A tremendously energetic and fun video game spin-off.

TR-posterIn this #TimesUp  year, reviewing a film like “Tomb Raider” is just asking for trouble! So where shall I start digging my shallow grave?

Let’s start with the video game… “Tomb Raider” is of course the original video game phenomenon that started in 1993, featuring Lara Croft: someone that teenagers across the land mastur…. did their homework alongside in bedrooms up and down the land. Beauty; athleticism; a fierce independence; unfeasibly large breasts; ridiculously impossible leaps:  in this film reboot, Alicia Vikander’s Lara differs from this ideal in just one respect.  And before the  Dora Milaje smash through my windows and drag me off for incarceration on Mysogeny Island, I’ll point out that this is OBVIOUSLY the least important omission!  🙂

For this film is good… very good.  

“I’M SORRY….?  WHAT DID YOU SAY DR BOB??”  “But this is a film about a VIDEO GAME! … They are all uniformly s****e!”

Beauty, brains and talent: the GB Olympic team will likely be calling.

I know – I can barely bring myself to admit it. But this one really is good.  Most of this is down to the reason I was looking forward so much to this one.  Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina“; “The Danish Girl“; “The Light Between Oceans“) is such a class act, and here she is so much more than just a one-dimensional action hero. She hurts, she mourns, she feels guilt, she’s vulnerable. And it’s all there on her face. Great acting skill. She also kicks ass like no woman on film since Emily Blunt in “Edge of Tomorrow“! 

Don’t you just hate it when you drop a bag of flour in your kitchen?

The story by Evan Daugherty and Geneva Robertson-Dworet (with Alastair Siddons adding to the screenplay) rockets off in great style with a “fox and hounds” bike chase around the City of London which is brilliantly done and sets up Croft’s character with the minimum of tedious back story. Switch to the main story and Lara is struggling to face the fact that her father (Dominic West, “Money Monster“), seen in flashback, is finally dead after going off to Japan seven years previously in search of the legendary tomb of ancient sorceress Queen Himiko. The Croft corp. COO (Kristin Scott Thomas, “Darkest Hour“) persuades Lara its time to sign the necessary papers, but on the verge of this act the lawyer Mr Yaffe (Derek Jacobi, “Murder on the Orient Express“) lets a significant cat out of the bag and sets Lara off on the trail of her long-dead father’s original mission.

In happier times. Daddy (Dominic West) goes off on yet another trip from Croft Manor.

It’s a rollercoaster ride that’s really well done. But I reckon the writers should have named Jeffrey Boam, George Lucas and Menno Meyjes as co-collaborators, for the film plagerises terribly from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. In two or three places, the similarities are shocking!  As in the best of Lucas traditions though there are some breathtaking set-pieces, with the best of them staged at the top of a raging waterfall that’s just plane ridiculous! (Even if it plagerises blatantly from “The Lost World”!).  

English and patient. Kristin Scott Thomas as the guiding hand at the Croft corporation.

The movie’s tremendous to look at too, with cinematography by George Richmond (“Kingsman“; “Eddie the Eagle“) and (aside from a dodgy helicopter effect) good special effect by Max Poolman (“District 9”) and his team.

My one criticism would be that Vogel – the chief villain, played by Walton Goggins (“The Hateful Eight“) – is rather too unremittingly evil to have two sweetly smiling young children in his desk photo. One can only hope he faces a nasty demise! 

Never trust a guy with a beard. Walton Goggins, a bit over the top as the villain of the piece.

The film is directed by Norwegian director Roar Uthaug, in what looks to be his first “non-Norwegian” film.  Roar by name; roar by nature!  He does a great job.  An early “summer blockbuster” actioner that gets two thumbs up from me. What a pleasant surprise!  

Fad Rating: FFFF.