Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Review

Lara Croft Tomb Raider

Given the runaway success that was the original game, and the fact that not only was it set in an easily-realised-on-screen modern world but its main protagonist was an attractive female, this was a no brainer. Just hire a top actress who attractive and can do a half decent English accent (or not?) and there you go! But is Lara Croft: Tomb Raider actually good, or was it just like the Resident Evil films that came after it and just about the female hero looking cool?

Synopsis:

Lara Croft, an archeologist and adventurer, embarks on a journey to find an artefact that possesses the ability to control time. A secret society wants to lay its hands on the relic for its own immoral purposes.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Lara Croft Tomb Raider 1

She’s got two guns! … Wait, that sounded like a double entendre… Oh well.

Well, the good you get out of the film will depend entirely on how much you can, well, not take it seriously. It’s a silly action film with stupid and improbable stunts, paper-thin villains and lots of shots of Angelina Jolie’s thighs and arse. If that’s the kind of thing you like to shut your brain off and watch, then go for it. It reminds me of the Resident Evil films in that way (this was first, to be fair, I only reviewed the Resi films back in October to tie it in with Halloween), right down to the over-focus on the female lead at the expense of any other characters, though without the fact that the director is married to her…

It’s well made enough, for an early 00s action film, with some fun set-pieces both inside tombs battling stone golems or running around giant machinations, and a fight on a bunch of bungee cords inside Lara’s mansion. Throw in an exciting “everything’s exploding, must make a last second getaway” scene and it’s a perfectly fine example of a “fun but dumb movie”…

The Bad:

Lara Croft Tomb Raider 3

“No I have I worst accent!”   “Hell no, I do!”

BUT to be fair to the “fun by dumb movie” line, it is really poorly scripted, and the acting even worse. Daniel Craig plays Alex West, the American male version of Lara, but the problem is that Craig’s attempt at an American accent is piss-poor, and only made worse by people like Jolie herself doing often equally bad British accents. Why they hired a Brit to play one of the only American parts I have no idea.

Iain Glen is playing the villain, so it’s funny I mentioned the Resident Evil film comparison earlier, and just like the Resi films, he’s bland as all hell and just running through the motions, remembering to give off an evil sneer now and again. It’s not like he has any actual material to work with, to be fair to him. I think the only thing I enjoyed in the film was Chris Barrie as Lara’s butler Hillary, but that’s probably only down to being a life-long Red Dwarf fan.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider 2

“Oh. Huh. Well, whatever.”

During the climax Lara and Powell (that’s Glen’s villain, by the way) get sucked into some weird portal where they have to run up a massive pyramid, and then Lara meets her dead father (played by her actual father Jon Voight) and then they have a bit of a punch up when they get back to reality. It’s… weird. Even weirder than the rest of the film, and an earlier scene saw everyone nonplussed about a large statue of the six-armed God Brahma coming to life and smiling at them as it tries to kill them all.

Basically if you’re looking for a film that’s well written and acted, with well-thought out set-pieces that complement the story, then this film will be BAD for you. Very bad…

Overall Thoughts:

Lara Croft Tomb Raider 4

Jeez, I thought I was free of Iain Glen villains is female-centric video game movies…

Lara Croft – Tomb Raider is … not good. Bad is most ways that you can rate a film on, but at the same time, get some friends around and shut your brain off and you can have a good laugh at it. It is at least got a high enough budget that the senseless action is well choreographed. Plus endless shots of a 2001 Angelina Jolie’s thighs and arse are never a bad thing, I guess….?

3 Star Watch

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