Friday, March 16, 2018

Tomb Raider

Never dumb enough to try to pretend it's smarter than it needs to be to get us from one action scene to the next. Made for fans of the video game and those looking for something better than we've gotten the last few months.

Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and for some language.

Tomb Raider

After what felt like an interminable two months — the only watchable films so far this year being Black Panther and Game Night — we’re finally getting some good releases. It may be surprising to hear glowing remarks when it comes to a reboot of the Tomb Raider series. It appears that a change of studio and star were just what the raider needed. Scrapping any connection to the Angelina Jolie films, this may not be a perfect action film. But it is a fantastic adventure from start to finish and sets the series up for a new generation, leaving you wanting more by the time the credits roll.

Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is a spunky, street smart food delivery girl who’s in debt at her favorite MMA club. After an incident with the police leaves her in need, her missing father’s assistant, Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas), comes calling to try to get her to accept her inheritance. Instead, Lara discovers that her father Richard (Dominic West) was up to more than just boardroom meetings.

Turns out, Richard was on the hunt for Himiko, the mythical Queen of Yamatai who was thought to have power over life and death. Now, Lara is on her own quest to find her father, along with the help of Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), whose own father went missing helping Richard. But just wouldn’t you know it, they find themselves facing off against Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins), working for the mysterious Trinity who are trying to find Himiko’s tomb with ulterior motives.

No one expects Tomb Raider to be the smartest film, but it’s at least smart enough to get us from one action scene to the next. Director Roar Uthaug, and screenwriters Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, give us a worthy updated reboot film based on the Crystal Dynamics rebooted video game from 2013.

The best part is in the casting. Vikander is perfect as Lara, using her Oscar-winning acting chops to take Lara from naive and confused to complete badass by the end of the film. A character arc is not something you see in an action film these days. The rest of the cast work well too, even if it feels like Goggins should have been allowed to get a little crazier as the villain. Wu makes for a great sidekick with the role reversal working fantastic as the two play off each other very well.

Hopefully this Tomb Raider finds a bigger audience than the one that left the Jolie films wallowing after two outings because Warner Bros. has done the series proud and now that we’ve gotten the origin story out of the way again, I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

4 out of 5

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