Forget everything you know about the legendary mummy, because the titular character is not only changing genders but has a new purpose in life... I mean death.


Universal Studios, lagging behind Disney (Marvel Universe), Paramount (Hasbro) and Warner Bros (DC Comics) in terms of cash cow franchises decided to blow the dust off some old properties, reboot them and repackage them. The properties are the old legendary horror classics from the 1930s and 40s that we "old timers" grew up watching every Halloween. Dracula, Wolfman, The Mummie, Invisible Man, the Black Lagoon Creature, the opera Phantom, the Notre Dame Hunchback, Frankenstein and Mr Hyde are now all properties of Universal that they are now presenting as "Dark Universe".


Officially, this reboot of "The Mummy" is the first in the series after Universal scrapped the idea of making the 2014 flop "Dracula Untold" the series lead-off. If my research and rumors are correct, "The Bride of Frankenstein" is next with Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's monster; "The Invisible Man" with Johnny Depp, is slated soon thereafter. There is also a newer "Wolfman" getting ready for production, I don't think they will be bringing back Benicio Del Toro however. It will be a slow rollout with a lot hinging on the performance of this adaptation. And when I say adaptation, I really mean very liberal adaptation.

In the director's seat for only his second feature length film - and first film with special effects - is Alex Kurtzman. As we learn with "Iron Man" (2008) and director Jon Favreau, it is very important to nail the first in the franchise; like Jon did. It leads to billions of dollars of continued profits.


The good thing is that only $80 million was spent producing this film, presumably most of that going to it's high profile/high price talent. It might return a profit; maybe more. That high price talent includes Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe. The real draw is the very lovely Sofia Boutella (from "Star Trek Beyond" and "Kingsman: The Secret Service").


In a change, Boutella plays Ahmanet, an ancient Egyptian princess is thirst for power led her to whack her father, mother and baby brother then make a pact with the god of death, Set, for immortality etc, etc, etc. The plan backfires and she is captured, buried alive in a prison tomb and the key tossed away until someone finds it thousands of years later.

That key is in the for of a special dagger with a giant ruby in the hilt. It seems a knight from the Crusades found it and was buried with the ruby. This leaves a two part problem for Ahmanet 1) come back to life and 2) get that ruby back into the dagger so she can stab someone. All of her problems are solved when Nick Morton (Cruise) and his friend Chris (Jake Johnson) stumble across her tomb while treasure hunting in Iran. Um... I know... don't ask.


Digging up the tomb from its mercury pool unleashes Ahmanet's mental power and she quickly takes hold of Nick while also making sure that Chris becomes her undead slave. As a not so innocent bystander is archaeologist/researcher babe Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) who is working on a secret project with Dr Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) who wish to contain the evil power of Ahmanet.


Caught in the middle is Nick who is battling is sudden love for Jenny while trying to resist his evil love for Ahmanet. Never mind that if he lets the lovely Ahmanet stick him with the dagger, he will become a demigod and be able to cuddle with her for an eternity. Nope... he battles the evil.


This is wrapped around an feeble army of undead zombies (whom Ahmanet sucks the life from to rebuild her own strength) and a few equally feeble special effects. Jekyll in the mean time is battling his own issues of evil and not-so-evil. The story is about as disjointed as you can get with obvious questions let totally unanswered and cloaked in attempts at humor. Thankfully, Ahmanet's bandages are barely on her, otherwise they would be no reason to continue watching this film. However, Kurtzman doesn't showcase her athletic abilities demonstrated in her previous films.


Most of the characters remain poorly developed as if Kurtzman is demanding that you tune into the next episode to learn more. Crowe and Boutella are underused and Cruise can't steer this wayward chariot!


"The Mummy" is only as entertaining as the number of scenes in which the underused Sofia Boutella appears. For Tom Cruise, file this in the "oops" drawer!   -- GEOFF BURTON