QUICK ATTACK – Re-Watching Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

I’m a fan of the recent Tomb Raider (2013) game that came out a couple of years ago. Lara Croft’s origin story where she’s scrambling for her life on a strange island with vicious killers after her was a thrilling adventure. You felt just as out of your depth as Lara did, and death could greet you around every corner. So sitting down to watch the movie inspired by older games in this franchise was an interesting experience.

Tomb RaiderNow, full disclaimer: I haven’t played any of the older Tomb Raider games. I know of them, have seen them played, but have never sat down and gone through any of them, myself. So I’m not totally sure just how this movie stacks up against those games, but as I don’t recall people losing their minds over it, I can imagine that it didn’t stray too far from the source material. Lara’s here, she’s got big boobs and double pistols, she goes around the world and raids some tombs while bad men try to kill her. That’s all well and good, a video game on screen.

What effects.
What effects.

And the movie itself isn’t even terrible! It’s really pretty forgettable and inconsequential, but it’s certainly not the worst thing ever made. Some of the effects are dated, the plot is paper-thin, but the action is decent and the performances are good enough that you are kept interested. In fact, the performances are the best part of this movie. The cast is surprisingly talented for a video game movie.

The film stars Angelina Jolie in the title role, and while she has her eccentricities as a person, she’s actually a very capable actress and turns in a good performance here. Some may complain that her and her sweater puppies are mostly eye candy, but she kicks her share of ass in this movie and has an undeniable charisma. You get the feeling that she revels in the adventure and danger of her life and that she’s been doing this a long time.

Plus, should someone say she is there for her looks, guess what? We’ve got a pre-James Bond Daniel Craig thrown in the mix to even things out! He even gets his own shower scene to balance out Angelina’s! He’s got a fun American accent too, and gives a fine performance.

Dude on the left is the director, Simon West. And I love this picture.
Dude on the left is the director, Simon West. And I love this picture.

Additionally, there are two Game of Thrones actors who share the screen here. One, Noah Taylor, who plays Lara’s tech genius Bryce, also doubles as comedic relief and brings some remarkably subdued levity to things. Another, Iain Glen, plays a fiendish villain who chews some serious scenery, but is clearly having fun in the role. Ser Jorah, I never thought you could be so evil.

Khaleesi would be so disappointed in you... again.
Khaleesi would be so disappointed in you… again.

So, as I said, this movie really isn’t all that bad. It’s very early-2000’s and certainly feels it, but is also decently fun! If you’re already paying for Netflix, it’s not a bad way to spend an evening at all. You’ve got some great actors being goofy and shooting giant stone monsters and travelling in time. Honestly, the thing that bugged me the most was how nobody seemed surprised by the monsters and the time travel. Just another day at the office for Lara Croft and her enemies, I suppose. Very Dr. Venture vs. The Monarch, but that’s definitely not a bad thing. It’s a far cry from the Lara I got to know in Tomb Raider (2013), and I wonder if she will some day end up like Angelina’s Lara.

Though, what it all boils down to is that this might still be the best video game movie that’s been made yet. Which is sad, but when your greatest competition is Need for Speed and Resident Evil, it’s really not all that surprising. But still, go Lara!

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