a somewhat less derivative name.

The Med-jai take one look at the O’Connell’s mode of transportation and take off on their horses with a derisive “Well, fuck that.” It appears that Izzy has traded the airplane Rick was expecting for the hulk of a sailing vessel and attached a large, mushroom-shaped, awkward balloon. He calls it a dirigible. Rick offers to shoot him in the ass. Izzy protests that it’s a very fast dirigible.

Fast and dirigible aren’t really words you expect to hear in the same sentence, frankly.

Whatever happened to camels? Or to the horses that the Med-jai seem to have in abundance? Take a boat? Hell, why not catch a train? It worked for the forces of evil!

There is a gratuitous pyramid shot as they take off, just in case the audience missed the fact that they are, in fact, in Egypt. Unfortunately, they are flying past the sunset… heading north. Karnak is far, far to the south.

Report card grade – Basic Direction Sense – F

They fly through the night and Ardeth is again expository and informative in a sexy, sexy way, although unfortunately cheesy in his choice of metaphors. Jonathan steals the scepter back… and Izzy steals it back again. Rick and Evey angst sadly over the loss of their son and take turns quietly and believably shoring each other up as they sail dramatically above the desert and against the stars.

The train steams merrily onward, dawn breaking behind it and causing a dramatic silhouette. Red turbaned men stand atop the train as it goes, guarding their dark lord and his captive –

Alex: Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

If I was being held captive by a bunch of henchmen with a liking for sharp objects and undead curses I would not be trying quite so hard to make a nuisance of myself. Alex has taken it upon himself to drive his captor into a knife-wielding, murderous, frothing rage.

Just adorable, really.

Imhotep and Anck-sa-numun get all close and cozy and, now that Imhotep has gotten himself pulled together, so to speak, he’s really quite the looker in an evil, evil way.

Alex asks to go to the loo, makes the guard leave him in peace, wrenches up the toilet, pulls the emergency brake and makes a somewhat noisome exit from the train. A resourceful kid, if not that bright.

You start to feel sorry for the dark and menacing man. Being in charge of Alex is something like inadvertently starring in your own special version of the ‘Ransom of Red Chief’… in hell.

The roof-mounted guards blaze away at the fleeing child till Imhotep sends them flying, and a question occurs to me. Why do they have to keep Alex alive? Can’t they just kill him, take the armlet and put it on someone else? Or does it only reset to ‘wild visions that will lead to your DOOM’ every few centuries or so? It’s a question, like that of exactly where the hell Rick got his tattoo in the first place as well as his knowledge of those nifty catch-phrases, which will go forever unanswered – wwhich we’re strangely okay with, considering the length of this review.

Alex, being impulsive and forgetting the whole ‘bracelet will kill you’ ploy, tries to escape into the harsh and unforgiving… temple that they were heading straight for in the first place. Karnak is apparently deserted when the forces of evil arrive, which is odd considering the fact that it was a tourist spot of sorts in the 1930s. We’re sort of surprised that Imhotep and company didn’t trip over a party of picnickers.

“Oh, excuse us. We’ll just chain this small child here and be on our way.”

“Look, dear. There’s an authentic Egyptian Leper!”

“No, silly, check the guidebook! That’s a cursed and undead mummy!”

“Think he’ll pose for a photo?”

Anyway, the kid races into the ruins and is treated to yet another version of ‘virtual roller coaster tour of Egypt’s hot nightspots circa several thousand years before the Birth of Christ’.

This all occurs right over a reflecting pool which Imhotep strolls right across the top of, being evil and domineering and thus giving Ardeth a run for his money in the Egyptian Hottest Mythic Figure in Black contest.

Imhotep then picks Alex up off the ground, sweeping him into the air with an elegant gesture of one black-gloved hand. Apparently, his telekinesis is selective. You’d think he’d have simply stopped Alex cold when the kid first made a run for it, but no, he had to stop and smash his misguided henchmen together in mid-air, thus ticking off another box in his ‘yep, I’m evil’ list.

Back to the dirigible and another sunset, and now our heroes are heading west. At this rate, they’ll be halfway across the Sahara by the time Alex gets shriveled dead by the Bracelet o’ Doom.

Ardeth picks up his conversation with Rick from waaay back at the museum involving destiny, catch-phrases and mysterious childhood tattoos and still nothing is explained. Ardeth attempts to be metaphysical and Rick refuses to go into it. Accepting defeat gracefully, Ardeth complies and they’re reduced to discussing Imhotep.

If you’re a Buffy fan, imagine Ardeth as Giles and Rick as a recalcitrant Slayer.

While this is going on, Evey is staring into the clouds and has another flashback/hallucination, one that is apparently prompted by Imhotep. Our friend the sexy, mostly-naked Mummy is attempting to gently prod Anck-su-namun’s memory, to reawaken her soul in her body, and both women go along for the ride.

