Continuity mistake: In the scene where Imhotep's priests first pop up, Jonathan is on Rick's left, and the guy in black is on his right. But in that split-second shot that shows them starting to fire, they are on the opposite sides. [In the director's commentary he does mention this but says it's because they had to cut some scenes out due to time, still a mistake but has a reason.] (01:39:20)
In ancient Egypt, Pharaoh Seti's High Priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) is in love with Seti's beautiful mistress Anck-Su-Namun (Patricia Velasquez). Imhotep and Anck-Su-Namun kill Seti, and Anck-Su-Namun kills herself while Imhotep escapes from Seti's Medjai guards. Imhotep and his priests steal Anck-Su-Namun's body and take her to Hamanaptra, City of the Dead. Using the Book of the Dead, they try to resurrect her, but fail when the Medjai track them down. While Imhotep's priests are mummified alive, Imhotep is mummified and cursed with the Hom-Dai. If Imhotep is resurrected, he will bring the Ten Plagues, which God used in the Biblical times. The Plagues were: locusts, flies, frogs, water turning into blood, fiery hail, cattle disease, wild beasts, the sun turning black, boils and sores, and death of the first-born sons.
In the early 1920s, Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) and evil, cowardly Beni Gabor (Kevin J. O'Connor) are French Legion soldiers in a French Legion battle against Tuaregs at Hamanaptra. Beni leaves Rick to die but Rick survives and is taken to Cairo prison. British librarian Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) and her brother Jonathan (John Hannah) convince the warden to free Rick in exchange for Rick agreeing to take them to Hamanaptra. The treacherous Beni leads three Americans and an Egyptologist to Hamanaptra as well. The greedy warden is killed by a flesh-eating scarab beetle during his own treasure hunt. The Medjai warriors, led by Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr), warn Rick and Beni's groups to leave, but they refuse. Beni's group finds a cursed chest containing the Book of the Dead and five sacred canopic jars containing Anck-Su-Namun's organs, but Beni flees from the chamber before his employers open the chest. Beni has spared himself from the fate his employers will suffer. Imhotep will kill all who open the chest, assimilating their organs and fluids, which will help him regenerate into his human form.
Rick's group finds the Mummy Imhotep, and Evelyn borrows the Book of the Dead from the Egyptologist. Reading from it, Evelyn accidentally awakens Imhotep, who brings the Plagues with him. During the chaos, Beni becomes Imhotep's henchman and Imhotep kills the three Americans and the Egyptologist, fully regenerating himself. Meeting Rick's group in Cairo, Ardeth Bay agrees to help Rick and his friends defeat Imhotep, but Imhotep captures Evelyn with Beni's help. Imhotep will return to Hamanaptra and sacrifice Evelyn to resurrect Anck-Su-Namun, and the greedy Beni will be allowed to take as much treasure as he wants from the treasure chamber.
Both villains must be stopped if Evelyn is to be rescued. Beni is the only survivor of his group, and he doesn't care who gets killed in the final battle, so long as he gets the treasure. Rick, Ardeth, and Jonathan find the gold Book of Amun Ra, which is capable of killing Imhotep.
Evelyn: You know, nasty little fellows such as yourself always get their comeuppance.
Beni: They do?
Trivia: The warning that is on the chest containing the Canopic jars ('Death shall come on swift wings to whomsoever opens this chest') is a variation of the curse that was allegedly written on the walls of Tutankhamen's tomb: 'Death shall come on swift wings to him that toucheth the Pharaoh's tomb'.
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