Tomb Raider (2018)
Director: Roar Uthaug
Cast: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins
Synopsis: Laura Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.
Genre: Action, Adventure
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of violence and action, and for some language)
Release Date: March 16, 2018
Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is a young, seemingly ordinary woman struggling just to make ends meet. Her father, Richard Croft (Dominic West), a businessman but secretly an adventurer, vanished seven years ago looking for an ancient tomb on an island off the coast of Japan. After being called in to accept her inheritance, she inadvertently discovers his research and, refusing to believe he's dead, resolves to find him and bring him home.
Tomb Raider, based on the popular video game of the same name and a reboot of the 2001 film Laura Croft: Tomb Raider (Simon West) that starred Angelina Jolie in the title role, is a rollicking, albeit familiar adventure story. The film takes itself seriously, and doesn't provide much humor in the script (which is actually refreshing). In fact, viewers may get a little thrown off by the amount of emotional heft the film carries, which comes from the father-daughter relationship of Richard and Lara. Through a series of potent flashbacks, the film establishes the significance of Lara's relationship with her father and thus provides more than enough motive for her seeking to find him. The father-daughter theme is carried throughout the film and is more than successful in humanizing both characters while also demonstrating what is truly important and the value of such relationships.
On the other side, viewers who came for the action will not be disappointed, as Tomb Raider provides it in copious amounts. Several of its sequences recall the kind of fun action scenes from films like Indiana Jones, National Treasure, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time--scenes that incorporate ancient booby traps and the process of discovery of ancient remains. Though these scenes are entertaining, this is where Tomb Raider starts falling off the rails. Though some of the action sequences are grounded, many rely too heavily on CGI and are blatantly artificial, and toward the end viewers have to second guess whether they're watching a film or a video game--which is never a good thing. The redeeming factor is the film could have extended its CGI-laden philosophy to a global scale, but thankfully keeps everything contained on the island for the climax.
At the head of the action sequences is Alicia Vikander, who deserves substantial praise for her portrayal of Lara Croft. Vikander, an Oscar winner for her role in the film The Danish Girl (Tom Hooper, 2015) and a Golden Globe nominee for her role as the deceptive robot in Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2014), firmly establishes herself as an action heroine with Tomb Raider. Vikander brings boldness and versatility to the role by channeling her emotional range that won over audiences in her previous films.
Tomb Raider delivers the action, even though it plays off as a video game of itself in too many CGI-laden sequences. Though undoubtedly flawed from its action overdose and at times clichéd script, the film survives on its fun, entertaining story and Vikander's committed performance to make for a passable action flick.