Main cast: Alicia Vikander (Lara Croft), Dominic West (Lord Richard Croft), Walton Goggins (Mathias Vogel), Daniel Wu (Lu Ren), Nick Frost (Max), Hannah John-Kamen (Sophie), Antonio Aakeel (Nitin), Josef Altin (Bruce the Boss), Billy Postlethwaite (Bill), Roger Jean Nsengiyumva (Rog), Jaime Winstone (Pamela), Michael Obiora (Baxter), Derek Jacobi (Mr Yaffe), and Kristin Scott Thomas (Ana Miller)
Director: Roar Uthaug
Oh god, it seems like they never learned from the terrible Assassin’s Creed – now Michael Fassbender’s squeeze Alicia Vikander decides to play a more realistically proportioned Lara Croft in a reboot of Tomb Raider. She’s quite small in stature compared to the men she is supposed to be taking down, which makes the bulk of the fight scenes here a bit hard to believe. Interestingly enough, she gets trashed badly in this movie, which is an unexpected kind of realism in a movie supposed to be about girl power, and if you aren’t pleased with how Lara isn’t superior to all the men in this movie, wait until you get to the climax which sees her coming out alive for the credits only because of the lucky turn of events precipitated by two men. Let’s just say that if you are one of those people who want badly this movie to be some kind of “women are so much better than men” movies, you are going to be disappointed!
This isn’t my issue with this movie, though. My issue is that this movie is dreadfully dull to the point that I can practically feel every popcorn moving slowly down my gastrointestinal tract as I wonder how long more I have to wait until this movie ends and I can finally be free.
Oh yes, the story. Just like in the game, Lara Croft is of British nobility. Unless the game, though, this movie decides to give her an intense and rather creepy Daddy complex – her father leaves to defend the tomb of Himiko, an ancient Japanese queen also said to be a powerful and cruel witch, from the predation of an evil consortium called the Trinity. Wait, that’s not the same organization from Assassin’s Creed, right? Who cares, I can’t be arsed to check. Years later, Lara refuses to believe that her father is dead, so she refuses to touch a single cent of his immense wealth, instead preferring to pout and play at being a courier gal while not paying her bills because who cares that other people are not getting paid for their services – the world revolves around her and her daddy, so there.
Ana, her father’s associate, finally manages to get her to the office to sign the documents that will declare Richard to be the rotting corpse of a worthless father, but before that can happen, Lara finds evidence of her father being some lone wolf crusading against the Trinity and, armed with his journal and papers, ventures out to follow in her father’s trail. She persuades Lu Ren, whose father carried Richard to this “uninhabited Japanese island” years ago, to do the same for her. And in the island, they find themselves pitted against the mercenaries led by Mathias Vogel, who is employed by Trinity to locate Himiko’s tomb and bring the body back to them.
This movie is structured like a video game, without any effort made to shape up the characters, the setting, the Trinity, or anything else. It’s just “go to point A, then B, then C…” with tepid action scenes thrown in and there without much effort made to make these scenes enjoyable, fun, or logical. Okay, we don’t need logic if things had been fun, but much of this movie feels like some film school dropout’s desperate efforts to emulate the far better put-together action scenes from better movies such as the Indiana Jones films. The folks behind the movie can’t even keep track of Lara’s antics – while going to Himiko’s tomb, she and the gang found themselves in a room in which most of the floor eventually falls away, but when she is backtracking, the floor-less room is nowhere to be seen.
In addition to this movie being an incoherent mess at times and a lifeless bore at other times, the characters are duds all around. Alicia Vikander puts on an English accent but her Lara is memorable mostly for being trashed bloody by Vogel and thank god, Daddy and Lu Ren are around to help her. Girl power! Daniel Wu is wasted as his role is mostly that of a sidekick that doesn’t have much to do once he’s sent Lara to the island where Himiko was buried. Once she meets her father, Lara becomes a pouty Daddy’s girl who just wants her father back, damn the consequences – the unintentional and unfortunate implication here being that all of Lara’s “strength” is due to her needing her father back in her life to do all the thinking for her. Walton Goggins is appropriately mean and despicable as the bad guy, and that is perhaps the only bright spot in this movie.
Tomb Raider buries all the fun six feet under and actually makes the previous two movies with Angelina Jolie look like award-winning masterpieces in comparison. If you really want to watch this, if only to see Alicia Vikander in a tank top and shorts, I suggest renting or streaming it instead of bothering with the effort and expenses of going to a cinema.