Tomb Raider

This is the first reboot of a movie, that was original based on a video game. If there isn’t a bigger sign that Hollywood has just run out of ideas and stopped trying. I guess they figure it’s been 15 years since the Angelina Jolie version, and since she’s now going to other countries and raiding orphanages instead of tombs, they got a new actress. And just like Jolie, this actress has won a “best supporting actress” Oscar — it’s Alicia Vikander, who was incredible in Ex Machina (and that’s not even what she won the Oscar for).

I never played the Tomb Raider video games, read the comic book/graphic novels, or watched the Jolie films (which were negatively reviewed).

Even though the movie starts out showing this Lara Croft as a fast bicyclist, tough kick-boxer, and a decent archer, it’s hard to be convinced she’d be much of a butt-kicker when we see all the men she’s standing around. She looks tiny. But hey…my wife said she didn’t buy Jolie doing all that rough stuff with such skinny arms.

Anyway, Croft is a bike courier and food deliverer in London. She’s refusing to accept a big inheritance, because that would mean acknowledging that her father Lord Richard Croft (the talented Dominic West) was dead. The CEO of the company (played by the much overqualified Kristin Scott Thomas), is also itching to get her to sign those papers. As she’s about to do that, she’s given a puzzle that leads to clues. She gets into her dad’s secret office, and instead of destroying the papers as he requested, she decides to track down where he spent his final days. That has her hooking up with a drunk sailor (Daniel Wu of Geostorm and Warcraft), whose dad is the one that took Lord Croft to the tomb of Himiko. That ancient Japanese death queen was supposedly buried where nobody could find her, and release her curse.

An organization called Trinity is also searching for Himiko, and they’re led by the evil Vogel (Walton Goggins, taking a break from Tarantino films).

Some of the action sequences and set pieces are interesting. One of them involves a crashed plane resting precariously on top of a waterfall. Yet sometimes it just feels they edited in a way that made it feel fake, as did some of the CG.

The locations are used nicely, although I kept wondering how much of these action sequences were borrowed from the Indiana Jones pictures. Yet one of the things we loved about the Indiana Jones films were the characters and dialogue. This movie lacks in both those areas. The dialogue is often clunky, and Vikander is surprisingly dull in the part. It also felt like she was trying to channel Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games.

This is the type of movie that I’m tempted to say the teenagers would enjoy, but then…we’ve had so many films like this over the years they’ve probably gotten their fill of this type of entertainment.

2 stars out of 5.