FILM REVIEW: TOMB RAIDER (12A)
SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW
CAST: ALICIA VIKANDER, WALTON GOGGINS, DOMINIC WEST, DANIEL WU, KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS, DEREK JACOBI & NICK FROST
RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 58 MINS
DIRECTOR: ROAR UTHAUG
In stark contrast to the stellar highly-acclaimed video game series – the new Tomb Raider reboot is a mixed bag.
It has been 15 years since Lara Croft’s last outing under the stewardship of Angelina Jolie, and Alicia Vikander – on the back of her Oscar-winning turn in The Danish Girl – is the new kid on the block to take the iconic gaming heroine forward with this big-budget reboot.
Cleverly, this reimagining uses the darker visual style that made the superbly-reviewed Rise of the Tomb Raider an award-winning game in 2015 – but unfortunately the movie isn’t anywhere near as exciting.
Vikander does an admirable job by providing the look of said Croft from that game – playing a rookie adventurer in comparison to Jolie’s more advanced highly-trained version – but she’s hampered by a dull paint-by-numbers storyline that has been done so many times before.
Starring as the fiercely independent daughter of her billionaire ‘missing in action’ father (Dominic West from TV series The Affair) – avoiding her fortune by being a food courier and spending her nights as a wannabe MMA fighter – she tries to track him down seven years after his disappearance.
A chain of events leads to her ending up in Hong Kong and buying a boat ride – with Daniel Wu’s (TV series Into the Badlands) drunken captain – through treacherous waters to a mysterious Japanese Island.
Here she stumbles across Walton Goggins’ (Predators and The Hateful Eight) villainous archaeologist – a member of a shadowy criminal organisation known as Trinity – and his cronies, who have enslaved workers to search for the fabled tomb of a mythical Japanese princess that could provide the finder with unparalleled ancient powers.
And sadly the film has large swathes of time that is as boring as the storyline sounds.
Yes, there’s a few tidy set-pieces (generally seen in the trailer) – including a decent ‘bow and arrow’ Lara escape scene and a couple that pay homage to the video game (see plane hanging over waterfall scenario) – but bar that, this is a generally wasted opportunity.
It is passable action fare to stream for a night at home, but for a big-budget blockbuster this falls well short, and is more akin to Nicolas Cage’s National Treasure – which was also decidedly middling, too.
And it’s a shame because there is a nice set-up for a potential sequel – now the origin stuff is out the way – but after its lacklustre debut it’s looking highly unlikely that will ever see the light of day.
Sadly, it needed better than the eclectically-named director Roar Uthaug – who is inexperienced with blockbusters of this size – to cope with the expectation of this intellectual property, and disappointingly he could now have sealed Lara and Vikander’s fate before they’ve really had a chance to get jumping.
Which leaves this reboot more like Sahara than Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Rating: 2.5/5 – Gavin Miller