Tom Raider

SFX - - Planet of the Apes Merchandise - Jim Blakey

Tom Cruise gets wrapped up in ad­ven­ture as the Dark Uni­verse se­ries kicks off.

RE­LEASED OUT NOW! 12A | 107 min­utes Di­rec­tor Alex Kurtz­man Cast Tom Cruise, Jake John­son, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wal­lis

“Death is a door­way,” reads the first line of the open­ing text for The Mummy – a con­cept that Vigo The Carpathian would cer­tainly ap­pre­ci­ate. For­tu­nately for the rest of us, this lat­est at­tempt to dust off the crea­ture’s en­ter­tain­ment value shares lit­tle else in com­mon with the much-ma­ligned Ghost­busters se­quel. This is, while flawed, an en­joy­able ad­ven­ture.

The Mummy has been through sev­eral big-screen vari­a­tions, from the clas­sic Uni­ver­sal hor­ror in which the fran­chise has its roots, to the at­tempt to give it an ad­ven­tur­ous, In­di­ana Jones-style makeover in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Di­rec­tor Alex Kurtz­man’s at­tempt to kick off a new “Dark Uni­verse” se­ries of con­nected mon­ster sto­ries hews closer to the lat­ter than the for­mer and is ul­ti­mately the bet­ter for it.

Tom Cruise is the hero here, but he’s in Edge Of Tomorrow mode as charm­ing but amoral trea­sure hunter Nick Mor­ton, who uses his mil­i­tary sta­tus as cover to col­lect an­tiq­ui­ties. With best pal Sergeant Vail (an agree­ably scruffy and sar­cas­tic Jake John­son), he stum­bles on some­thing even he can’t deal with: the tomb – ac­tu­ally, the pri­son – of an­cient Egyp­tian princess Ah­manet (Sofia Boutella), mum­mi­fied alive af­ter mak­ing a mur­der­ous pact with Set, the god of death, for power and im­mor­tal­ity. Once she’s un­leashed, it’s up to Nick and World Her­itage rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wal­lis) to stop her.

With its star happy to un­der­cut his heroic sta­tus once again (while still in­dulging in the sort of ac­tion he seems hap­pi­est per­form­ing), the rest of the film is your ba­sic big

Cruise is happy to un­der­cut his heroic sta­tus once again

sum­mer event movie with a few amus­ing quirks. Ah­manet, who’s charis­mat­i­cally brought to life by Boutella, has a de­cent back­story and some de­cent mo­ti­va­tion for why she does what she does, even if the ef­fects be­gin to swamp her at cer­tain points. The hor­ror el­e­ments are, mean­while, fit­fully ef­fec­tive, and for­tu­nately light on pre­dictable jump scares.

For a movie that’s tasked with pro­vid­ing the spark for a Mar­vel-style tapestry of films, it also man­ages to work in its own right. Even Rus­sell Crowe, here sad­dled with the Basil Ex­po­si­tion role as Dr Jekyll, gets to have fun when he turns into a Ray Win­stone-es­que Mr Hyde.

The seams show from time to time, but it rarely feels like The Mummy grinds to a halt to ser­vice the big­ger pic­ture. It won’t win any prizes for orig­i­nal­ity, but this is a plea­sur­able, di­vert­ing use of a well-worn idea.

Annabelle Wal­lis took her char­ac­ter’s ring home from the shoot. Well, it beats try­ing to get a sand dune into the house...

The new porch was not as homely as Tom had hoped.

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