Why is again never explained.

We flash back to the past, wherein a pair of young ladies in gold masks and bikinis with sheer little skirts are fighting with extremely anachronistic weapons and gratuitously throwing each other around for the amusement of Pharaoh and his court against a very expensive looking golden set. Imhotep is standing at the Pharaoh’s right hand and looking very pleased. The young ladies remove their masks, revealing Evey and Anck-su-namun. Evey as the one who has just had her ass publicly handed to her in this little display of everything but actual fighting.

They continue to fight, going through a great many idiotic weapons and moves that, frankly, mostly naked young ladies lacking heavy muscle definition really shouldn’t be indulging in. This entire sequence is probably to help balance out the amazing amount of time that Imhotep spends swanning around in a loincloth.

Imhotep, by the way, has an extremely sexy stretch of inner thigh. Mmmmm.

P.S. Anck-su-namun needs to not wear gold lipstick. I don’t care if the plot calls for it, it’s just tacky.

Past Evey loses the fight to Anck-su-namun and it turns out that the entire thing was a competition in which the winner gets to be the Pharaoh’s bodyguard and the loser gets to guard the Bracelet of Anubis. Now we know why Evey had that terribly convenient flashback but not why she remembered everything except the fact that she’d need water wings to retrieve it.

As the Pharaoh pets past Evey fondly, telling everyone how proud he is of his daughter, Anck-su-namun and Imhotep share a charged, forbidden glance which only Past Evey sees over her father’s soon-to-be-murdered shoulder.

The rest of the flashback is mostly recycled footage from the flashback in ‘The Mummy’, and yet more balcony scenes wherein Anck-su-namun and Imhotep kill the Pharaoh and Anck-su-namun takes the blame and commits suicide, relying on Imhotep to steal her body and resurrect her.

Well, if he’d succeeded, he wouldn’t have been buried under the City of the Dead with a curse on him, would he?

Past Evey saw the entire thing and if she didn’t hate them for stealing her son, she has a whole new reason to wish them to the pits of hell. Overcome by it all, attempting to lunge to her father’s aid, present Evey falls over the side of the dirigible. Luckily, Rick makes a fast lunge, as do Jonathan and Ardeth. Evey ends up upside down, Rick clenching her ankle, as he in turn is grabbed by Jonathan and Ardeth and they’re all hanging merrily off the edge of the ship.

The flashback plays itself out and Anck-su-namun relives her suicide. As Imhotep chants out of the Book of the Dead, a dark shade rises from the reflecting pool and sinks into her. It is unclear if this makes her Anck-su-namun all the way through or just a skank possessed. The undead and sort-of-not-dead-anymore lovers exchange a passionate look.

And in the dirigible, everyone plays ‘Preordained Life Role’ connect-the-dots. Evey explains it all to the boys Ardeth points out how it all makes perfect sense.

Rick: She’s a reincarnated princess and I’m a warrior for God?
Ardeth: And your son leads the way to Ahm Shere. Three sides of the pyramid. This was all pre-ordained thousands of years ago.

Uh, Ardeth? A pyramid is a three dimensional shape… and it has four sides.

Report card grade – Geometry – C

Evey: And how does the story end?
Ardeth: Only the journey is written, not the destination.
Rick *mutters*: Convenient.

The metaphysical conversation continues and Rick remains skeptical.

“There is a fine line between coincidence and fate.”

Ardeth, no. You’ve spent too much time in the sun in those heavy black clothes, that must be it.

Cut scene to the desert and an encampment of the minions of evil. Little Alex has been practically chained to a stake by one ankle and left more or less to his own devices. He’s not learned anything more about how to interact with his captors and continues to smart off, secure in the knowledge that tall, dark and menacing can’t actually kill him.

Too bad this movie is only PG-13. There are LOTS of things you can do to someone without actually killing them.

He’s also kicking sand at a statue of a god and with the number of pissed off deities in this movie already topping off the safety level with one, you’d think he’d be a little more circumspect.

At any rate, Alex uses his water ration to make an amazingly accurate sand replica of where they’re going next, conveniently recreating the current, modern scene instead of the ancient one shown him in his vision, and then manages to hide it from the villains when they leave.

We’d like to take this time to point out that all they’re really doing is following the Nile. Not that difficult, it’s the Nile after all. It does, however, beg the question of why they didn’t just rent a boat and have done with it.

Our heroes find the abandoned train, complete with still-running hourglass… Now why would the forces of evil abandon a perfectly good train? They’ll lose their deposit and everything! I suppose the forces of evil simply aren’t terribly fiscally responsible.

