20 Years After ‘The Mummy’, There Still Hasn’t Been an Action Hero Like Brendan Fraser

20 Years After 'The Mummy', There Still Hasn't Been an Action Hero Like Brendan Fraser

  • Make no mistake, Neo unironically deadpanning “I know kung-fu” is the moment that started this movement, but it’s another scene from 1999 that solidified it, set it in stone, and turned it into the model that pretty much every leading man of the last twenty years has been striving toward since: Brendan Fraser as American adventurer Rick O’Connell in The Mummy, screaming in the face of reincarnated 3000-year-old Egyptian high-priest Imhotep before blasting the monster away with a shotgun.
  • Because there’s something singularly wonderful about Fraser in the role, starting with the way the dude looks.
  • Like he did in most of his prime roles, Fraser plays against his own look.
  • With all due respect to Zachary Levi, Fraser as Rick O’Connell is a pitch-perfect audition to play Shazam, a child given the skills and body of an action star.
  • It’s played perfectly; Fraser looks like a kid with his hand caught in a very deadly cookie jar.
  • Or hell, look on the other side of the comic book fence to the globe-trotting Arthur Curry and Mera in Warner Bros.’ billion-dollar Aquaman, a movie that owes more to The Mummy than any other action blockbuster of the last 20 years.
  • It’s an astounding performance in the same exact way Rick O’Connell was an astounding performance 20 years ago, proving Brendan Fraser still has the ability to take a solid-steel exterior-be it a robot or an action-hero archetype made of muscle-and make it feel undeniably human.