Croft Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, Dir: Jan De Bont - Cert:
is it this year that films have to have long titles? “Terminator
3: Rise of The Machines”, “Pirates Of The Caribbean –
The Cures Of The Black Pearl” and now this, the second outing of
the computer game character Lara Croft, in a film who’s title reads
like a cross between a business card & a museum exhibit.
Fortunately, you’ll be pleased to hear, the film is far better than
the sum of its titular components and also better than some of director
Jan De Bont’s previous attempts – need I worry you with “Speed
2 – Cruise Control”? A woefully mistitled celluloid endeavour
which would have been better titled “Speed 2 – Parking Brake”!
This outing for our pneumatic heroine involves a hunt for The Cradle of
Life, as if the title wasn’t clue enough, and leads a merry jaunt
around some of the more scenic areas of the world – Greece, Hong
Kong, China and Africa. All get plenty of screen time as backdrop to some
quite spectacular stunts and set pieces involving guns, motorbikes, jet
skis and parachutes along with a few nifty gadgets Q would be pleased
to provide 007.
Whilst the story may not win awards for depth or originality. Borrowing
as it does from both the first Indiana Jones movie for story and the computer
games for editorial composure, it manages to move along reasonably well
with only one slow moment at around the 80-minute mark before building
to the Escher-esque finale.
Angelina Jolie turns in a good performance in the title role and nails
an upper crust British accent as accurately as one of Ms. Croft’s
shooting targets. Chris Barrie and Noah Taylor reprise their roles as
butler Hillary and geek boy Bryce from the first outing, and this time
get to provide more than just comic supporting moments. Ciaran Hinds is
the arms dealing bad guy, Mr Reiss, a character who could have been hammed
up to the point of ridicule, however thankfully played in a more sober
and malevolent manner - executing a traitor with Ebola in a confined air
conditioned space defines him rather well.
Given a choice between this and T3, I would advise seeing Tomb Raider
with a clear conscience. It is perhaps cliché’d in places
and predictable in other, however get yourself a bucket of popcorn, sit
down, put your brain in neutral for 2 hours and enjoy! 7/10
(Ms. Jolie in Neoprene is SO much better than Arnie in the Buff!)