Sunday, March 18, 2018

Movie Review: Tomb Raider

With the previous films in the franchise stalling after the first sequel, the video games adaptation returns to copy a reboot that the games went through as well. Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is young and inexperienced trying to train to be a better fighter and skilled at tasks like biking at dangerous speeds. She is haunted by the memory of her father Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West) who mysteriously went missing. Lara ends up in jail and Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas) bails her out. Ana needs Lara to sign a will that admits her father is dead and passes on his wealth. Lara is reluctant to admit her father is dead without proof and forgets to sign the papers when the lawyer pulls out a puzzle that links to clues as to her father's secret quest to find Himiko, a deadly Japanese queen. 

Lara figures out that her father employed a man named Lu Ren so she heads to Hong Kong. She is harassed by three young boys who try to steal her bag but she chases them down so they attack her. She makes it to the boat where Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) scares off the kids with a gun. Lu Ren tells Lara that is was his father that took her father. Lara convinces him to go along with her to the coordinates her father left. They ship out as Lara continues to scan her father's research. The ship hits rocks and Lara and Lu Ren have to abandon ship and split up. Lara starts to exhibit some of her impressive survival skills by jumping onto the rocks. She is captured by Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins) who explains that he is searching for something and her father's journal contained the last crew.

Lara and Lu Ren are enslaved by Vogel's men and forced to work to dig up the entrance to Himiko's tomb. Lu Ren prepares a shovel and hits one of Vogel's henchmen giving Lara a chance to run. She sprints away from the gunfire as Lu Ren takes a bullet. Lara jumps into a river and is thrown about by the rapids until she manages to catch onto an old plane wing before she slips down a waterfall. She manages to survive by pulling out an old parachute but she gets a tree limb stabbed through her side. She fights off an attacker and sees a strange figure helping her. Chasing him down, Lara finds her father Richard though he believes she's a hallucination. After a night to heal, Lara leaves her father, a move that I was a bit confused by since she was solely here to find him. However, her friends are more important so she shows off her bow skills and frees Vogel's slaves. 

Richard wants to stop Vogel from unleashing the deadly Himiko disease so he refuses to open the tomb door but Lara agrees to open it. They head down into the tomb and Lara helps them avoid the spike traps though some of the crew get killed. The floor falls away but Lara solves the mystery moving them on to the actual gravesite. Himiko carries a deadly disease that starts to kill crewmembers so Vogel stashes some and makes off instructing his men to kill Richard and Lara. They battle over the dead body and Richard is infected. Lara wants him to come with her but he tells her to run as he blows up the tomb. Lara fights Vogel and slams the diseased figure down his throat before she jumps to safety.

Tomb Raider tries to bring the video game series back to the screen and has some mild success. Box office numbers don't look good for a sequel which is why it is tough that a big reveal at the end hints at a larger conspiracy by the Trinity organization that may never happen. These franchise films often put off the good stuff for further installments which don't happen because of poor box office performances. I liked the game reboot and Alicia Vikander looks like she has a ton of fun with the character. I didn't mind Dominic West as the father but when he showed up alive, I thought that was a little too cheesy and uncalled for. Writers of these films don't often let Lara Croft fight the battles on her own. I was tired when I saw it so the lagging plot almost put me to sleep a few times. I'll probably revisit it if they ever have a sequel. 

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