The Mummy (2 stars)

The Mummy

Tom Cruise fails to use any of his star power in this dull start to the Dark Universe

As hinted by Universal's pre-film logo, spinning around to reveal the words 'Dark Universe', The Mummy is the first in a planned series of monster movies, revamping the classic 1930s horror icons. The twist here is that the Mummy is female: Princess Ahmanet is played by Sofia Boutella, the Algerian-born actress who broke through in last year's Star Trek Beyond. Like that, she's the best thing on show, in a muddled horror which stars Tom Cruise, but fundamentally fails to use any of his star power.

Cruise plays Nick Morton, a US military reconnaissance soldier who is more interested in collecting artefacts for his own gain. A sojourn in the Middle East unveils an Egyptian tomb, with a casket containing the mummified Ahmanet, trapped there ever since she murdered her own father in pursuit of power. Accidentally releasing her, Nick is suddenly under her spell, as she tries to control him in the hope of unleashing the God of Death.

Cruise spends most of the film bewildered and befuddled; if you're a fan of his assured hero image, don't expect it here. Also on show is Peaky Blinders star Annabelle Wallis, as an antiquities expert (seemingly present just for Cruise to rescue at appropriate moments) and Russell Crowe, who has fun (even if we don't) as a very familiar character from the Universal horror canon.

Directed by Alex Kurtzman, who is best known for co-scripting JJ Abrams' Star Trek movie reboots, The Mummy is a turgid, calcified work. The chief issue here is that it's simply not scary, despite plenty of CGI ghouls that groan and stagger their way across the screen. There's a great aerial stunt early on, but even that isn't on a par with what Cruise managed in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Overall, it's a dreadful start to this Dull, sorry Dark, Universe.

General release from Fri 9 Jun.

The Mummy

  • 2 stars
  • 2017
  • US
  • 1h 50min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Alex Kurtzman
  • Cast: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari, Russell Crowe
  • UK release: 9 June 2017

US soldier Nick Morton (Cruise) is collecting artefacts in the Middle East when he accidentally releases the murderous, mummified Ahmanet (Boutella). Boutella’s the best thing in this first of Universal’s monster movie revamp series, Dark Universe. Based on this turgid and not at all scary effort, more like Dull Universe.