Rachel Weisz quit The Mummy 3: Return of the Dragon Emperor not just to have her kid. Star of the first two dreadful Mummy flicks, she was pissed off at words like "franchise," "tie-in to Beijing Olympics," "vast Chinese market," and "Rob Cohen." Okay the last one's a doozy. Cohen has directed such hi art as Vin Diesel's XXX and The Fast and the Furious. He is on record as believing that films should be as loud and explosive as possible to appeal to the greater mass of dumbasses. And they should have commercial tie ins and franchise appeal. He's publicly excoriated Weisz and got Universal to seduce talented actress Maria Bello. Maria's got that indie cred but come on, having her play Weisz's character is like having Hill Harper and Ray Allen switch characters in He's Got Game. But Maria's gotta pay her rent, too, I guess. The Chinese government, film board and what they call private industry is actually helping promote this flick rather than banning it outright; it opens in Beijing first. Kinda smacks of the Berlin 36 Olympics pr job? The weirder part is that the film Hollywoodizes (sodomizes, whores?) themes, people and events in their history, from the Qin king's founding of the first dynasty and unification of China as an empire, to the construction of the first Great Wall, to the "terracotta army" every fool's seen in Discovery Channel and National Geographic specials, to...yeah...the Abominable Snowman. Lots of Snowmen. Of course, the latter, the yeti, is a Tibetan legend, but hey, as our President tells us, let's not allow stuff like Tibet, or the re-colonization of Africa and Darfur and gluttonous oil consumption and pollution and a continued Stalinist view of civil and political rights ruin the party. After all, without China's cheap goods and cheap borrowed money, our government and our economy would collapse. Then who'd uselessly patrol streets in Ramallah then and spend billions on contractors instead of fixing housing, health care and our own infrastructure?
The film sucks. Nuff said. I've seen press trailers. As an Xbox game or a theme park ride (hey, that's what this "product" is for) is okay. But ya know, sometimes what Kurt Russell (who was better in Big Trouble in Little China than a dozen Brendan Frasers) said about CGI in Death Proof (Grindhouse) is right. Too damn much of it. And the approach? Imagine if Tyler Perry had written the teleplay to Roots, or Jerry Bruckheimer decided to direct John Adams. Get the idea? Good, now mix in a lot of Indiana Jones rip-off and multiply the schlock and explosions by 100. Too often we allow ourselves to say things like "Hey don;t be a snob. These are summer fun movie romps. Fine--except there's the counterpoint of Spider Man I, or 2008's Iron Man, even The Hulk...and of course, The Dark Knight. Accordingly, exciting summer flicks don't have to be least common denominator floating turds enticing rednecks, suburban tools and bammas to the Multiplex. On top of that, China shows it's true colors to the world by promoting this fantasy (imagine if the UK & Ireland decided to adopt The Lord of the Rings as official history...then again the Scots did it with Braveheart and looked stupid doing it).
I won't bore you with a gloss of Jet Li's performance. If you want to see him in something awesome and historical about China, rent Hero. Brendan Fraser's been on my shit list since Dudley Doo Right.
But hey, Rob Cohen will be heralded in China the way the French still love Jerry Lewis and the Brits rightly lionize The Ramones. And isn't keeping those commie sons of bitches happy what's important? After all, we've mortgaged this country to them. What happens when they foreclose? EEEEEEW. Too much for many little brains to take. Like global warming. Easier to shut it down a la the way black folks consume street fiction, plunk down that $9.50. Moi, I'll be seeing Batman for the 7th time, and boycotting NBC's Olympics coverage (okay, I'll watch the boxing). Me, and Rachel Weisz. Alone in our good taste...