One of the more interesting of Dean R. Koontz’s creations is the clairvoyant short order cook, Odd Thomas. Now, Odd Thomas has been adapted for the big screen, starring Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) as the titular character. Directed by Stephen Sommers and with a supporting cast that includes Willem Dafoe (The Spider-man Trilogy, The Boondock Saints), Nico Tortorella The Following), Patton Oswalt (United States of Tara, Justified) and Gugu Mnatha-Raw (Doctor Who, Bonekickers, Undercovers), it’s almost certain to a quirky, fun horror flick.
Some movies you see because the trailers and the buzz are so good. With G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, I went because I wanted to see if the movie could possibly maintain the same laughable level as the trailers – and the buzz certainly suggested it would. It did.
The Rise of Cobra is the story of how Duke [Channing Tatum] and Ripcord [Marlon Wayans] become part of the G.I. Joe team. It’s also the story of how Duke’s ex-fiancée became the infamous Baroness [Sienna Miller] and hooked up with wannabe world conqueror McMullen [Christopher Eccleston]. It’s also the story of how Duke failed to save the life of the Baroness’ brother [Joseph Gordon-Levitt] – and the story of how McMullen plans to use nanomites to destroy the three most important cities in the world. It’s also the story of how Snake Eyes [Ray Park] and Storm Shadow and Shadow Storm became enemies. It’s also… Well, you get the idea.
The first two Mummy movies may not have been critical successes, but they did have an off-kilter charm that made them hits with the masses. As one member of those masses, I have to say that I did enjoy them, myself. So, why then, do I not care for the third instalment in the series?
Writer/director Stephen Sommers only produced this film. They recast Evelyn O’Connell – and Maria Bello ain’t Rachel Weisz, not by half. Luke Ford, who plays the O’Connell’s grown son, Alex, has the charisma of a box of Shreddies. Brendan Fraser, who threw himself into Journey to the Center of the Earth, seems to be going through the motions here. John Hannah’s exclamation, “I hate mummies! They never play fair!” is the height of the wit in this installment’s banter [you know you’re in trouble when Hannah has to force his dialogue…]. The action set pieces – and the CG, for that matter – have a been there/done that feel about them.
On the plus side of the ledger, we have Jet Li, whose energetic and charismatic villain might have been fun if he’d a script worthy of him; Michelle Yeoh, who manages to rise above the morass that is this film, as an immortal witch whose one true love was drawn and quartered by Li’s Dragon emperor, and Isabella Leong brings some badly needed spirit to the proceedings as Lin, the witch’s equally immortal daughter, who incomprehensibly develops a thing for Alex.
Despite director Rob Cohen’s best efforts, The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor galumphs along at a lacklustre pace for a would-be summer blockbuster. If it wasn’t for the performances by the key Asian actors, this would be a complete disaster. Thanks to them, there are enough bright spots to avoid an F.