Tomb Raider (2018)

  • Time: 118 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure
  • Director: Roar Uthaug
  • Cast: Alicia Vikander, Daniel Wu, Walton Goggins, Dominic West, Kristin Scott Thomas

Storyline:

Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father’s global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he’s truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can’t understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death. Going explicitly against his final wishes, she leaves everything she knows behind in search of her dad’s last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. But her mission will not be an easy one; just reaching the island will be extremely treacherous. Suddenly, the stakes couldn’t be higher for Lara, who-against the odds and armed with only her sharp mind, blind faith and inherently stubborn spirit-must learn to push herself beyond her limits as she journeys into the unknown. If she survives this perilous adventure, it could be the making of her, earning her the name Tomb Raider.

2 reviews

  • Fun fact: Alicia Vikander is the second actress to take on the iconic videogame heroine, Lara Croft, within three years after winning her Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Whilst Vikander is no Angelina Jolie, who famously incarnated the buxom badass in 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and its 2003 sequel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, neither is Jolie Vikander. Both are compelling in wholly different ways and, if Vikander is not as ideal a physical embodiment of Lara as Jolie was, she certainly brings the physicality required for the role.

    Before Vikander’s Lara gets to the leaping, swinging, running across crumbling surfaces, and being slammed about like a rag doll that is part and parcel of tomb raiding, she’s introduced in a boxing ring showing off her kickboxing and mixed martial arts skills as well as a truly impressive set of abs, which are more 12-pack than 6-pack. Though she works as a bike messenger, Lara is actually an heiress, though she’s reluctant to come into her massive inheritance as it would mean officially acknowledging the death of her archaeologist father, Lord Richard (Dominic West), who disappeared seven years earlier in his quest to find the final resting place of a mythical queen named Himiko, who was buried alive for possessing black magic. When she meets with her father’s business partners Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas) and Mr. Yaffe (Derek Jacobi) to reluctantly sign the papers, she comes across a puzzle containing a clue, the first of many breadcrumbs that shed further light in her father’s secret research on Himiko.

    Deciding to trace her father’s footsteps, she heads to Hong Kong where she convinces Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), the son of the captain who ferried her father to the unreachable island where he believed Himiko to be buried, to take her to the very same remote and dangerous location. From thereon in, Tomb Raider truly puts Lara through her paces as she and Lu Ren as they withstand a violent storm and rocky waters only to land on the island and become prisoners of Matthias Vogel (Walton Goggins), the Kurtz-like leader of an expedition who have been on the island for at least seven years vainly searching for Himiko’s tomb. Calmly disclosing that he killed her father and congratulating her for bringing him Richard’s notebooks which pinpoint the tomb’s exact location, Vogel forces Lara to help him and his key crew navigate through what is essentially one never-ending booby trap.

    Though what ensues is fairly predictable, there’s no denying that Norwegian director Roar Uthaug is more than capable of staging some breathtaking moments (one shot of Lara underwater next to the length of a capsized boat is truly memorable) and nifty action sequences. Though her ability to overcome various obstacles like churning rapids, waterfalls, variations of crumbling surfaces, hurtling spiked logs, and Vogel’s armed and muscled henchmen more than strains credulity, there’s a strong sense that, whilst she has the ridiculously high threshold of pain usual to this genre, her true power lies in her grit and determination. Nor is her intelligence to be diminished as she deploys it not only to solve the various traps in the tomb but to outwit Vogel. Moreover, in this day and age, credit must be given to screenwriters Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastir Siddons for not falling back on the typical sexualised image of Lara.

    Tomb Raider may not break any new ground, but it’s a terrifically fun popcorn film that’s headlined by the ever-engaging Vikander, who firmly establishes her action and blockbuster credentials with this outing.

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  • I thought this film was good… very good.

    “I’M SORRY….? WHAT DID YOU SAY DR BOB??” “But this is a film about a VIDEO GAME! … They are all uniformly dreadful!”

    I know – I can barely bring myself to admit it. But this one really is good. Most of this is down to the reason I was looking forward so much to this one. Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”; “The Danish Girl”; “The Light Between Oceans”) is such a class act, and here she is so much more than just a one-dimensional action hero. She hurts, she mourns, she feels guilt, she’s vulnerable. And it’s all there on her face. Great acting skill. She also kicks ass like no woman on film since Emily Blunt in “Edge of Tomorrow”!

    The story by Evan Daugherty and Geneva Robertson-Dworet (with Alastair Siddons adding to the screenplay) rockets off in great style with a “fox and hounds” bike chase around the City of London which is brilliantly done and sets up Croft’s character up with the minimum of tedious back story. Switch to the main story and Lara is struggling to face the fact that her father (Dominic West, “Money Monster”), seen in flashback, is finally dead after going off to Japan seven years previously in search of the legendary tomb of ancient sorceress Queen Himiko. The Croft corp. COO (Kristin Scott Thomas, “Darkest Hour”) persuades Lara its time to sign the necessary papers, but on the verge of this act the lawyer Mr Yaffe (Derek Jacobi, “Murder on the Orient Express”) lets a significant cat out of the bag and sets Lara off on the trail of her long-dead father’s original mission.

    It’s a rollercoaster ride that’s really well done. But I reckon the writers should have named Jeffrey Boam, George Lucas and Menno Meyjes as co-collaborators, for the film plagerises terribly from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. In two or three places, the similarities are shocking! As in the best of Lucas traditions though there are some breathtaking set-pieces, with the best of them staged at the top of a raging waterfall that’s just plane ridiculous! (Even if it plagerises blatantly from “The Lost World”!).

    The movie’s tremendous to look at too, with cinematography by George Richmond (“Kingsman”; “Eddie the Eagle”) and (aside from a dodgy helicopter effect) good special effect by Max Poolman (“District 9”) and his team.

    My one criticism would be that Vogel – the chief villain, played by Walton Goggins (“The Hateful Eight”) – is rather too unremittingly evil to have two sweetly smiling young children in his desk photo. One can only hope he faces a nasty demise!

    The film is directed by Norwegian director Roar Uthaug, in what looks to be his first “non-Norwegian” film. Roar by name; roar by nature! He does a great job. An early “summer blockbuster” actioner that gets two thumbs up from me. What a pleasant surprise!

    (For the full and graphical review, please visit bob-the-movie-man.com or One Mann’s Movies on Facebook. Thanks.)

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