Movie Reviews

Tomb Raider – A Generic Action Film

In an age of reboots, here’s another.

Synopsis: Going explicitly against his final wishes, Lara leaves everything she knows behind in search of her dad’s last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. But her mission will not be an easy one; just reaching the island will be extremely treacherous. Suddenly, the stakes couldn’t be higher for Lara, who—against the odds and armed with only her sharp mind, blind faith and inherently stubborn spirit—must learn to push herself beyond her limits as she journeys into the unknown. If she survives this perilous adventure, it could be the making of her, earning her the name tomb raider. (Rovi)

Starring: Alicia VikanderDominic West, and Walton Goggins

Writers: Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons

Director: Roar Uthaug

Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)

Running Time: 118mins

Trailer: 

For showtimes and more, check out Tomb Raider on movietimes.com.

When going back to the previous Angelina Jolie led Tomb Raider films, they weren’t necessarily bad for what they were, mindless and cheesy action films. Jolie was fine in those films but Alicia Vikander is definitely an upgrade, albeit a slight one, in this unnecessary reboot of what will surely be a new franchise based on the famed video game series.

In what was a coming of age story, a stubborn and prideful Lara Croft (Vikander), chooses to go against her believed to be deceased father Richard’s (West) wishes and sets out on a journey to figure out what happened to him. Nothing should come as much of a surprise here story wise as her duty to her father and her family name served as her primary motivation.

Despite the fact that Lara’s relationship with her father was only defined by him constantly leaving her in flashbacks, this was the only thing that defined her throughout the film because she wasn’t particularly interested in archaeology or adventure at first until it obviously changed. Her journey was treacherous at first but the story got more interesting once Lara and a ship captain she hired named Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), got to Richard’s last-known destination, an island off the coast of Japan called Yamatai.

Being an action film, you can expect plenty of action sequences and CGI. While they were okay for the most part, there wasn’t anything new and there were probably a few too many of them as the film seemed more interested in putting Lara through the ringer, especially early on. All in all, they did not add that much to the story and got old quickly. The story in between these action sequences wasn’t overly original either. By serving as a coming of age story, there wasn’t as much “tomb raiding” as one might expect.

Because of the heavy focus on the father-daughter part of the story, it became easy to forget the other parts of the story. What was so special about Yamatai was that it held the tomb of a supernatural queen named Himiko. The reason for Richard’s disappearance and presumed death, was that he was trying to protect the secrets behing Himiko and her power from anything that wanted to use it for evil. Then came Mathias Vogel (Goggins), a man who worked for an organization named Trinity who wished to use her powers for evil.

Vogel was the villain here, however, he wasn’t that much of a villain seeing that he didn’t pose that much of a threat with his only move consisting of waving his gun around. His one-dimensional nature and his lack of character development made it difficult to care about him or whatever his motive was. The story tried to set up Trinity as something for Lara to contend with in the inevitable sequel(s) but it didn’t quite work as it felt tact-on after the fact.

The acting was okay all around with Vikander being the obvious standout. She proved here that she could handle herself as an action star and all the physicality that comes with it as the film asked a lot from her. Despite the mediocre script and underwritten characters, she was still compelling to watch as Lara. West went through the motions as Richard Croft which was fine. Goggins wasn’t quite believable as Vogel but that was mostly due to the script than anything else.

Overall, this was an okay action movie with a few too many generic action sequences tied together by an equally generic story but is elevated by a courageous performance from Alicia Vikander.

Score: 6.5/10

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4 replies »

  1. I agree. The movie isn’t anything special, but it is elevated slightly by Vikander. I want to see her grow into this role. Also, if there is going to be a sequel, I’d like for the screenwriters to give Daniel Wu and Nick Frost more to do.

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    • I didn’t like how they sidelined Wu for the last part of the film. The film could have also gone without Frost’s character as the last scene was mostly shoehorned fan service as the film hadn’t really referenced the video game up to that point. I would like to see him back in some capacity but I’m not sure how they would do that. This film was slightly better than the Jolie films to me and hopefully it can overcome the growing pains here but I doubt it.

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  2. I want to see this movie and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, the trailer looks good and the reviews I’ve read give it praise. But I’m so tired of reboots. As I’ve said on some Grinch previews, I don’t understand why they couldn’t take something similar, mix it up a bit, and make it a stand alone movie. Could they not have a green or purple or orange creature disseminate some mischief? Same hold true for this. I’m not seeing anything new they could really add to Tomb Raider. Why did they have to make her Lara?

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