Film: The Mummy

Director: Alex Kurtzman

Cast: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella and Annabelle Wallis

If you are a fan of Tom Cruise, who is incidentally the biggest star of this planet even now, or the Mummy franchise, you would know what to expect from this film. And it is certainly not the languorous luminosity of Ritesh Batra's The Sense Of An Ending. Nor for that matter, the vacuous brazen 'bimboism' of Baywatch.

The truth about The Mummy lies somewhere in-between Captain Fantastic and Baywatch. It intellectualizes the cheap horror tricks of the Egyptian tombs erupting into a banshee of terror, but only to the point where the ghouls sucking the life out of their victims do not appear to be anything more than a grotesque manifestation of evil. For more, try hieroglyphics. Many parts of The Mummy, with the evil creatures rushing at striking speed for their victims' mouth for a suck truck, resemble the zombie 'B' movies from Hollywood with outstanding special affects to raise the bar.

Cruise, looking 30 at 50, still conveys the charisma and agility of a full-blown matinee idol who doesn't quite understand how to combat the forces that take control of his life. It's a one-note performance in a fun-note film. Not to be taken seriously, certainly not for its politics. Cruise and his entertaining partner-in-crime Jake Johnson play antique thieves who run into a scam far beyond their control. In the beginning, they are rescued from their roguish shenanigans in Iraq by American mercenary soldiers in a crackdown that can given the Pentagon nightmare for weeks. The one-line plot stretches into two hours of frenetic fun filled with self-deprecatory humour and a tongue-in-cheek reverence for the Mummy franchise which has over the years acquired the sustained silliness of a childish prank played on unsuspecting adults -- the kind that a Dubai television channel played on Shah Rukh Khan recently where he was trapped in a desert cavity and attacked by 'a adinosaur' which turned out be a man dressed in a fake animal suit. Well, ha ha to that. And ho ho to Tom Cruise's scary-only-if-you-believe-in-fairytale which slams a tenner in terms of tempo and tension. The chase scenes are excellent.

Cruise's two female co-stars are a sturdy, if somewhat shallow study in contrasts. While Annabelle Wallis is the proper almost asexual academician, and the fascinating Sofia Boutella is the yummy Mummy reborn to finish her unfinished mating business with Cruise. You really can't take this re-b(h)oot seriously. It's meant to be fun, pacey, exhilarating and finally gratuitous. Director Kurtzman preserves an even pace that flags only with the entry of the Russell Crowe character. But that's another story.