a TOMB RAIDER musing
Having played the rebooted Tomb Raider (2013) video game for the first time recently, I was surprised by how accurate the trailers for this movie were in depicting that crazy, brutal action. The rest of the footage shown didn’t get me too excited, besides the fact that Oscar winner Alicia Vikander was playing Lara Croft. It’s a crazy, awesome world we live in, and my initial thoughts on the trailer turned out to be exactly how I felt with the end product.
Our introduction to Lara is her getting punched in the face, and losing a sparring session. She gets back up, goes about her day and shows her resourcefulness in a fun sequence of her being playfully chased on bikes through London. It’s a great way to set up her character and dole out exposition through showing and not telling, which the director, Roar Uthaug, subsequently fails at accomplishing in the next few scenes. The second half of the first act and the whole second act come so close to falling apart, with a bland, derivative story.
Lara Croft, on the search for her father, seeks out a mysterious, uncharted island and stumbles upon a dangerous legend and a militant group, Trinity, bent on using its power. She tries to escape Trinity’s hold, whose leader, played by Walton Goggins, an uninteresting villain who could be completely taken out of the story. (On that note, this movie could’ve removed Trinity and let the world-ending legend/time be the villain of the movie.) As she runs away from Trinity’s camp, we get our first real taste of the video game flavor, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. All of the story aspects only weigh the movie down, and pretty much adds up to a weekly Sunday afternoon TNT movie. The last act, with actual raiding of tombs was gleeful fun, even if it was a lower-rent LAST CRUSADE.
Vikander plays the bravery and Lara’s unrelenting will power skillfully, no matter how much her character is beaten down, physically and mentally. There’s a scene towards the end of the film that, thankfully, breathes and let’s Vikander take a moment to let Lara emote. It’s unfortunate that the action is so blandly directed, and I can only imagine a TOMB RAIDER movie made by, say, a Gareth Evans (THE RAID). It’s one of the better video game movies out there, no matter how low that bar may be. But this movie serves as a great start for what looks like can be a fun franchise, if only they can hire a director that can stylishly make an original, exciting and thrilling hell of a time, and cement Alicia Vikander as an action star.
RATING: DIDN’T WASTE MY TIME
(Refer to my rating system HERE!)