Ancient Egypt should be a treasure trove of material for filmmakers. It was a brilliant culture with a long, recorded history – the hermaphrodite pharaoh Akhenaten (truth is stranger than fiction) and the boy king Tutankhamen, Hatshepsut the queen and the mighty Rameses II are just a handful of characters that any scriptwriter would love to work with.
But what do we get? Absurd and stupid dross like this. And to rub salt into our gaping wounds, we have to put up with that monstrous egomaniac Tom Cruise poncing around as Nick Morton, one of those swashbuckling buffoons so loved by Hollywood producers. It begins with Nick and his mate Jake (Chris Vail) fighting insurgents in Iraq. After an air strike, the ground opens up below them and, lo and behold, the tomb of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is exposed to the light for the first time in millennia (what it is doing in Iraq is anybody’s guess). We then learn that Ahmanet was destined to be queen of Egypt until the day that a son was born into the royal family.
Her ambition thwarted, she did the only logical thing she could do – she murdered her little brother and her old man but was punished for the crime by being mummified and buried alive. Enter Nick and the mysterious Dr Henry Jekyll (played by a very portly Russell Crowe). Jekyll – it’s such a gross appropriation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s troubled character – is posh but bad and covets the awesome power of Ahmanet who, for some reason, has lobbed into the modern world with a host of zombies at her disposal.
In one scene, Tom and the Blonde Chick with perfect teeth (Annabelle Wallis) are fanging through the woods in a van, being chased by the zombies, and you find yourself counting down the repelled attacks until yes, just when Tom at the wheel thought they were finished, one comes smashing through the windscreen. I tried but just couldn’t make it to the end.