The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is the third in the Mummy series to hit the big screen and the third to be a box office smash. This version retains its main star, Brendan Fraser, who plays Rick O'Connell, and the comedic sidekick of a brother-in-law, Jonathan, played by John Hannah. Playing a newer and updated version of Rick's wife, Evelyn, is Maria Bello. Rick's son, Alex, also has a new face, this time played by Luke Ford. The all-star cast is rounded out by Michelle Yeoh (Zi Juan, the double-crossing sorceress), martial arts expert Jet Li (Emperor Han, the Dragon Emperor), and Isabella Leong (Lin, Alex's love interest).
Take your stereotypical love story, your usual action story, and your B-rated horror movie (you know, like The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera) and toss them into a blender. Pour about five ounces over ice and you have The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Basically, the movie is a coming of age story mixed with a letting-go story topped with a good, old-fashioned, rip-roaring adventure story. From the start of the movie to the very end, the fast-paced action will keep you on the edge of your seat. The story plays out very well over the entire length of the film and very few parts feel slow or forced.
Quite frankly, Brendan Fraser does what he does in every movie, he steals the show. Even when he is fighting the Jet Li, Fraser still seems to be the most important character on the screen. While this might seem a bit much, he has such a large basket of emotions to draw from that it is not that overpowering; he just always is your focus. Director Rob Cohen uses this quality very well as he makes sure that Fraser is in the center of the shot often. Plus, he has more than his fair share of jokes, which keeps him seeming fluid and real.
The real joker of the story, however, is John Hannah. As in both of the other movies, he is more of a comic sidekick than a main character. I think that is an unfair place to put him, as he carries the dull moments on his back. Any time one of these movies starts to get dull (i.e. the entire second Mummy film) they give John the scene. He promptly gets the movie back on course and gets you back into the mood. While he might seem to be just a funny side note, he actually is quite important in the series and often gets to do the scary and dangerous tasks (like lighting the dynamite). Hannah's facial expressions and actions are perfect in this role as he plays the everyman; that is, he acts just like we would if we were in this situation.