Movie Review: ‘Tomb Raider’


Director: Roar Uthaug

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas

Plot: Lord Richard Croft, wealthy archaeologist, disappears whilst searching for the cursed tomb of Japanese queen Himiko. Years later his daughter Lara picks up the trail and sets out to find what happened to her missing father.

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Review: For many audience members Lara Croft is still immortalised as the disproportionality proportioned gun toting badass raider of tombs she was at the peak of her fame in the 1990s. In between the best-selling games, her role as the first video game sex symbol and the movies which…happened…Lara Croft was a pop culture icon. In the intervening years the game’s quality and sales had dropped to the point they weren’t being produced any more.

In 2013 the games were rebooted with a younger, more realistic (in both appearance and personality) Lara Croft struggling to survive a dire situation she is unfamiliar with. This new movie draws from this new game, giving us a younger Lara (Vikander) growing into the adventurer we are familiar with. 

So…it’s a rebooted movie franchise from a rebooted video game franchise. And it’s pretty good.

We get introduced to Lara as a young woman trying to make ends meet as a courier in London, unwilling to accept her inheritance as it would close the book on her father’s disappearance. Through these scenes and flashbacks we establish Lara as tough, inventive and capable. She kickboxes, races her bike and practises archery. When she discovers a clue that leads to her father’s research on Himiko she sets out on her adventure.

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Upon reaching the mysterious island she discovers mercenaries working for the evil Trinity Company searching for the same tomb. From there it’s fighting, shooting, running, waterfalls, falling, booby traps and set pieces.

If the director isn’t deliberately channelling Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade then he’s being haunted by the ghost of that franchise (after it was thoroughly murdered by Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). We have the missing father, who leaves a dairy of clues that will help Lara get through a series of ancient traps, which she must do under threat of the bad guys who are there for greed. At least they’re ripping off the best Indiana Jones movie.

Tomb Raider really isn’t bringing anything new to the table, but there’s little working against it. Alicia Vikander is a damn fine actress and her talent elevates the character a few levels, and Walton Goggins is always a great villain. The set pieces are big and exciting (even though the CGI stunt double is a bit janky) and the movie never wastes an opportunity to throw in an action sequence. Lara is looking for directions? We’ll now there’s some hoodlum thieves to chase down. Some scenes are needlessly drawn out, such as extended cameo from Nick Frost, but there’s enough fun to be had.

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This new adventure of a classic hero is a solid adventure. It’s not redefining the genre but it’s worth grabbing some popcorn and taking a look.

Rating: SEVEN out of TEN

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