Film Review: Tomb Raider

08:52 March 20, 2018
By: David Vicari

In the opening scene of the newly revamped Tomb Raider, the main character Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is getting pummeled in a sparring match at a gym. This scene is important as it shows Croft as being vulnerable, and totally unlike the cocky and superhuman portrayal by Angelina Jolie in the two previous movie incarnations of the video game – Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life (2003). While the Jolie films are absolutely atrocious, this new Tomb Raider is an exciting adventure thanks to Vikander's emotional performance, and also by fashioning the movie as a low-tech, down-and-dirty, bare-knuckled action picture sprinkled with some supernatural elements very much in the vein of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

Lara makes her living as a bike courier and lives in a closet-size apartment even though she is a billionaire. You see, her adventurer father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West) had gone missing seven years ago while chasing down the whereabouts of the tomb of a supposed Japanese witch. Eventually, Lara traces her father's footsteps to an uncharted island off the coast of Japan, which is where she meets her father's arch nemesis, Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins).

What follows is a lot of hold-your-breath action like the waterfall sequence with the rusted out World War II bomber or the boobytrapped tomb finale. The stilted and sappy dialog between father and daughter occasionally come close to derailing this, and of course, this is nowhere near as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark, but Tomb Raider is still an entertaining, if familiar, old-fashioned jungle adventure.  

*** out of four

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