In the ruins, Evey amazingly stumbles across the exact place where Alex was held captive, marked by his tie and the equally amazingly accurate and razor-edged sand model of the Temple at Philae. Man, I know professional sculptors who couldn’t manage that with only a bit of damp sand to work with.

Fade to Philae, where Alex has left his jacket to cover a tiny model of the temple of Abu Simbel. If this goes on much longer, he’ll be naked. Ardeth sends Horus off with yet another message to the Med-jai who have spent their time since the initial departure in the dirigible by drumming up their mighty ‘can’t defend Hamunaptra worth a damn’ armies to fight the Armies of Anubis once our heroes find out where they are.

Fade to Abu Simbel where we get to see Horus flying away with yet another message.

Fade to somewhere out in the desert and a train of camels with riders dressed in black (to make a change from all the red, I suppose). Imhotep is wearing a scarf over his head and robes over his attractive, loincloth-clad self… while Anck-su-namun has no hat, no facial protection and is wearing a dress with plunging décolletage. Mm. Heat stroke, dehydration or heat prostration anyone? Bets? Alex is perched on the back of a camel, hands bound, reading a book in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt with his shirt open at the neck and no hat. See above comments. He looks freakily calm. Really, Imhotep is the only one dressed even remotely appropriately for this trek, although tall, dark and menacing is wearing a scarf over his face.

Tall, dark and menacing spots Horus and thinks obviously dark thoughts.

Meanwhile, the Med-jai horde is somewhat spectacularly on the move. You know I very much doubt you could move an army of that size along the Nile and not have somebody notice.

Report card grade – Logistics – D

We are treated to a lovely, panoramic view of the Blue Nile and the high cliffs that it runs between. There is the dirigible and there, below, is Imhotep, standing waist deep in the water – looking up at it. Whoops.

Alex is quietly hiding behind a rock, constructing yet another little sand guide, this time nothing quite so elaborate, when tall, dark and menacing catches him at it. Imhotep tells him to put the boy down and he does so, grudgingly.

Here is an object lesson in why it never pays to piss off the immortal undead. Imhotep raises his hands and brings forth a huge wall of water which he then sends smashing down the channel of rock toward the dirigible and our merry band of heroes. There is much panic and chaos as Imhotep’s face forms in the wave, much as it did in a tornado of sand in the first movie, and attempts to swallow them whole.

We have decided that Imhotep has an oral fixation of some kind.

Luckily, Izzy installed nitrous oxide afterburners in his dirigible and they shoot forward at many, many miles per hour and safely out of harm’s way.

No, we’re not kidding. Sorry.

They end up sailing out from between the cliffs and into a jungle full of waterfalls, squealing monkeys and exotic bird calls. Fortuitous, that.

Izzy: Is there a little something you forgot to mention?

Well, Izzy, I don’t think you would have believed them if they’d said that, yes, there’s an undead sorcerer among the kidnappers.

Rick produces a telescope and spots the golden pyramid with the huge, winking diamond that Alex had been chattering to Jonathan about outside the museum, just as the giant wall of water catches up with them again and batters them down into the trackless depths of the ‘oasis’/jungle.

Imhotep, wearing a look of grim triumph and a wet loincloth, stalks out of the now nearly empty riverbed. Alex is traumatized and Imhotep pats him on the head on his way past, thus adding insult to injury. Yet another hatchmark for his ‘yep, I’m evil’ score card. Oh, and he’s got really nice thighs – so we don’t care.

Cut back to our crashed heroes in the jungle. Izzy is having an absolute fit as Rick expects him to re-inflate the bag for the dirigible and doesn’t understand how difficult that is as it doesn’t use hot air, but gas – especially as the thing is still burning and sending up sparks.

Izzy: Where am I gonna get gas from around here, huh? Bananas? Magos? Tarzan’s ass?

Note: Not an anachronism, as Tarzan’s copyright is 1914.

Report card grade – Timely Historical/Pop Culture Reference – A

The banter and smart remarks in this movie are pretty damn priceless overall.

Jonathan takes the opportunity provided by the crash and Izzy’s cat fit to steal the Scepter of Osiris again and hide it in his jacket. Ardeth writes out an update and attaches it to Horus’ leg. Horus rises into the air, wings away, and is shot dead by the waiting tall, dark and menacing man.

Ouch.

Ardeth is tragically distraught, calling after Horus (because birds respond so well to yelling) and leaps into action in a sexy, sexy fashion. He must part with our heroes and carry the news of the location of the pyramid and the oasis to the waiting Med-jai army. Rick convinces him to hang around long enough to find Alex first because Ardeth is very honorable – in a sexy, understated manner.

