Mummy Returns, The

Rated 2.0 The biggest disappointment of the year … so far. The Mummy Returns takes the quirky charm and camp heroics/villainy of the first entry and jacks the effects and action to such an absurd degree that the whole mess stands as a monument to bloated excess. This time around there is not one but two villains on hand (plus assorted sub-villains), some weird deal where it seems that everyone is the reincarnation of some ancient Egyptian entity, with the added dubious bonus of Brendan Fraser’s and Rachel Weisz’ characters now being married and saddled with that recurring curse of the blockbuster sequel, a "precocious" brat. Where leisure time could have been used to develop a little more than the already standing Cliff’s Notes back story of Im-ho-tep and his centuries-spanning lost love (thus earning the empathy and pathos for the character that in the end is taken for granted), the film instead chooses to jump straight into the action sequences. The filmmakers try to pack so much into this one flick that at one point there are no fewer than three duels-to-the-death occurring simultaneously. Add slathering gobs of substandard computer FX, and you have a mess as soulless and uninvolving as watching someone else play a video game for two and a half interminable hours. Re-wrap this mummy and return to sender.