Sunday, March 18, 2018

Movie Review: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

The first attempt to bring Tomb Raider to the screen was a corny, action-packed adventure with special effects that have not held up well over time, though the sets still look cool. The film begins with Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) training against a robot that is programmed by her tech-savvy assistant Bryce (Noah Taylor). She shows off her skills with her iconic dual pistols and flips through the crumbling wreckage of a faux ruin inside her mansion. Her butler Hillary (Chris Barrie) helps Bryce clean up the mess. Late at night, she hears the ticking of a clock and finds a hidden compartment left behind by her late father Lord Richard Croft (Jon Voight). 

Lara heads to an auction to speak with an old professor about the mysterious clock but runs into Alex West (Daniel Craig) who has a history with her. The old professor recommends that she seek out Manfred Powell (Iain Glen), a member of the Illuminati, though the professor regrets it later. Lara takes the clock to the lawyer Powell but he claims not to have any idea where the clock is from. That night, Lara trains on a bungee cord in her main hall when a squad of armed men attacks her mansion. She fights them off in a decent little action scene with a clever twist but they manage to make off with the clock.

Lara follows the trail to Cambodia where she finds Alex West is working with Manfred Powell. They attempt to take advantage of a planetary alignment but Lara stops them before they make a mistake. She swings on a pillar and bursts open a tank of liquid that awakes stone monkeys and monsters. They attack Powell's men and Lara who shoot their way out of it. Lara is attacked by a giant god stone creature with many arms and manages to destroy it with the pillar. Lara steals the half of the piece of a special triangle and jumps off a waterfall when Alex West threatens to shoot her. After recovery in a monastery, Lara confronts Powell at the seat of the Illuminati where Powell tells Lara of her father's membership. Distressed by this news and in denial, Lara agrees to join Powell on their excursion to Siberia where the second piece of the triangle is location. 

They find the hidden location with spinning globes. Lara and Alex race to climb the contraption and find the missing piece. Lara disappears inside only to return a few moments later with the missing piece. An Illuminati leader takes the piece and stages a ceremony but Powell commands his men to shoot him and takes the piece for himself though when he puts them together, nothing happens. Powell knows Lara has the answer so he throws a knife into Alex West's chest killing him. Lara agrees to help Powell to save Alex's life so she pulls out a special stone and fits it into the piece. She has to race Powell to the top of a pyramid and then she is freed from time. She confronts her father about the Illuminati and slows down time to stop the knife from killing Alex. Powell reveals that he killed her father so she fights him in hand-to-hand combat and wins. Lara Croft escapes using sled dogs as the tomb collapses.

Mimicking the video games corny atmosphere was not the best decision while the plot is predictable and does not follow any standard video game. Angelina Jolie is fine as the titular hero but the acting is nothing special. Iain Glen always puts his passion into these cheesy villains while Daniel Craig's work has led to him becoming a successful franchise leader himself. The film was successful enough to spawn a sequel but the way the film was perceived doomed any future success. I wasn't totally impressed with the film but have enjoyed the video games and didn't mind revisiting the film for the reboot. 

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