Cut scene to night and the full moon has risen over the scenic jungle vista with its myriad waterfalls and it is ominously silent save for the occasional call of a nightbird and… crickets? Into this darkness, cleverly decorated with skulls on pikes, a giant, makeshift cage and bits of Roman insignia and even one of Napoleon’s Eagles, come the forces of evil – once again clad in red so that we can see them better in the light of the torches which they bear. Besides, black is so two scenes ago.

Report card grade – Set Dressing – A

Imhotep remains nicely unconcerned while his men freak themselves out at the scenes of carnage and impalement, and Alex doesn’t look any too happy either. Tall, dark and menacing draws a weapon and wafts along through the undergrowth looking grim. It’s a good look for him.

Above them, perched on a ledge in the rock, Ardeth, Rick, and Evey are gearing up for battle. Rick points out suddenly that the entire jungle has gone silent. The calls of the night birds have ceased entirely. Jonathan, meanwhile, has discovered a little crevice in the rock chock full of shrunken heads. Interestingly, his first reaction is ‘Say chaps! Look at this! Shrunken heads. I’d love to know how they do that.’ Mine would have been ‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH we’re all going to DIIIiiiiieeeeeee’! Well, that or, ‘Umm, shrunken heads? Seven days down the Nile? Noooo, I don’t think so.’

It turns out, somewhat astonishingly, that Jonathan is a crack shot… and that Ardeth is really morbid, in a sexy, sexy way. Well, not that that second bit is particularly astonishing. Rick and Evey bond over shooting tips in a dark and loving fashion. Ardeth and Rick then go gallivanting off into the undergrowth in search of Alex while Jonathan and Evey stay above to provide cover.

It’s all rather heart-warming in an about-to-be-bloodthirsty sort of way. Nothing like sniping some evil kidnappers to strengthen the bonds of love.

As Imhotep’s minions march through the jungle, there are low, ominous noises from the undergrowth and we get the dark feeling that someone or something is watching. Alex is still smarting off a bit and, further up the column, tall, dark and menacing finally gets permission to slit his adorably precocious little throat.

We’re with him on this one, frankly.

Imhotep pauses the column as there comes a rumble of thunder and a rush of wind. Sleazy curator guy points out the obvious by muttering darkly, “Something is coming.” Quite the understatement there, methinks.

Didn’t we see this scene in ‘The Lost World’?

Behind them, Ardeth and Rick go racing madly through the darkened jungle, passing the now-familiar landmarks of heads on pikes etc, etc, Ardeth’s hair blowing sexily in the growing wind.

The evil red shirts start disappearing, dragged down into the shoulder high undergrowth with dark screams. To make a long story short, freaky undead, knee-high, in-the-wrong-geographical-locale pygmies with razor-sharp teeth slaughter everyone. Really. It’s almost cute, in a disturbing way. Tall, dark and menacing doesn’t seem to care that his compatriots are dying horribly. He’s completely fixated on finally getting a chance to slice Alex up in revenge for all those premature white hairs.

Imhotep and Anck-su-namun walk right through it (with a brief stop to retrieve the Book of the Dead from a corpse), without a care in the world, callously leaving their minions to their fate. The pygmies seem mysteriously intimidated by Imhotep’s rampant sexiness. The only one to make it out of the jungle in their wake is the sleazy curator guy.

With everyone trying desperately to defend themselves from the pygmies, Ardeth and Rick make it right into the center of the baddies without too much difficulty – which is sort of a complete contradiction. You’d think the baddies would be blazing away at everything that moved. Jonathan and Evey prove themselves remarkable snipers… in the dark, no less.

Rick rescues Alex and Ardeth has a sexy, sexy battle with tall, dark and menacing – with somewhat predictable results. There never is any explanation as to their shared, dark past. We’ll let you fill in the appropriate subtext.

There’s a lovely scene wherein fleeing red shirts end up in quick sand and the undead pygmies race across by leaping from one head to the next. The last pygmy takes great pleasure in jumping up and down on each head till they all sink.

Ardeth’s life is saved by Jonathan’s sniping, something that our sexy man will never, ever manage to live down. Everyone meets up, except Ardeth who presumably made it out to meet up with the Med-jai and didn’t actually become pygmy fodder or commit ritual suicide over the ignominy of owing Jonathan his life. Evey embraces Alex and Jonathan demands, “What were those creepy little pygmy things?”

Rick: Just the local natives.
Jonathan *suspiciously*: Are you sure?
Rick *brightly*: I’m sure. It was nothing.

This is when Alex gets to break the news that he has to get inside the pyramid before the sun hits it and the pygmies arrive en masse to break up the awkward pause. Handy, that.

