Released in the UK the same day another leader saw plans to increase her power and turn the world to her will falter, “The Mummy” suggests Universal’s “Dark Universe” gambit will meet a similarly ignominious fate. Again.

When solider-of-fortune Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) stumbles across an Egyptian tomb after an airstrike, he unwittingly releases the vengeful undead spirit of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) who seeks to be reunited with a magical gemstone, a gemstone which has just been uncovered by Crossrail tunnel workers in London.

Straight out of the gate, “The Mummy” has but one objective and it’s not to tell a compelling story about a creepy monster raised from an ancient Egyptian tomb. Burdened with resurrecting the ‘Dark Universe’ again after their previous attempt – “Dracula: Untold” – staked itself at the box office – it’s so busy doing that it utterly fails to do anything interesting whatsoever with its title character. There’s little dramatic tension in her relatively untroubled quest to get hold of a dagger and the mystical gemstone she needs and the role ultimately wastes the talents of Sofia Boutella.

There’s absolutely none of the fun and swashbuckling adventure of the 1999 Mummy film to be found in this blue-washed, drab shamble through the streets of London. The Rachel Weisz/ Brendan Fraser movie is responsible for the only genuinely fun moment in the movie though, as Hamunaptra’s Book of the Dead makes a fleeting and concussive appearance (half the score I’m giving this film is down to that one reminder of fun times past).

Megastar Tom Cruise utterly overpowers the movie, warping it into a dull ‘Mummification: Impossible’ knock-off. Sure, it ticks all the usual cruise boxes: running, getting wet, mid-life crisis commitment to performing own stunts but never once feels interesting. He achieves zero chemistry with his leading lady, archaeologist Jennifer Halsey (Annabelle Willis) and can’t even spark off a grandstanding, scenery-chewing turn from Russell Crowe as Dr Jekyll/ Mr Hyde and head of the ‘mysterious’ Prodigium. Really only Jake Johnson emerges with any credit from this boring bluewashed mistake of a movie.

The script is possibly one of the worst ever turned into a summer blockbuster. It sounds like the rough draft was raced straight to production, the interactions and dialogue are awkward and clumsy and even manages to repeat itself during the five-minute opening monologue. The special effects are pretty decent, of course, but you’ve seen all the good set-pieces in the trailers and the rest director Alex Kurtzman seems to have lifted directly from Tobe Hooper’s “Lifeforce”. Going in a more horror-tinged direction and getting a slightly harder certificate is a mistake too. The film doesn’t benefit from it and the only effect is to shut out a sizeable tweenage portion of the audience who might actually have enjoyed this dreary shlock.

It’s clear Universal aren’t following the Marvel model of building a shared universe and they’re even managing to undershoot the Warners/ DC approach. With one false start already under its belt and “The Mummy” underwhelming in every way that matters, I think it’s pretty clear we can expect the Dark Universe to be re-relaunched with 2019’s “Bride Of Frankenstein” although I struggle to believe that will turn out to be their “Wonder Woman”. Despite its naked shared universe ambitions, “The Mummy” doesn’t have a post-credits teaser scene. By the end, though, you’ll be wishing it didn’t have most of the pre-credits scenes either.

2/10

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