From the Chicago Reader (May 1, 1999). — J.R.
Not just a remake of the Boris Karloff-Karl Freund classic but an Indiana Jones spin-off with dollops of Jason and the Argonauts, George Romero’s zombie series, Land of the Pharaohs, Samson and Delilah, and even Apocalypse Now (Arnold Vosloo’s mummy bears a certain resemblance to Brando’s Kurtz). Writer-director Stephen Sommers does a pretty good job of zipping things along and occasionally scaring us, and the digital effects are fun; Brendan Fraser, John Hannah, and Jonathan Hyde do what they can with one-dimensional parts but tend to be outshone by the almost two-dimensional Rachel Weisz. Kevin J. O’Connor is mainly embarrassing as a conniving Arab, but then all the Arabs in this 1999 film, set during the 1920s, are accorded roughly the same respect, affection, and humanity as black people in The Birth of a Nation. Thanks to the example of Lucas-Spielberg, guiltless colonialism backed by endless gun power is still the name of the game. PG-13, 124 min. (JR)