Action Movie Fanatix Review: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Lara Croft Tomb Raider

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Daniel Craig

Director: Simon West

2001  |  100 Minutes  |  PG-13

“Into the belly of the beast.” – Manfred Powell
“And out of the demon’s ass.” – Alex West

I have been a gamer for most of my life.  I cut my teeth on Super Mario Bros., Mega Man and Ghosts n’ Goblins.  It’s a little weird for me to say that I never really got into the Tomb Raider games.  I always wanted to but just never got around to it.  But I did manage to check out both movies when they came to theaters and I’ve now decided to revisit them.

Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie), the Tomb Raider, is rich, beautiful and skilled in hand-to-hand combat as well as with firearms.  She must recover artifacts lost in a secret society although she may have met her match in the evil Manfred Powell.

Maybe it’s just me but I have never bought Angelina Jolie as an action hero.  Having big fake boobs and big fake lips does not make an action star.  I bring this up partially because it bugged me during this viewing of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and because I have heard a lot of people clamoring for her to join the ranks of one of the three all female Expendables type movies and I just don’t think she fits.  And seriously, who would leave Jennifer Aniston for her?

But I digress… A very young, less buff = less awesome, pre-Bond Daniel Craig makes an appearance as Alex West, Lara Croft’s rival treasure hunter.  I actually didn’t find either one of the “bad guys” to be all that bad.  They were certainly greedy and greed isn’t a very nice trait but neither Manfred Powell nor Alex West were evil baddies.  It’s not the end of the world but it does kind of hurt the story when you don’t necessarily hate the people you are supposed to hate.

The music is now very dated sounding.  It’s mostly hip hop and techno-ish stuff from the Total Request Live era.  Why did I ever watch that horrid show?

The action is all very PG-13 but silly fun nonetheless. Simon West and his team do a great job recreating the feel of the platforming and dual wielding pistol action from the old Tomb Raider Games.

Early in the movie Lara finds a clock that contains something called the unseeing eye.  Upon getting a peak at something inside the clock she smashes the clock with a hammer.  Later she opens a book from her library and finds a strange symbol embossed into the inside back cover.  She swiftly whips out her knife and cuts the book open to find a note.  Just one time I want to see a movie where the hero destroys some precious artifact and doesn’t find something even more special hidden within.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a worthy comic book adaptation.  I don’t believe it follows any specific storyline from the game but the right ideas and themes are all there.  The action is even reminiscent of the gameplay.  A decent video game adaptation is a rare thing and that alone probably makes Lara Croft: Tomb Raider worth watching.

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