Tomb Raider finally arrives in cinemas for a rebooted movie that hopes to relaunch the franchise. Alicia Vikander (who, as you all know by now, stars in every film ever made) tries her Oscar-winning hand at leading a blockbuster for this highly entertaining matinee adventure. The popular Lara Croft has been with us for decades, debuting in 1996’s classic Playstation/PC game Tomb Raider. Two movies soon followed, so filling the shoes of screen icon Angelina Jolie is no mean feat but Vikander does exceptionally well as the titular queen of gaming, guaranteeing a great night out at the cinema.
We join Lara Croft as a slightly directionless young woman living in London and spending her days boxing and working as a cycle courier. A brush with the law reunites her with Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas) a family friend who urges Lara to take her rightful place at the head of her father’s company. Croft begins to investigate the disappearance of her adventurer father Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West) who’s been missing for some time, and believed to be dead. Her quest takes her to the Far East and Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), a drunken fisherman whose father was the last known contact of Richard. Together they embark on a perilous quest for answers that will require all of Lara’s skill set to navigate.
The set-up is done quite well, giving us a believable Lara Croft that’s less about posturing and more about the job at hand. Vikander really does lead the line brilliantly and gives the character a bit of depth. Her physicality is very impressive too, taking on a lot of the stunt work herself. The end result is a collection of set-pieces that keep you on the edge of your seat with Vikander convincing as our driven hero seeking the truth.
The supporting cast are uniformly solid with Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas and Justified alumni Walton Goggins all doing a bang up job. If anything, Goggins should have been used much more. Dominic West is always watchable, even if he is a bit hammy in places. I’m not sure how much Derek Jacobi knew about what he was doing onset, but he seems to enjoy the ride all the same. Nick Frost’s cameo is a disappointment though which is a real shame.
The script from Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons and Evan Daugherty is ok in terms of set-up, but could have utilised its characters more. Coupled up with director Roar Uthaug’s engaging (if somewhat conventional) style of filmmaking, Tomb Raider makes sure that Lara isn’t a bullet-proof hero and that’s a big plus. She’s vulnerable and frequently gets hurt and that’s where Vikander really comes into her own, making the whole experience much more convincing and engaging to its audience. She overcomes obstacles with odds stacked heavily against her and that was great to see.
Throw in some amazing locations and some equally impressive set-pieces and you have a perfectly watchable action blockbuster that does the basics right. As the action quota ramps up, the end feels a bit fast-tracked but I suspect a sequel could fare much better now that the establishing of ground-work is out of the way. With Vikander reportedly keen to reprise her role too, I for one would love to see another Tomb Raider film.
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Cast: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Daniel Wu, Walton Goggins, Kristin Scott Thomas, Nick Frost, Derek Jacobi Director: Roar Uthaug Writer: Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons, Evan Daugherty Released By: Warner Bros Certificate: 12A Duration: 118 mins Release Date: 15th March 2018