Tomb Raider (2018)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Tomb Raider</strong> (2018)

(On Cable TV, December 2018) In rebooting the Tomb Raider film franchise, the 2018 version of the film sets itself against two perhaps overwhelming references—not only the series of adventure videogames that made such a splash over the past two decades, but also the Angelina Jolie double-feature that, for many and for all of their faults, defined the way it should be approached on-screen. But everything reboots, even videogame heroines, and so the recent Tomb Raider games have featured a younger, untested heroine, and that’s the approach also taken with the 2018 film featuring Alicia Wiklander. The result is not especially impressive. Petite Viklander isn’t much of a presence even as the not-yet-formidable Croft, and director Roar Uthaugturnins merely manages to deliver serviceable sequences along the way to yet another dull origin story. (Seriously, the decision to “re-introduce” Lara Croft is dumbfounding: here we have one of the few videogame household names, and you’re going to waste everyone’s time reintroducing a beginner’s version of her? Why bother?) Much of the film is boring digital mayhem, not shot with any wit or expertise—the lone exception being a sequence featuring an old aircraft fuselage and a cliffside waterfall. It’s all not quite terrible, but it’s definitely laborious—there’s a sense that this is the film we have to struggle through so that they can be bothered to make a real Lara Croft movie. The film chuckles to itself as it ends with a reveal of Croft dual-wielding guns, but it’s only the final nail in the exasperation felt by the movie not delivering what it should. I’m solidly whelmed by the perfunctory adventure movie that is this wholly useless Tomb Raider. Now let’s hurry up to the inevitable sequel to see whether they’ll manage to make something out of this redundant throat clearing.

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