Tomb Raider

Fast Firing

         
 

16 March 2018| No Comments on Tomb Raider     by Sean Chavel

 

 

Why didn’t somebody tell me sooner Tomb Raider is one of the better action movies of recent times? Alicia Vikander has impressed me in “Ex Machina” and “The Light Between the Oceans,” but I also had been gathering an opinion even in recent years that she was limited. How could her lithe physique equate into a major Lara Croft action vehicle? The surprise is that Vikander, with her swimmer bod and kickboxing abs, has the physicality to go along with the fast-and-ready verbal quips. Vikander as Lara Croft is seriously driven to compete and succeed on her quest, while contrast, many contemporary action stars have a phoned-in depth to them.

Not the video game machine that defined the two Lara Croft movies Angelina Jolie did, this one has a plot that is both preposterous and grounded in “plausibility.” Patriarch Richard Croft (Dominic West) is a global tycoon who owns an endless list of companies, but to keep busy, he does archaeological digs. Seven years after he’s gone missing, Lara Croft uncovers some clues on where to find his last whereabouts on a desolate island in the Far East. Hidden on an island is the tomb of Himiko, an ancient sorceress who by myth wreaked havoc. Some very angry white men have used slaves to search for the tomb on the island for years, with no luck.

With an obsession to understand the fate of her father, Lara Croft along with a boatman named Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), find themselves on the island where they become chased by the greedy and thieving archaeologists (headed by Mathias Vogel). There is a spectacular action scene with Lara carried down a rapid river with a crashed airplane as the only thing to grab onto at the edge of a waterfall. It has a hanging by her fingernails moment, but Lara is smart enough to use the props around her to narrowly escape. Striking back, Lara wasn’t born a hero, but she finds herself putting together an impromptu insurrection with the aid of her accurate firing bow-and-arrow while her fellow revolters use the machine guns, and before you know it, all this obviously leads to tomb raiding.

All of it is done with luminous cinematography. There’s some minor jerky close-ups here and there, but mostly director Roar Uthaug (who seems intent to not be your average Hollywood sell-out) knows how to put together a wide angle shot. The big boulder sets and booby-traps within the tomb provide a lot of fun moments. They obviously recall the Indiana Jones pictures, but they’re not copycats, but merely working in the same action exotic tradition. The mystery behind the tomb is hokum and not truly capitalized on (the myth of it is made up in our heads more than anything), and there’s a few minutes too many of adversaries tussling around on the ground when a good toss into the abyss would end a fight.

Regardless, “Tomb Raider” has some gruff humor to spare, quite a few awesome cliffhangers, and it works more like a really cool ’80’s action movie. Again, that’s a compliment.

Nick Frost has a hysterical uncredited cameo as a pawnbroker, and Kristen Scott Thomas is enigmatic as a businesswoman in charge of the Croft enterprises.

118 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

ACTION-ADVENTURE / FANTASY LORE / WEEKEND AFTERNOON MOVIE

Film Cousins: “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981); “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984); “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” (2001); “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” (2003).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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