Film Review: Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider’s back and rebooted with grit and more human designs, but this outing proves as predictably silly as its forebears.

This reboot of the whole Tomb Raider franchise features Alicia Vikander instead of Angelina Jolie (star of the awful 2001 original film and its even cheesier 2003 sequel) and follows the 2013 reboot of the computer game rather than its first incarnation, with Vikander looking tougher, pluckier, grubbier, more ripped and less ludicrously glamourous. She also takes a battering in the big action scenes, which Jolie would never have agreed to, and therefore she almost comes across as a real person — or as close to a real person as you can get with this sort of tosh.

As directed by Norwegian Roar Uthaug in his Hollywood début (his previous pic, the epic disaster movie The Wave, is well worth tracking down), this has AV’s Lara Croft introduced doing it rather tough in London and haunted by the disappearance of her dad Lord Richard (Dominic West) seven years ago. She stands to inherit archaeologist Richard’s huge fortune as long as she signs legal papers saying that he is officially dead, and they’re waved under her nose by his business partner Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas), but when she finally sits down to do so she instead, at the very last minute, starts to piece together a bunch of head-scratching puzzles and clues.

This leads her to Japan and the introduction of Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), Captain of the Endurance, whose decision to take her to a mysterious island is all to do with wanting some answers of his own, and totally unrelated to how cute Lara looks in that tank-top. They naturally wind up shipwrecked and at the mercy of nasty old Matthias Vogel (Walton Goggins), who’s after the same thing that Lara’s dad was: the tomb of the legendary and much-feared Queen Himiko, whose mere touch meant certain death and all that.

The conspicuously Indiana-Jones-like opening of her final resting place could, it seems, result in the unleashing of an apocalyptic curse, but Matthias doesn’t care, and Lara winds up being forced to accompany him therein because, well, the movie is called Tomb Raider, after all, and she was contractually obligated.

At least attempting some nudge-nudge humour (cameo players Nick Frost and Jaime Winstone are pretty funny as a pair of shonky pawnbrokers), this is still as dopily-plotted as expected and even a little dull at times, yet Vikander tries hard to actually act. It also, but of course, offers a couple of middling twists and sets up, you guessed it, a sequel in which yet another Ark, sorry, tomb will get a damn good raiding.

Rated M. Tomb Raider is in cinemas now.

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