Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
The popular video game series comes to life as Angelina Jolie suits up as the action heroine Lara Croft, a publishing magnate who travels to exotic locations to uncover ancient artifacts. She speaks numerous languages, is highly trained for combat and answers to no one, obeying only a desire for adventure.
Now she must face her greatest challenge yet: to find two halves of an ancient artifact buried in space and time. To possess it means ultimate power for its possessor. But to get there, she must first take on a powerful and dangerous secret society. The fate of mankind rests in the hands of twenty-first century heroine Lara Croft – a cross between Modesty Blaise and Wonder Woman.
Unlike the video game, there are deadly moments where the pacing lags and the story becomes convoluted, but then the action kicks in. Adults who enjoyed the “Indiana Jones” films and the first two “Batman” installments may find the MTV-styled production values, with its quick and constant editing and its pounding, monotonous score, less than satisfying. But adolescent males, who enjoy seeing a buffed-up woman kicking the tails of bad guys and shooting twin hybrid 45s, will likely find this action flick satisfying. For there is a lot of stylized action, including blowups, shoot ’em ups and beat ’em ups – all sharply choreographed.
Although the lead lives on her terms alone, she is motivated to do the right thing; in this case, saving mankind from villains who would control time.
With a $100 million budget, gobs of special effects and stunts, exciting and well-filmed locals, the pairing of Jolie and her real life dad, Jon Voight, plus a striking heroine with lots and lots of attitude, “Tomb Raider” is a thrilling popcorn movie aimed at a youthful summer matinee crowd. It’s loud and silly, but kind of fun.
If you are looking for a jungle adventure that includes a love interest and a well-thought-out story along with its thrilling action, try renting the video “King Solomon’s Mines.” Stewart Granger heads an African safari in search of a fabled diamond mine. Pass on the remake with Richard Chamberlain. While it has a youthful Sharon Stone, it also has a dismal script and cheesy production values.