“At least it can’t get any worse than this,” exclaims Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) after accidentally awakening Emperor Han (Jet Li) from his millennia-long curse. He’s wrong, though, and in every way. In this third installment of The Mummy franchise, it can get worse. The contrived and ridiculous history of this “Dragon Emperor” contains murder, a love triangle, and magic spells. The majority of the narrative, however, is blatantly recycled from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. (Recycling’s great, but some things just need to be thrown out.) It follows the outline religiously, beginning with a recast Alex O’Connell (Luke Ford), Rick’s son, trying to make a name for himself separate from his father. They go so far as to find the fountain of youth and pour the water onto a wound on Rick’s belly — not unlike the holy water that cures Sean Connery’s remarkably similar injury in Indy.
This second Fraser of the summer is funny at times, though mostly unintentionally. The computer graphics need work, the harrowing flight through the Himalayas that’s been pumped in the trailer is no lengthier than a scene in the film and the sudden and unexpected Yeti cameo is bewildering. Jet Li’s moves look amazing, as always. Love interest Maria Bello gets annoying. This movie’s better left unwatched.