Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) – Simon West

 

The 101 Action Movies brought this one to me to watch. This is yet anothere one of those could have beens. It could have been the beginning of a tent pole franchise for Paramount, with a strong female hero, derring-do, supernatural archeology and just good fun. Instead, the film flounders with an inconsistent plot, and paper thin characters. Someone wanted to rush this one to the theaters I suspect, and thought the title and the sex appeal of Lara Croft (played here by Angelina Jolie) would be enough to get bums in seats.

Even with a stand out cast surrounding Jolie, including an appearance by her own father Jon Voight, a pre-James Bond Daniel Craig (and I think it’s funny that the American, Jolie, is putting on a posh English accent, and the Brit has got an American drawl), a pre-Game of Thrones Iain Glen, and Red Dwarf’s Rimmer, Chris Barrie.

Lara is sent on a mission by her deceased father, through memories and messages, to hunt down and recover the Triangle of Light, which the nefarious Illuminati have sent their right hand man Powell (Glen) after. Helping them is a tomb raider for hire, Alex West (Craig), and it’s up to Lady Lara Croft to find the pieces of the Triangle first and stop it from fallilng into the Illuminati’s hands, though they never quite say what they plan to use it for exactly, but since they’re baddies, it can’t be good.

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There are some nice sequences in the film, the standout one, features an almost like ballet that Lara executes using two bungee ropes as she bounds around a massive hall in her opulent home. This evening’s enjoyment is ruined when Illuminati soldiers show up, plunging through drop lines and an aerial and ground battle commences as Lara bounces around the hall outmaneubvering and out fighting these trained killers.

There are other moments that just make you scratch your head… say when some statues come to life, one of them a multi-armed beast, and everyone in the film seems to take it all in stride as if this sort of thing happens to them every day. What kind of world do these folks live in? A video game?

The eye-candy, for both male and female viewers, isn’t enough to save the film, and the action sequences, something West has shown he has a talent for with Con Air and The Expendables 2 seem too few and far between, despite the fact that the film is only just over an hour and a half.

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Perhaps a stronger story and character arcs would have made for a smoother ride, and helped create what Paramount wanted, another fracnhise. Still, it did garner a sequel, the less than stellar Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life.

Maybe they’ll try it again in the near future, but realize that viewers want something with a solid story as well.

Still, for a videogame movie, it’s probably the best one that has been made so far.

What do you think?

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One Comment Add yours

  1. vinnieh says:

    Nice review, Angelina Jolie was so kick ass in this.

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