Ardeth (as previously mentioned) has presumably buggered off back to summon the Med-jai and Alex, Rick and Evey go pelting off. Unfortunately, they lose Jonathan in the confusion and he ends up fleeing alongside the red shirt who was hurling knives at Rick back in his own bedroom. They reach a place surrounded by stones and Jonathan declares, somewhat hysterically, that they’ve reached a sacred burial ground and are safe, as the pygmies won’t cross the line of sacred stones. There is no indication as to when and where he received his expertise on pygmy mythology, particularly in light of his ignorance on the whole shrunken head thing.

Redshirt: You are sure?
Jonathan: Yes, of course I’m sure!

Scarily, he seems to be right. After that, a pygmy trots happily down the path, vaults into the burial ground, and attacks, leaving Jonathan to utter the most perfect scream of terror in all horror movie history. He ducks and the red shirt catches the pygmy, pole first, in the chest. Jonathan screams again, scaring the pygmy into a tree and, pausing for a breathless apology to the red shirt who got speared, flees.

If there is anyone in the viewing audience that doesn’t love Jonathan at this point, raise your hand so we can feed you to the pygmies and move on.

Jonathan eventually catches up with the rest of the family as they flee across a ravine spanned by a giant tree trunk.

Rick pulls out a stick of dynamite and lights it, throwing it past Jonathan as he rockets past. It is caught by a pygmy, there is a brief fight for possession of it, and then they all start forward… only to have it blow up halfway and take down the tree and everyone on it in blatant defiance of the laws of physics.

Didn’t see that one coming… nosireebob.

Right about now, the sun decides to rise and everyone resumes fleeing toward the distant pyramid. Rick eventually picks up Alex bodily and speeds off, leaving Evey and Jonathan to struggle in his wake. Rick bearing the handicap of heavy kid versus the Rays of the Sun, races manfully onward. As the sun rises, they end up collapsed inside the pyramid, and the bracelet comes off. Alex immediately scoops it up and hurls it as hard as he can – the smartest thing he’s done so far.

Jonathan and Evey pick that moment to stagger out of the underbrush, happy and relieved… and Anck-su-namun walks up behind them and stabs Evey. Please note, no blood. Imhotep picks up Jonathan and hurls him off to the side, somewhat anti-climactically. Anck-su-namun goes off in Imhotep’s melodramatic wake, waving good-bye with the hand holding the Book of the Dead.

Evey dies.

There’s really nothing funny about it. Rick clings to her and sends Alex just out of sight with Jonathan and it’s desperately sad, a tad melodramatic perhaps, but mostly tragic. Rick’s reaction is very real and strangely out of place in its believability.

Don’t worry, this single moment of seriousness will soon pass.

Sleazy curator guy finds the bracelet and gathers it up while everyone’s distracted by Evey’s death. Clutching it in his hot little hands, he descends into the pyramid. We’re not clear on why he thinks this is a good idea. Perhaps it has a secondary, contact curse of stupidity.

Elsewhere, in a gigantic room with suspiciously already-lit torches, Imhotep and Anck-su-namun make a grand, sweeping entrance. Moving down a long set of stairs, Imhotep steps on a carven block at the bottom, a scorpion with wings, no less, and is immediately beset by swirling black somethingorothers. They rip a shiny thing out of him and take off, leaving him powerless and more or less human. We think.

Anck-su-namun, unsurprisingly, doesn’t look too happy about this.

Back outside, Rick finishes weeping and tells Alex and Jonathan to stay there as he grimly sets forth into the pyramid.

The sleazy curator has apparently learned nothing at all about curses over the course of this movie and has donned the Bracelet o’ DOOOOM. He comes upon a room full of scorpions or scarabs, we’re not quite sure, rudely disturbed from whatever scarabs and scorpions do in abandoned temples for thousands of years. He brandishes his arm to clear himself a path. They skitter away, leaving him to stare at the huge statue of a scorpion that’s really very tacky. There’s a hole right in the center of the body and, being a total idiot, he takes the arm with the bracelet and sticks it in the hole.

There’s a ‘chunk’ noise and the entire room turns gold. Apparently the hole is full of magic paint. It’s an effect that spreads throughout the pyramid, past Rick and outside. Alex and Jonathan glance up to see a huge, scorpion shadow race over them and up to the diamond atop the pyramid. Out in the desert beyond the oasis, a similar shadow, this one much larger, advances menacingly across the sand. It slowly loses its definition as it approaches the advancing army of the Med-jai, appearing to be comprised of millions of shadowy scorpions.

As Ardeth leads his men to the edge of the shadow –

We pause to wonder where the hell the desert is, because between the cliffs and the jungle there ain’t much room left for all that desert and it can’t be that far away if Ardeth reached them so fast. Well, either that or the shadow-thing is on an autopilot to find the nearest army and kick its ass for breakfast.

Though you have to think about how Anubis feels about his army fighting the descendants of the holy warriors. Mythology screams in torment once more.

