Following the huge box office success of The Mummy, director Stephen Sommers returns for the sequel that ups the ante for Rick O'Connell's next swashbuckling adventure. In some cases, however, bigger isn't always better, and The Mummy Returns is definitely one of those cases. Character development and story, and even the horror aspects harkening back to the 1930s original, is dropped in favor of huge action set pieces, and the result is an incoherent mess that lacks thrills despite having numerous scenes intended for them. These aren't really deep characters that need to be explored or anything, but any semblance of development from the first film is shuffled under the rug. Brendan Fraser is still the heart of the film in spite of his: once again, he brings a sense of charismatic wit and dry humor that fits his character perfectly. The rest of the cast is wasted though. Rachel Weisz is no longer an exposition spouting, helpless love interest, but now has uncharacteristic action capabilities and a subplot turning her into a reincarnation tied to Imhotep. John Hannah doesn't have enough screentime for his extra humor, and the young child actor who plays O'Connell's son takes over as the exposition fountain in a cringeworthy role. Even Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's presence feels like little more than a gimmick to get moviegoers interested in seeing the film: he appears in just the opening scene and the finale (as a visual effects nightmare in the latter). Speaking of which, the visual effects are surprisingly bad. What should look organic, like a giant tidal wave or a gruesome mummy, instead look like they've been molded out of plastic or rubber. Fans of the first Mummy film will likely get a little enjoyment out of this one, but it's mostly another forgettable summer blockbuster.