Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
- Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft
- Iain Glen as Manfred Powell
- Noah Taylor as Bryce
- Christopher Barrie as Hillary
- Daniel Craig as Alex West
- Jon Voight as Lord Croft
It isn’t going to go down as a work of cinematic high art, but Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is one of the better video game adaptations out there. If you can ignore the incoherence of the plot and some flimsy dialogue, it is a hugely enjoyable popcorn movie of the highest order with action in bulk and a feisty heroine.
Lara Croft is the thrill-seeking daughter of Lord Croft, who just like her late father is an explorer for ancient and fabled artifacts. She is the kind of girl who isn’t above getting herself into dangerous situations for the sake of recovering treasure of mythological renown as she can fight, has a wide knowledge of history and is skilled with an arsenal of weapons. She is aided in her ventures by cyber geek Bryce and loyal butler Hillary. The main plot of the film revolves around Lara’s discovery of a clock that her father hid away, which inside contains a unique key that can harness great power when it is placed in position during a planetary alignment. Once in position, the mythical two pieces of a triangle that has the power to manipulate time can be used. Yet both halves of the triangle are located vast distances apart which sets Lara off on an adventure, starting in Cambodia and ending up in Siberia to make sure the triangle isn’t activated by the wrong person. Standing in her way is the slimy Manfred Powell, a member of a secret organisation wanting to use it for their own gain and Alex West, a former lover of Lara’s who is just in it for the money. Locked head to head in a quest to find it, Lara knows it will be dangerous. But when it comes to danger, Lara is more than adept at facing it and the challenges that come her way.
Director Simon West shoots the film with agile pacing that make the action sequences immensely good and help paper over the cracks in the story. This isn’t going to go down as the best action movie ever, but Lara Croft is sure as hell entertaining. It boasts some stunning locations and nifty special effects to show the mythological aspects at play in Lara’s quest to recover the triangle. There is a real sense of movement in the film that keeps it going at a lively pace till the end as Lara does battle with foes. The writing in this film is quite laughable and unconvincing as well as the plot that is pure hokum. Yet somehow this movie emerges as very entertaining and superbly awesome in the best way described as guilty pleasure viewing. A thundering kinetic score of techno beats and drums also lends a hand to the action of the film in a very effective way.
Angelina Jolie is ideally cast as the eponymous heroine and gives her all to the part. With feline eyes, lithe athleticism and witty retorts, Jolie is a marvel at portraying this woman of adventure who isn’t afraid to venture into the lion’s den to get her glory or thrills. As well as being physically perfect for the part, Jolie invests Lara with an independence, resourcefulness and an all round sense of fun. It’s safe to say she owns the part. Iain Glen does his best slimy villain act and does it very well indeed. Noah Taylor and Christopher Barrie are a hoot as two of Lara’s trusted helpers; their comic timing is very enjoyable because of the opposite nature of their personalities. Daniel Craig may not nail an American accent, but he plays the shifting loyalties of his character excellently. And in a small but pivotal role, Jon Voight portrays Lara’s father in flashbacks with authority. The casting here is very interesting because Voight is Jolie’s father in real life and some of that really enters their scenes together.
So while it’s not exactly an action masterpiece, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider delivers the goods and a sizzling turn from Angelina Jolie.