Osiris: Son, remember that thing about your armies that you handed off…?
Anubis: *head in hands* Dad, I’m sorry. Trust me, you have no idea.

We switch back to outside the pyramid again where a choked-up Jonathan is attempting to console a weeping Alex, punctuating his speech with sweeps of the scepter that he’s still toting around.

Jonathan: Try to think of it like this, Alex. She’s gone to a better place, you know, like it says in the good book.

Alex *head coming up sharply*: The book. That’s it.

So. Jonathan picks up Evey’s corpse and they both go haring off into the pyramid in search of the Book of the Dead. If you’re not worried by this turn of events, you should be.

Sleazy curator guy is still trapped by the statue into which he so foolishly thrust his arm and Rick discovers him there. Foolishly, he taunts Rick with the knowledge that he’s released the Army of Anubis – and the statue strips all the flesh off his arm.

Moral of sticking your hands in weird, cursed places. It tends to get bitten off.

Rick makes a disgusted, amused noise and moves on in search of Imhotep.

Imhotep, meanwhile, has removed his flowing cloak and is going to meet his destiny clad only in a loincloth. Yum. Anck-su-namun attempts to talk him out of it, certain that he’s going to meet a horrible fate. He tells her that all she has to do is stand there with the book and wait because it’s their destiny. She denies it fiercely, tossing aside the Book of the Dead and grabs him for a passionate kiss, telling him that she can’t stand to lose him again. He returns the kiss for a moment before breaking away and darting off into the main chamber of the pyramid while she screams denial after him.

It’s a weird time for her to be having second thoughts as it really appeared that this was all her idea in the first place.

Meanwhile, Jonathan is protesting that someone needs to be able to read the hieroglyphics in order to make magic with the Book of the Dead, doubtlessly remembering his own difficulties with it in the last movie. Alex shows that he can read it, by deciphering an inscription on the wall that says ‘This way to the Scorpion King’.

Handy that.

Out in the desert, the menacing black shadow has become a menacing black mountain that smoothes out into a huge span of black sand out of which rise black, undead versions of the Anubis Warriors we saw back at the beginning of the movie. They look evil, the Med-jai look grim, everyone’s wearing a lot of black and the graphics are marrrrvelous.

Back inside, Jonathan swaggers up to Anck-su-namun and picks a fight. While she amuses herself by slapping him up, Alex nicks the book and attempts to read it. Poor Jonathan. He knows she’s going to kick his ass but does it anyway. It’s cute, really.

Elsewhere, in the flickering torchlight, to the sound of a clanging gong, Rick is pressing determinedly onward, the axe he stole from a handy statue at the ready. We are treated to a lovely view of Imhotep banging on a giant gong and a lovely shot of that stretch of inner thigh. We’re going to assume that the gong is to wake the Scorpion King, but we don’t care. Look at the thigh….

Rick goes racing forward, leaping a crack in the floor –

– which turns out to be full of the souls of the damned, that crack leading straight downward to hell.

As he lands on the other side, the room shakes, there is a menacing howl and both he and Imhotep ignore it as Rick advances on him with the axe. They tussle and both lose their weapons. Rick manages to land a punch and it actually connects, leaving a small streak of blood from Imhotep’s lip. That’s a first, you can see Rick thinking. Last time I hit this guy, I nearly broke my knuckles and he laughed. Imhotep, for his part, seems determined to bludgeon Rick into submission with excess verbiage and dark utterances of intent.

Imhotep assumes that Rick wants to kill him and kill the Scorpion King in his place. Either he forgot about that whole killing Evey thing or he really has his priorities… right where his priorities would be. Being evil and all.

If you’re waiting for an explanation as to the crack full of damned souls? There isn’t one.

Back out in the desert, Ardeth is riding dramatically to and fro past the massed ranks of the Med-jai, watching and waiting for an attack by the Anubis Warriors. He doesn’t have long to wait. Stalking forward on oddly jointed legs (and oh how we love the feet) they advance.

Imhotep, despite being mortal and all, proceeds to smack Rick up right handily.

Again in the desert, Ardeth exhorts his troops as does the leader of the Anubis warriors. Oh, this is a nice part in the movie. Words can’t really approximate. On one side, you’ve got tattooed horsemen in dramatic dark robes, bearing swords. On the other, rather refined and bipedal versions of the Egyptian idea of a hellhound – and they’re about to bring the pain.

Imhotep continues to smack Rick around and, in the next room, with some really truly, atrocious slow motion takes, Jonathan gets his ass honorably kicked in his attempt to keep Anck-su-namun distracted while little Alex resurrects his mother. He actually manages to land a punch and looks surprised and delighted, and we love him for it.

The Med-jai charge the Anubis Warriors, the Anubis Warriors charge back in a mass bit of beautiful computer animation and havoc ensues. Hordes of them. Did we mention the hordes? Because, you know, there are hordes.

