I’m usually very rough on video game inspired movies because—well—pretty much all of them suck. Save for “Mortal Kombat,” which is kind of fun if you’re in the right mood. After two goofy attempts to adapt the iconic adventure video game series “Tomb Raider” to the big screen, Warner reboots the movie series by—adapting the reboot of the video game from 2013. While I’d be hard pressed to call Roar Uthaug’s cinematic take on Lara Croft a masterpiece, I had a really good time with “Tomb Raider,” and that’s all I wanted in the end.
“Tomb Raider” is a virtual reboot and prequel, where we meet a new Croft who has abandoned her family fortune in favor of living life on the streets and working as a bike courier. After her dad passes away, he leaves behind a mystery for her to solve, involving an ancient temple and a mythical queen said to spread death where ever she goes. After venturing out to find her dad, she’s taken hostage by Mathias Vogel, a deadly explorer who also wants what’s in the temple. A lot of “Tomb Raider” involves Croft basically surviving by the skin of her teeth, and Vikander’s performance is dazzling. It’s taken a lot to think of Lara Croft as anything other than an Indiana Jones wannabe, but Vikander sets her interpretation apart, with a Croft who has to improvise where ever she is, and bears an underlying sense of brilliance that she begins to realize once she’s pushed in to a corner.
Vikander is very good as Croft, presenting a less sexualized take from predecessor Angelina Jolie. This Croft gets down and dirty quite often and thinks on her toes so much, you’ll be rooting for her by the mid-way point. “Tomb Raider” is Vikander’s show with some darn fun action sequences, great CGI, and some sharp martial arts choreography, to boot. I enjoyed Walton Goggins in the film as a simple enough villain with a simple motivation, anxiously trying to raid the tomb for the film’s macguffin. And he will do whatever it takes, even committing cold blooded murder. There are also some fine supporting performances by Dominic West, and Daniel Wu. “Tomb Raider” is the epitome of a popcorn action movie. It feels like a classic movie serial, reboots the universe of Lara Croft with a grittier down to Earth to flavor, and some exciting set pieces.
That’s not to say “Tomb Raider” isn’t flawed, as I found the mid-way discovery of Lara to be a real reach in logic, not to mention the mid-credits scene was not only cheesy, but painfully predictable. I also wish Daniel Wu’s character had more to do in the movie, overall. That said, some people loved the inherent silliness of the Angeline Jolie films, but I’m glad that most of the camp is stripped away in favor of a darker, grittier and much more riveting adventure film. I had a good time with “Tomb Raider,” and I hope we can see a follow up in the same vein very soon.
There surprisingly isn’t very much material here for fans to chew on with this release. Maybe the 4K release has much more? There’s at least a Digital copy, and a DVD copy for folks that still own DVD players. As for extras, “Tomb Raider: Uncovered” is a seven minute stock EPK with interviews and soundbites from the cast and crew, and how this movie is tied to the 2013 video game. “Croft Training” is a basic six minute look at how Alicia Vikander got in shape for Lara Croft. “Breaking Down the Rapids” is a five minute look at the epic river rapids sequence, and finally “Lara Croft: Evolution of an Icon” is a nearly ten minute look at the legacy of games that spawned the film, and the origins of Lara Croft, the video game icon.