Studio: Image Entertainment
Director: Johnny Tabor
Writer: Garry Charles
Producer: Lisandro Novillo, Andrea Monier
Stars: Danny Glover, Billy McNamara, Andrea Monier, Eric Young, Philip Marlatt, Robin Steffen, Brandon deSpain, Michael Cortez
An archaeological expedition to uncover the hidden tomb of a cursed Egyptian king disturbs the spirit of a vengeful mummy.
If Indiana Jones shed his debonair charm and never saw the inside of a gym, he might resemble Jack Wells. Despite a doughy midsection that probably shouldn’t be shirtless for his introductory scene, devil-may-care archaeologist Jack is the right roguish ladies man for the job of recovering the Codix Stone, a jewel held by legend as being entombed with the mummy Neferu, a.k.a. “The Cursed King.”
I’m not sure when Danny Glover joined Malcolm McDowell and Eric Roberts as the third-point in their B-movie headliner triangle. Nevertheless, the four-time Emmy Award nominee who has played iconic characters both real and fictional from Nelson Mandela to Philip Marlowe, plops himself in front of a green screen and into a professional nadir as Carl Rosencane, the brandy-sipping benefactor who tasks Jack with finding Neferu’s lost tomb and retrieving the fabled jewel.
Jack joins a tomb-raiding effort staffed with a prickly professor, an ice princess security contractor who melts to Jack’s oddly irresistible masculine wiles, and two hangers-on who have much more nebulous, though no less stereotypical, roles to play in the party. Carl provides Jack with an earpiece and camera-enabled eyeglasses so he can spy on the expedition from across the planet, and so the audience can experience a “found footage” mummy movie, quite possibly a first for the POV format.
There is so much bizarreness in “Day of the Mummy,” e.g. Danny Glover’s starring role, shooting Venezuela for Egypt, and mummy mayhem presented via Google Glass, that it might make for weirdly fascinating entertainment if it weren’t so ploddingly boring. Exposition ground mostly covered, the film moves to a slogging sequence of seemingly unending travel scenes. 10 minutes are spent driving by Jeep. Another 10 move the cast across sand on foot. The next 10 follow the first leg of their quiet spelunking endeavor. On and on this path-treading goes until the title attraction finally appears at almost the one-hour mark in a movie that only runs just over 75 minutes.
Somewhat surprisingly, the hieroglyph props are respectable and the film fakes its South American location as being close enough to Egypt for a low-budget adventure-horror indie. But what the movie does adequately doesn’t matter when neither the acting nor the script can receive similarly passing grades.
Danny Glover doesn’t literally phone it in, though he probably would have were it an option. It seems clear that the role’s appeal for Glover was its undemanding singular requirement to sit in a seat and read off a teleprompter or cue cards for however many hours it took to shoot his scenes. Glover appears in just two camera setups, although he features more than any other actor as an occasionally squawking head in the bottom left of the screen, talking over Jack’s expedition.
I’d bet gold bars to candy bars that Glover was seeing his dialogue for the very first time on the day of filming, given the unimpassioned stiffness with which lines are recited. Though it might not be entirely fair to fault Glover for the fullness of his flatness. Finding enthusiasm for pedestrian lines like, “we’re so close I can taste it,” or having to more than once mutter, “what’s going on? Tell me Jack!” is thankless material for any actor.
The one time Glover is given an action to perform, he is called upon to pound fists on his desk like a preschooler throwing a tantrum. But not too hard since he can’t shake the set in front of the green screen, a green screen that somehow loses its background after his introduction and becomes all black for the remainder of the film. Glover’s other setup is a coda scene that sees him being interrogated in a bare-walled room with horribly recorded sound and a random height chart slapped onto the background as set dressing.
Hilariously, this scene is meant to take place in the Pentagon. So not only does it look cheap, but it has the doubly dubious distinction of making no sense since the U.S. Department of Defense has no reason to investigate the disappearance of a privately-commissioned archaeological expedition in Egypt, American citizens or not. Never mind that the “found footage” is initially presented as part of an FBI case, putting it even further outside the U.S. military’s jurisdiction.
As niggling a nag as that might seem, it exemplifies the “so what?” attitude “Day of the Mummy” has about itself. Unconcerned with details, the film merely breezes through basic broad strokes of acceptable-at-best standards for charmless characters, by-the-book scripting, and anemic action from a disinterested cast.
NOTE: There is a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene.
Review Score: 35