Anck-su-namun pulls some weapons off a statue, again anachronistic, and we will stop to wonder just when the ancient Egyptians decided to make statues with detachable weaponry. They’re not action figures, guys. In an act of desperation, Jonathan pulls the Scepter of Osiris and shouts at Alex to hurry up. This is a mistake as it draws Anck-su-namun’s attention to the fact that they’re all up to something.

Alex, meanwhile is struggling with the incantation over his mother’s body. He appears to suffer no doubts or apprehensions on raising his mother from the dead.

We flash from the fight between Rick and Imhotep and yet more detachable weaponry to the battle on the desert and back in a fast montage of carnage and manly testosterone.

Alex, meanwhile, has hit a snag in the form of a symbol he can’t recognize, much shouting back and forth with his beleaguered uncle later, he comes up with the right symbol and pronunciation. Those who have seen the first movie will not only find this cute, but will already know the answer.

As Anck-su-namun turns earnestly to the job of kicking Jonathan’s ass, there is a flash of light and –

– we cut back to the testosterone laden battle scenes. Rick and Imhotep knock each other over and the Anubis Warriors leap into a partial retreat. Anck-su-namun is ready to administer the coup de grace and Evey is suddenly right there in her face.

New challenger! Readddddyyyy… FIGHT!

Jonathan is summarily sent off with Alex to help Rick as Evey squares off with Anck-su-namun.

Something very similar happens in the next room, as Imhotep and Rick are interrupted by the opening of a set of giant doors and the arrival of the Alien Queen a badly CGI’d half-scorpion half-man who is, apparently, the Scorpion King.

There is no explanation as to why Anubis would turn a perfectly adequate warrior (despite his abysmal taste in breastplates) into that. Whatever the reason, the Scorpion King isn’t exactly all that impressive unless you think about it as Reason Not to Sell Your Soul #593.

We can suppose that there wasn’t much left in the CGI budget after the Anubis Warriors were finished and hey, we’re okay with that. Unfortunately, the Scorpion King is as disappointing as they are impressive. It looks like they crammed a recognizable set of eyebrows and an equally recognizable sneer onto a rubber face and pasted it over an otherwise perfectly terrifying scorpion. I shudder to think what would have happened if the director had been slightly more accurate and had Scorpy boy bite the head off of a jackal or a scarab.

In a display of evil cleverness and complete cowardice, Imhotep drops to his knees and swears that he’s only here to serve the Scorpion King, but that Rick was sent to kill him! The Scorpion King lunges for Rick, leaving Imhotep to cackle softly over on stage right.

Rick is not a happy hero and takes swiftly to his heels.

Anck-su-namun and Evey square off in an erie echo of the remembered fight before Pharaoh’s throne and Rick’s bar brawling ways come to Evey’s rescue as she headbutts the other woman, who takes off running.

Sleazy curator wanders in at just the wrong moment to become a casualty of the Scorpion King and Imhotep ranks up yet another ‘yep, I’m evil’ hatch mark for his casual dismissal of sleazy curator guy’s pleas for help. Of course, it sounds like he’s shouting ‘Imitohep’, so maybe he wanted someone else’s help. Sorry, no Imitohep here. Try the next apocalypse over.

There is more carnage out in the desert and it looks as if the last of the Anubis Warriors have fallen. A great cheer breaks out… and Ardeth turns at the sound of a rumble before taking off at a dead run. His men follow him up the rise to discover that the army they’d been fighting was nothing in comparison to the horde now darkening the dunes as it sweeps toward them, intent on eradicating them from the face of the planet. Ardeth’s words, in Arabic, are a rather appropriate, “God help us.” But we do believe a modern translation of, “Oh, we are so screwed,” would not have been out of place.

We’ll leave them to that grim realization and go back to Rick, who is lurking in the shadows while the Scorpion King hunts for him and, lo and behold, he stumbles across a series of reliefs carved in the wall.

Let us take a moment to drive home the fact to you, our humble audience, for all of Rick’s charm, his witty dialogue, his Voice of Reason, and his role as a believable husband and father…. He needs a diagram to save the day. Literally. A diagram spelled out in life-size reliefs. Right beside him. Right there as he’s fighting the bad guy. It’s probably a good thing there weren’t captions. If there were heiroglyphics for him to read, they probably wouldn’t have been very polite.

So. When all else fails? Draw your hero a diagram. Helpfully picked out in gold is a symbol on the wrist of the man which matches Rick’s mystery tattoo. In his other hand, he is clutching Jonathan and Izzy’s much-beloved Scepter of Osiris which goes through an interesting transformation to become a spear… which is then helpfully embedded in the chest of the Scorpion King.

