In 3067 BC, the Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson) leads an army to conquer the world, but his army is defeated and exiled in the Desert of Ahm Shere. He vows to give Anubis his soul for the power to defeat all his enemies, and is given an oasis and a pyramid, plus an army of warrior jackals who sweep across Egypt, but Anubis claims the Scorpion King’s soul and sends his army back to the underworld.
In 1933, adventurer Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and his wife, Egyptologist Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) explore the ruins with their precocious son Alex (Freddie Boath) and find the bracelet of Anubis. Back in London, the bracelet locks onto Alex and shows him the way to Ahm Shere. Evelyn is captured by the Cult of Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) to help defeat Anubis’s army and the Scorpion King. The cult is led by Baltus Hafez (Alun Armstrong) with the enforcer Lock-Nah (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Meela Nais, the incarnation of Anck-Su-Namun (Patricia Velasquez). The O’Connells head out to rescue Evelyn with her brother Jonathan (John Hannah) and Medjai warrior Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr). Johnathan is armed with a golden sceptre he found.
Rick frees Evelyn and escapes with her, but Alex is kidnapped by Lock-Nah and taken to Egypt. The O’Connells pursue, with help from Rick’s friend Izzy Buttons (Shaun Parkes) in a dilapidated dirigible. The bracelet gives Alex directions to Ahm Shere, but Imhotep warns him that it will kill him if he does not enter the pyramid in a week. Alex is leaving clues for his parents. Imhotep uses the Book of the Dead to give Meela the soul of Ankh-Su-Namun, but the spell also allows Evelyn to access her previous life as Princess Nefertiri.
At the edge of the oasis, Imhotep uses magic to crash the dirigible and Izzy works tirelessly to repair it,. The O’Connells and the cult are attacked by pygmy mummies. Rick grabs Alex and Ardeth Bay kills Lock-Nah. They escape the pygmies and so do Hafez, Imhotep, and Ankh-Su-Namun. As they arrive at the pyramid just in time, the deadly bracelet detaches from Alex. Anck, Imhotep, and Hafuz kill Evelyn.
Inside the pyramid, Hafez puts on the bracelet and revives the army. Anubis takes away Imhotep’s powers, forcing him to fight as a mortal. Rick discovers Imhotep summoning the Scorpio King and fights him. The Scorpion becomes a giant human/scorpion hybrid and attacks Rick, as Ardeth Bay and the Medjai battle the huge, resurrected jackal army outside. Hafez is killed by the Scorpion King in the battle. Jonathan and Alex steal the Book of the Dead and resurrect Evelyn, who confronts Anck-Su-Namun. Rick learns that Jonathan’s scepter is actually a mystical spear. He slays the Scorpion King and sends him back to the underworld.
The oasis sinks into the sand and the pyramid crumbles. Rick and Imhotep cling to the edge of a pit leading to the underworld. Evelyn risks her life to help Rick. Imhotep begs Anck-Su-Namun to help him, but she abandons him, falling into a pit of scorpions herself. Just before the pyramid collapses beneath them, Izzie’s dirigible appears and plucks them to safety. Rick manages to steal the crystal jewel of the pyramid in the process. As they sail off into the sunset, Ardeth Bay and his army salute them and ride off.
This sequel to The Mummy was written and directed by Stephen Sommers as well. It was Dwayne Johnson’s first role, but he starred in Scorpion King prequels. Reviews were mixed, many suggesting that the special effects seemed more important than the characters, but it was still a box-office success. The score was by Alan Silvestri, either because Jerry Goldsmith was ill or because he had referred to the first movie as a piece of shit, depending on who you believe. Rachel Weisz and Patricia Velasquez trained for five months and performed their grueling fight themselves. To play Imhotep, Arnold Vosloo had his entire body shaved twice a day.
Because Freddie Boath was a big fan of The Mummy, which he watched 30 times, he passed up a role in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to play in the sequel. He also worked as an unofficial consultant on the film. In the room full of gold artifacts, there is an Oscar statue in the back. The sequel was green-lit the morning after The Mummy opened in 1999. Hundreds of real tarantulas and scorpions were used. 200 horsemen became 10,000 through special effects, but the resurrected jackal army was entirely CGI, 64,000 strong. In the first film, Imhotep’s face appeared on a sandstorm. Here it was on a wall of water. Imhotep’s broken heart when he is abandoned by the woman he lived through torture for thousands of years to resurrect is actually touching. It’s always good when the audience feels for the monster.