HIGH-OCTANE “TOMB RAIDER” JUNGLE THRILLS; “HARD SUN” ON TV
A Film and TV Review by Tim Riley
TOMB RAIDER (Rated PG-13) The sexy Angelina Jolie, wearing short shorts, started the Lara Croft film franchise and now “Tomb Raider” introduces Swedish actress Alicia Vikander as a younger Lara Croft in an origin story of a fiercely independent daughter eager to find her missing father.
You would hardly know that street-wise Lara is the heiress to the vast fortune and business empire left by her eccentric adventurer father Richard Croft (Dominic West), now missing for seven years and ready to be declared legally dead.
Lara’s toughness is explained by the fact that she survives as a reckless bike courier willing to engage in dangerous street races in London. She also trains in boxing at a local gym. Obviously she has physical skills belied by her average frame.
Refusing to accept that her loving father is never coming back, the ever resourceful Lara becomes aware of a trail of clues left behind that explain what may have possessed the billionaire patriarch to not return from one of his many overseas business trips.
Locating the secret study inside a family crypt, Lara discovers that her father was in search of the mysterious island of Yamatai off the coast of Japan where the tomb of Himiko, an ancient sorceress, could unleash supernatural powers that must not fall into the wrong hands.
In Hong Kong, Lara secures the services of boozy boat captain Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) to find the mythical island, but just getting there is extremely treacherous and the pair barely survives an extremely turbulent storm that causes them to be shipwrecked.
Armed only with her sharp mind, inherently stubborn spirit and archery skills, Lara sets out on a perilous journey that involves confronting the stock villain in the form of treasure hunter Vogel (Walton Goggins), the cruel overseer of workers trying to find Himiko’s tomb.
Granted the action is laughably preposterous, as the legend of Lara Croft would have us believe that this youthful adventurer has the combined physical skills of an Indiana Jones, a swashbuckler swinging on vines and a touch of nearly superhuman powers.
The original Lara Croft realized by Angelina Jolie packed a pistol in each hand, whereas the Vikander style takes a different tack, until she ends up in a pawn shop excitedly holding two handguns at the end of her journey.
Regardless of any newfound affinity for lethal weapons, the primary conclusion to be had is that there are likely more “Tomb Raider” adventures on the horizon even if the new Lara Croft is more relatable in many ways than the original gun-toting sex symbol version.
On the whole, Alicia Vikander’s Lara Croft is fun to watch performing unbelievable feats of superhuman heroics but “Tomb Raider” suffers from too many action picture tropes, unremarkable dialogue and a sense of possibly having seen these exploits done better elsewhere.