We really aren’t kidding and, for the sake of Rick’s dignity, we wish we were.

We will leave him to scream and dance and gesture at Jonathan while trying to get this fact across while dodging the Scorpion King and check in on the approaching carnage out in the desert. The Med-jai are looking weary and battle-stained and suicidally determined in that fatalistic, last-stand sort of way used by those the world over when they realize that they’re completely screwed at this point, no matter what.

Back again to Rick’s frantic game of ‘touched-you-last’ as Anck-su-namun and Evey bolt into the room. Rick’s suddenly much more determined to survive at the sight of his wife and while he tries to evade the Scorpion King suddenly everyone is fighting over the spear. Alex and Jonathon bond through mutual screaming.

There are numerous shots of the rampaging Anubis Warriors as they close with the Med-jai. In the interest of brevity (too late) I shall omit them. The despairing battle cry is worth mention, however. Nothing like attempting to bolster your spirits when facing off against endless undead hordes of a vengeful god with a rousing cheer of ‘’Til death!’

Which strikes one as both ironic and rather redundant.

Jonathan throws the spear (“I’m a professional!”) and Imhotep catches it. Easily. From only about six feet away. Rick is still fending off the Scorpion King as he is nearly castrated and Imhotep hurls the spear, intending to kill the Scorpion King and take control of the Army of Anubis (which is still rampaging dramatically across the sands). Rick leaps and catches the spear himself, turning and scrabbling for a footing above the Pit of the Damned ™ as the Scorpion King lunges and helpfully impales himself.

Imhotep rushes up to fall to one knee on the other side of the chasm, screaming ‘Nooooooooo!!1!!1’ dramatically.

The Scorpion King dies. The Anubis Warriors subside back into the sand from whence they came (much to the relief of the Med-jai) and all is well.

For about ten seconds.

Ardeth and company cheer with relief… well, it’s more of a shriek. A manly shriek. Well, more like a bellow. We’ll leave them to it.

A dark cloud of dust swirls out of the pyramid and overshadows all and we realize that our heroes probably have about two minutes to get the hell out, just as the shockwave hits.

Curse that crazy Egyptian architecture and its booby-traps.

Rick and Imhotep fall into the chasm and end up clinging to the edge. Rick tells Evey to save herself, Imhotep implores Anck-su-namun for help. Evey runs and pulls Rick out, at considerable risk to herself. Anck-su-namun runs away. Imhotep, betrayed by the woman he gave everything for, simply lets go, with tears in his eyes, and falls to (presumed) eternal damnation rather than live with the betrayal.

Relationships based on murder, death, extortion, and human sacrifice never last.

Rick and Evey manage to make it to Jonathan and Alex as the pyramid comes apart, having suddenly become a ground zero black hole. We’re not sure why.

Anck-su-namun meets a suitable end in a pit of scorpions … or scarabs. It’s not very clear. Whatever. The apocalypse-causing tramp deserved it. The entire jungle is being sucked into the pyramid as our four survivors climb rapidly and steadily toward the top – having nowhere else to go.

At the last minute, Izzy reappears with his miraculously repaired hot-air dirigible and hauls everyone to safety, although Jonathan risks life and limb to nick the giant diamond on his way up.

They sail happily off into the sunset, pausing only for a dramatic wave from Ardeth below them in the desert. Ardeth has apparently ditched his hordes for the companionship of his horse, which he will no doubt spend long hours regaling with drunken mourning stories of his dear falcon.

He really does need to get out more.

There insues an argument between Izzy and Jonathan over who should have custody of the diamond, as Izzy insists, correctly, that Jonathan stole and lost his scepter.

Dear old Jonathan, true to himself right to the last few moments of the movie.

The end.

Post-script: There is a music video to the theme song, readily available on the DVD. It is predictably complete as American pop-rock movie theme songs go, with movie snippets (some with the subtitles still in place), seemingly Egyptian-styled girls in scanty bikinis dancing in a decidedly non-Egyptian way, vaguely Egyptian sets, a lead singer in leather pants, a guitarist in a wheat field, and lots of presumably meaningful gazing.

We’d like to point out the cosmic irony of it all. The tune, “Forever May Not Be Long Enough,” is sung by a group called Live.

*bows* Thank you, and good night.

-Urban Amazon
– Truth

About Popcorn Mice

Hi. We're the Urban Amazon and her sidekick, Truth. This blog is dedicated to recap and commentary of various movies in a hopefully humorous fashion. Said movies are mostly of the horror/action/adventure/science fiction and fantasy genres, as that's where our interests lie. Our efforts will, hopefully, amuse and entertain.
This entry was posted in 2001, Because the Writers Flunked Freshman History and Never Looked Back, That's Why, Hot Serial, Sarcophagi a Go Go. Bookmark the permalink.

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