Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life Review

Tomb Raider Cradle of Life

We reach the first “Bonus Movie” of this marathon, basically that means there is no game to review alongside it. As I said in the previous entry, I never really played the game series, but I can still review this movie as not only am I familiar enough with the source material but it’s a sequel to a film I’ve already reviewed! So, how does “The Cradle of Life” hold up against the first film, which to be fair, wasn’t that great? Well, it holds up pretty much the same, if I’m honest…

Synopsis:

On Santorini island, Greece, a strong earthquake uncovers the Luna Temple. The temple was built by Alexander the Great to house his most prized treasures. Among these treasures is a glowing orb with a pattern resembling a code etched into it. Treasure-hunting archaeologist Lara Croft finds this orb; but crime lord Chen Lo attacks her group, kills her two companions and takes the orb. Lara escapes with a strange medallion.

MI6 approaches Lara with information about Pandora’s box, an object from ancient legends that supposedly contains a deadly plague. The box, hidden in the mysterious Cradle of Life, can only be found with a magical sphere that serves as a map. The sphere is the same orb that was stolen by Chen Lo…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Tomb Raider Cradle of Life 1

Angelina Jolie in a tight bodysuit, it’s what everyone came to see! (So much it’s on all the posters and everything…)

What can I say that I didn’t the first time? The plot is basic but works as a means to get to the next sweeping shot or action sequence, which are often well shot but mindless, and so long as you have your tongue in your cheek and don’t take it at all seriously you might have fun.

Angelina Jolie is… fine, though her accent once again a bit iffy. At least her “old friend” Terry is played by Gerard Butler, so there isn’t the worry about poor accents all over the place like Daniel Craig’s American one last time. Ciarán Hinds as the lead villain Jonathan Reiss is once again perfectly serviceable in the cheesy villain role, at least enough that there is some satisfaction is seeing melt into some ancient black goo at the end of the film.

The fights are good, like the final one mentioned, plus Lara going up against Chinese criminal Chen Lo (Simon Yam) was good… though the idea of him smuggling Terracotta Soldiers made me laugh in terms of someone’s idea of what a Chinese criminal might get up to. … Can you tell I’m trying really hard to come up with some good? I just left the film thinking it was fine but most of the things to talk about feels like it should be in the bad…

The Bad:

Tomb Raider Cradle of Life 3

*whispering* “I don’t think he’s very nice…” *whispering*   “What did you just say?!”  “Oh crap…”

The main thing is the overall plot… which is a big thing! I mean, it was fine, but it does feel like it was churned up in a random Indiana Jones adventure generator. Hero finds an old artefact that will lead to a powerful old artefact, a greedy evil person wants to get their hands on it first and ends up intercepting her in the middle of the journey. They meet up again and the villain forces the hero to take them to the final location but a supernatural force takes out most of the villain’s men is horrible fashion. Hero and lead villain meet up where the all powerful object is guarded by a dangerous mechanism and fight, with the lead villain ending up melting in a horrible fashion. Throw in Kosa (Djimon Hounsou ) the local guide who fills them in on local superstition and you’ve got quite the cliché-filled film.

Oh and Lara’s friend Terry I mentioned earlier? He’s the old “you can trust me, I have dodgy connections and make jokes about betraying people and taking money but you really can trust me!” guy who ends up trying to get the powerful artefact for himself at the very end of the film and gets shot by Lara for his efforts. Idiot.

Tomb Raider Cradle of Life 4

“Just think, Lara. Six more of these and we can make any wish we want!”

So the plot was boring and predictable, and the acting was just as cheesy and cliché to go along with it. If you’re watching it with friends while getting drunk, fine, watching it by myself for this marathon while not getting drunk? Not so much. At least some of the action set pieces were fine, though I didn’t like the weird shadow creatures that attacked outside of the final location (the titular Cradle of Life), they looked a bit naff. Honestly looking back at the first film, I feel this had less large-scale action scenes I actually enjoyed. It did have a bit more Chris Barrie as the butler Hillary, so that’s always good in my book!

Overall Thoughts:

Tomb Raider Cradle of Life 2

“Wait, you don’t trust me? You have to trust me, of all people. We’re old friends!”   “Oh, fine.”   “Hooray!”

I feel like I could just copy and paste my Overall Thoughts from the first film. It’s fine if you watch it for the sake of having a laugh at it, but if you try and watch it as a person looking to watch a good film, then you’re buggered. Cliché plot, cheesy acting and only a handful of good action scenes means this is at least as bad as the first, if not a little bit worse, but it’s by no means poorly made or truly bad. It’s just… there, and a bit crap.

3 Star Watch

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