All original written content is (c) 2018 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed art is ©2012 and a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
Because we don’t get enough reboots, Warner Bros. and MGM give us an “updated” version of video game adventure queen/action badass Lara Croft, last played by a forgotten actress named Angelina Jolie all the way back in the pre-iPhone times of 2003. This time, Alicia Vikander (EX MACHINA, JASON BOURNE, et al.) is an English bike messenger/courier who decides to search for her Dad (Dominic West) who left years ago to pursue the legend of a Japanese death queen and never returned. Adventure, treachery, discovery, impossible stunts and wild special effects ensue.
Written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons (from a story by Evan Daugherty and Geneva Robertson-Dworet). Directed by Roar Uthaug (that’s a name, not a sound effect).
- Let’s start with the obvious: though the action isn’t non-stop, there’s tons to go around, and the scenes are pretty exciting, thrilling, suspenseful and well-executed. A few are quite original and entertaining (watch for the rapids scene, where things just keep getting worse).
- Special effects are mostly in the sets and action and most look very convincing; at no time was I taken out of the scene by anything blatant. The stunts are still amazing, including a couple Indiana Jones moments. The amount of time, effort and people-power involved had to be massive.
- Nice cameos by Derek Jacobi (from the hilarious VICIOUS sitcom) as a corporate attorney and Nick Frost (HOT FUZZ, etc., uncredited) as a pawn shop owner.
- Casting: Vikander, while no Angelina, is still hot-worthy and tough as teflon-coated Vibranium nails. She gets bruised, beaten, punched, kicked, shot and stabbed but never gives up. West is the perfect British business Dad. The bad guy is quite hate-able and well-played by Walter Goggins (various Tarantino films and a bunch of TV stuff). Daniel Wu is a good drunken sailor-turned loyal friend.
- Story is straight and easy to follow. High personal and global stakes (of course). A couple twists that aren’t complicated.
- Special kudos for a worthy punishment for those that deserve it!
- The scene after the main title at the end has a nice setup for a sequel.
- Slower to develop than most other video game flicks. More of an origin story of how Croft becomes a tomb raider rather than starting in mid-adventure with things assumed and history revealed later. And a little too much (and repeated) exposition.
- SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF DEPT: This is based on a video game where the character never dies, no matter what happens to her. Same with the movie. Forget that she’s supposed to be a normal young woman wearing only a tank top and shorts and think of her more as Wonder Woman with hiking boots. In filmland, you can receive homemade stitches for a gaping puncture wound but no antibiotics for infection in a filthy environment, rest for an evening, then run, jump and battle like normal the next day!
- WTF/LAZY SCRIPT DEPARTMENT: Once scene makes zero sense. No spoilers, but if you’re hidden, armed and alone with the bad guy and everything you need is in the room, it might be a good idea to take him out then, instead of watching him walk away to do a lot more bad stuff! (Of course, if you did, you couldn’t have a big climax. Writers!
- While skinny, normal-lipped and proportioned Vikander is no slouch, she’s no pouty, big-eyed Angelina (even if the latter had to wear a padded bra in her version).
- Instead of the trademark motorcycle or handguns, we only get a bicycle and bow & arrow.
- When you visit an ancient tomb, bring large amounts of Purell. Yechhh…
This Tomb Raider is definitely entertaining and exciting. I just don’t know if it’s “necessary.” As a non-gamer, I don’t know if TR is super-popular like it was at the turn of the century but I haven’t seen or heard anything about it like I have with Warcraft, Halo, Grand Theft Auto, etc. The action and effects are of course more engrossing and thrilling on the giant screen, but unless you’re a major fan of the game or Vikander, you can save your dough for spectaculars like READY PLAYER ONE or AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. Still, this is fun and I would see a sequel.
P.S.: You know who’s great at making you a Tomb Raider of your own? That monkey Pascale that draws me and types for me. He can pencil or ink a nice and hot Alicia or Angelina for a nice and hot price. Just ask Craig here!