After the financial success of The Mummy two years earlier, the sequel was inevitable. The big players from the first film are back, Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo and Oded Fehr. Stephen Sommers once again directs (and writes), Patricia Velasquez comes in to be a main player after her cameo in the first film, and young Freddie Boath plays the son of Rick and Evelyn who are now married. This time the cameo goes to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson who plays The Scorpion King and who is replaced by a very bad CGI version of himself at film's finale.
When the second sequel, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), was released, Brendan Fraser went on record as saying that for The Mummy Returns they basically remade the film they had already made in 1999! This is absolutely true, some new characters and an expansion on the O'Connell romance have been put in to beef it up, while some Zombie Pygmies are around to add extra monster factor, but yes! It's a retread only with more money spent, more effects (and better effects apart from Scorpion King) and more noise. This is actually OK for those who enjoyed the first film immensely, because "Returns" is every bit as enjoyable as family blockbuster entertainment. The Worldwide box offices rang to the tune of over $330 million in profit. That's a lot of happy families you would think!
So yes, it's a bit of a cheat, but much like the film before it, it gets away with it because the makers do everything they can to entertain the action/adventure loving crowd. With legions of Anubis warriors, those awesome Pygmies and the all round funny by-play between a cast comfortable with the material (again), The Mummmy Returns delivers exactly what can reasonably be expected of it. 7/10