That's right in the middle of the Devil's Sea. You might as well tie a stone to yourself and jump off the boat now.

Tomb Raider ( 2018 )

★★   |   Aug. 4, 2018

It's been 16 years since a Tomb Raider movie last hit our screens, so in today's world that means ample time has passed for a reboot. It's Alicia Vikander's turn to take up the mantle and play the role of the British adventurer Lara Croft.

In this origin story, Lara is found in London, struggling to make ends eat in a series of dead end jobs clearly beneath her intellectual capabilities. Her archaeologist father has been missing for several years, and she refuses to touch the fortune he has left behind, as doing so requires a written acknowledgment of his death. After discoverng a secret key that unlocks details of his last known destination, she embarks on a perilous adventure to discover his fate.

What we get in this edition, is more realistic Croft. Not yet the refined adventurer, we see her make her way through her trials through sheer grit, determination and effort. Gone are her signature dual pistols in place of a bow-and-arrow. She is regularly overpowered, but never defeated. It is a refreshing take, although perhaps not surprising, as the character is modelled after the 2013 reboot of the game, which did away with some of the cartoonish features of a character originally conceived for the mid 90s video game scene.

However, while this edition may be original in the Tomb Raider universe, there is nothing else original about it, and nobody seems under any illusion of that. In fact, apart from Vikander, nobody seems to be putting too much effort in either side of the camera. It sruggles on with an unoriginal story and stilted dialogue. Her relationship with her father, which should be the driving force of the movie, is not particularly well developed, and none of the supporting characters carry any significant weight, serving narrow purposes. The villains of the piece even lack convincing motivation for their evil deeds. It does boast some impressive action sequences, beginning with a bicycle race through London and taking in a balancing act on top of a wrecked aircraft atop a raging waterfall.

Dominic West labelled the movie as "less boobs, more fighting" in reference to the shift away from Lara Croft's traditional reputation as a sex symbol, and the movie certainly does present a more interesting leading character. However, it is let down in almost every other way, and it feels like a missed opportunity. Not one that will live long in the memory.

Directed by
Roar Uthaug
Starring
Alicia Vikander
Walton Goggins
Dominic West
Daniel Wu
Kristin Scott Thomas
Runtime: 118 minutes
Tomb Raider (2018) on IMDb