Why wasn't this theatrical?
A Bell | 10/01/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Forget that shallow eye-candy, George-of-the-Jungle-starring-theatrical piece of fluff; "Tale of the Mummy" is the years best 'mummy' film!!! This has a truely original story, giving the mummy sub-genre a breath of fresh air. The acting is first rate, the script well-written and intelligent, and the special effects are the stuff nightmares are made of. This film is a must-own for anyone who collects genre films... and even for those who don't."
Underated British Horror, With A Twist!!!
A Bell | Pembrokeshire, Wales | 10/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being released at around the same time as Brendan Fraser's 'The Mummy' put this British offering at an imediate disadvantage. It might not have had the flashey special effects of it's mainstream Hollywood counterpart, but it was I felt superior in every other way. The digital morphing effects of the mummy wrapping were excellent, but some of the physical effects were a little disapointing. But in general the engaging storyline made up for this. Released in the UK as Talos The Mummy, it was out here before 'The Mummy' but went by mostly unnoticed, (not even being available to buy on DVD) and probably would have done no better in America if it had been released earlier. I, myself only rented it becasue I was a fan of Louise Lombard's earlier television appearance in the 1920's period drama 'The House Of Eliot'.For much of the film Jason Scott Lee did seem somewhat out of place, not really pulling off his attempts to make Riley the enigmatic character he seemed to want him to be. Jack Davenport giving a much more rounded preformance as Detective Bartone. Also, much better use could have been made of Honor Blackman as hard-nose Captain Shea. Though it's interesting, perhaps for the benefit of an American audience, that the American police ranking system is used for the chacters rather than the British one. The film benefited from a cameo appearance from Christopher Lee, giving it a very Hammer-esque feel from the start. Sean Pertwee as cocky Bradley Cortese, driven mad by visons of horror is truely unsettling. The flash backs to Talos before he died work for the most part, but at times ditract from the tension of a scene. Visually, they're very striking, and while explaining the origin of the myth Sean Pertwee is all the more unsetteling because we know he's right. Louise Lombard compensates well for Jason Scott Lee's unanimated preformance in the scenes they share, but neither I think gave the best that they're capable of. It was Lysette Anthony's wonderfully understated prefomance that stole the film for me, but unfortunately did fizzle out a bit at the end.The idea of setting the super-natural aspects of the film against the back drop of a murder mystery was a good one, it gave the film a fresher, more modern feel as opposed to a more Indiana Jones style action-adventure. But it perhaps wasn't excecuted as well as it could have been, because the mummy is such a large presence in itself, as the viewer there was never really a feeling that anyone else could have been responsible. The London setting as well added to that modern feel, and the deaths all taking place in confined places: a nightclub, and underground car park, even on the London underground; it all added intesity and the feeling of no escape. It did seem a little implausible that so many of the characters carried guns, but somehow it all added a sense that these were events taking place in some parallel universe, harder and less inviting than our own. For a British audience there were wonderful camoes by Bill Treacher and Elizabeth Power as Louise Lombard's next door neighbours, unknown in America but famous in Britain for there roles in a weeknight soap opera playing a philandering husband and his mistress. On this DVD some of their scenes which appear in the UK vesion had been cut, as have some other early scenes in favour of a death scene which is only refered to and not seen in the UK version. Which is a shame really, as one of the scenes cut is a lecture on how to preform a post-mortem given by Lysette Anthony's charcter, which provides an important added layer to the charcter. Indeed, the DVD itself might have benefited from some bonus material like deleted scenes. As it is it's a little bare, with just some recommendations of other films. As a viewer used to Hollywood endings I was pleasantly surpised by this film, and the second twist coming so quickly after the first I hardly had time to catch my breath. But personnaly I always perfer to watch a film that keeps me thinking about it after it's finished, rather than have forgotten about it before the end credits have finished.Having read most of the other reviews given to this film, there seems to have been a genarally negative response. It not ever going to be a cinema classic, and the best advise I can give is rent it before you buy it, but keep an open mind. If you're expecting a carbon copy of 'The Mummy' you'll only be disappointed, but try and put aside any expectations and you might just find a really enjoyable film."
Nifty horror film
Deborah MacGillivray | US & UK | 10/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jason Scott Lee (No relation to Chris Lee who has a cameo in the film, along with Honor Blackman and Jack Davenport) plays a cop investigating a series of murders that has origins of an ancient curse a la King Tut. Also with Gerald Butler, Lysette Anthony, Sean Pertwee and Shelly Duvall. The movie starts in 1940 with an expedition in Egypt under Sir Richard Turkel (Chris Lee). After months of digging they have discovered an entrance to a tomb. Sometimes goes horrible wrong after they enter the tomb, with everyone crumbling to dust. Turkel valiantly by blowing it up, giving his life breath to save mankind from the horror that was unleashed in the tomb.
It jumps nearly 60 years (no reason why it took so long to get around to it again), and Turkel's granddaughter (Louise Lombard) is leading a high tech team to the very tomb grandpop tried to seal for all time. Naturally, meddling grandkid is determined to open the tomb. We learn the tomb was the final burial place of Talos, a Greek cult leader who was banished for conjuring with the dark arts. He found his way to the Pharaoh's Court in Egypt where he held sway. No one turns to dust, but one team member freaks out and is never sane again and another dies reaching a pendant.
Everything is sent back to London where they are put on display at the British Museum. There is a break-in, a gruesome murder, and the mummy of Talos is stolen. After that, grizzly murders begin to happen across the city and Turkel's granddaughter and the "other" Lee try to stop the Talos before it's too late.
Great popcorn flick.
ALL WRAPPED UP AND NO PLACE TO GO
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 06/21/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Russell Mulcahy's flashy retelling of the mummy legend is to be credited for its unusual approach to a timeworn legend. It's a visually stunning film, but it ultimately is empty and hollow. Credit the screenwriters, too, for their mystery-serial killer aspect, as it proves to be the ultimate red herring in the unexpected climax. Jason Scott Lee IS pretty wooden, and a more believable hero would have upped the movie's effect. Louise Lombard does well as Sam Turkel, the descendant of Christopher Lee's Sir Richard. Sean Pertwee as the demented (or is he) Brad Cortese chews up the screen and most of the time is very hard to understand, heavily accented and manic. Lysette Anthony (Krull, TV's Dark Shadows remake) is lovely as Clare, the doctor, and her ultimate role pretty unexpected. Jack Davenport's partner to Lee is good, and should have had Lee's role. And where in the world did Shelly Duvall come from, and exactly what is her role?
Lots of confusing plot loops, but maintains a chilling atmosphere and is ultimately entertaining, on a visceral level."