Tomb Raider was, and remains, a fantastic game franchise that has managed to stay around for over two decades. The original 1996 game took Indiana Jones and turned him into a confident British woman, with a mansion, large pyramidal breasts, and a bloodthirst for every animal that she came across.  A one-woman army against nature and archaeological dig site protocol, Lara slips past traps and shoots endangered animals with her iconic dual pistols.

Angelina Jolie, Tomb Raider
Angie, you can raid my tomb anytime.

You’ll be glad to hear that Angelina Jolie manages to bring the character of Lara Croft alive.  She has the look and the action down and looks like she is 15 years younger than the last movie that I saw her in. While it’s all played tongue in cheek she really shows off her acting chops and… *squints* I’ve watched the wrong movie haven’t I? That explains why I was able to find this on VHS while the movie was still in theaters.

2018’s Tomb Raider is not quite the faithful adaptation that one might hope for. The film is obviously heavily inspired by the 2013 reboot of the same name. It takes place on the same fictional island of Yamatai and centers around the real world myth of Himiko, the shaman queen of ancient Japan. After taking the skeleton of a plot and setting from one game, Tomb Raider plunders the grave of the other games for things, such as iconic traps and the villainous “Trinity” group from the more recent Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Tomb Raider 2013
The rebooted Lara Croft.

The movie manages to combine both a plot hole and a MacGuffin: her father’s notes on the mysterious island that “no one can get to”. These notes contain information that he could have only acquired by visiting the island which he never returned from.

Alicia Vikander may not resemble any incarnation of Lara Croft but she manages to pull off the action scenes with an enthusiasm that rises above the material she has to work with.  She commits to every moment and the one good thing I can say about the script is that Lara Croft is not a Mary Sue. She falls down plenty before triumphing and this was a breath of fresh air after the The Last Jedi.

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft.

Even bad movies can be enjoyable. I don’t recommend Tomb Raider to anyone expecting a good movie.  The acting is nothing to write home about, the plot is weak, and the movie somehow manages to feel dated. The climax then demands you to believe that a disease, and not magic, turns people’s skin black in seconds and causes them to turn into a rage zombie on top of that. If you go in with your eyes open though, the movie can be enjoyable only to see Alicia Vikander pull off some well executed action sequences, scenes, and a bicycle chase scene seemingly there as filler.

 Tomb Raider Vs The Five Bs Of Enjoyable Bad Movies

Blood

There is a significant body count of characters with no names. Strangely, lots of people managed to make it to the island “nobody can get to”.  The main character gets plenty beat up while traversing the wilds of the island, and kills at least one guy really, really hard.

Babes

Alicia Vikander is certainly a fit and trim figure, but really doesn’t come off as anything resembling a babe in the entirety of the film. There is not a drop of eye candy in the ocean of this low-effort movie hoping to cash in on the name recognition; a far cry from Angelina Jolie’s explosive performances. The removal of sex appeal could have differentiated it from the cheese of the first two films, if the movie was any good.

Baddie

Walton Goggins plays Mathias Vogel. He seems like the producers were trying to have a cold, calculating, charismatic leader and failed. Or maybe they really were trying for a villain who was phoning it in,  as if executing people was part of his 9 to 5 grind, and he was just treading water until retirement.

Boom

There were some decent explosions, tombs falling apart, planes falling over waterfalls, giant storms spinning a fishing boat like it was a toy. The spectacle was there, even if the special effects felt dated.

Bad Acting

The acting was mediocre from beginning to end. Alicia Vikander came through with some decent scenes pretty much anytime she wasn’t talking. Scenes such as when she experiences a severe injury, kills a man for the first time, or finally confronts her foe with grit and determination, were solidly executed.

Outside of action scenes, however, there was something to be desired. Vikander delivers her lines with all the quality of early Tomb Raider cutscenes on the PS1. She managed to remind me I was watching a movie whenever she opened her mouth, and it seems none of her on-screen colleagues even attempted to outshine her.

BBBBB

36 COMMENTS

  1. My wife is gonna drag me to this, because she was a huge Tomb Raider player/fan. But even shes complaining the boobs ain’t big enough. Then again she Hated the swill that was The Last Jedi too…so for that alone I’ll jump on the grenade and go see this.

  2. I feel like I’ve seen the movie thanks to this review. Now I don’t actually have to go see it thankfully.

    • The term originated in Star Trek fan fiction where it referred to a brand new character who outshone all the regular characters and usually bore a suspicious resemblance to the author. These days it has come to refer to any female character in a movie who achieves things with impossible ease and has no apparent flaws or vulnerabilities.

  3. This just got raped by 4th week black panther ticket sales… for better or worse there is not gonna be more tomb raider for awhile :/

  4. “The climax then demands you to believe that a disease, and not magic, turns people’s skin black in seconds and causes them to turn into a rage zombie on top of that. ”

    and what’s the problem with that? how is that considered an intrinsic flaw of the film? does this make all the zombie movies are bad because of a disease that cant possibly exist?

    • The disease itself doesn’t bother me so much as smugly about the superstitious past… when it’s something that clearly is magical or at least nothing resembling any recorded disease.

      • it doesnt matter if it is not a recorded disease. this is a work of fiction, not a documentary. the fact that Himiko’s magic is actually a disease makes the movie more grounded, because a disease is something that exists in our world. it’s like turning the Asgardians in the MCU from gods to aliens. the existence of aliens has not been officially recorded but it still makes the Marvel movies more grounded to reality because aliens are tangible, organic, something that we can understand better than an abstract concept like magic.

        the real question is would have made the movie better if they had followed the supernatural aspect of the games? dunno.

        • Magic is more grounded in reality than a disease spread by touch that kills someone in seconds. Trying to ground that in reality by calling it a disease just makes it more bizarre.

          And how are magic space aliens more grounded than gods of equal stature. Neither have been recorded, and both seem as fantastical.

          • magic is not more grounded that a disease which kills in seconds. magic doesnt exist at all. period.
            diseases which kill in a matter of hours do exist. that makes the disease in the movie not impossible, only implausible. thus more believable than magic.

            obviously because there is a difference between an alien with supernatural powers and an alien with more advanced tech. which is the more believable of those two?

          • Magic is way more believable in a movie than a disease that kills in seconds supposedly being “grounded”. You can tell me that “a wizard did it” in a fictional setting, you can’t tell me that something we are aware of acts exactly like magic, but anyone who thinks it’s not is superstitious.

            Like Thor, who has all of the properties of a god vs being a god… that would be the same level of believable. They even dropped the whole tech explanation in the third movie and straight up called him a god as he shot lighting from his own fingertips and not an alien crafted hammer.

          • no, magic is not more believable than a super lethal diseases. magic doesnt exist. super lethal diseases exist. you have to use less suspension of disbelief to accept a disease which kills in seconds than to accept an unknown power which kills in seconds. this is pretty obvious and I dont understand why we are even discussing it.

  5. I thought it was really bland. No excitement or joy whatsoever.
    Vikander is great in the role though. Wouldn’t mind seeing her again as Lara with a better script and director.

    • She is cute, but not a “Smokeshow” by any means. I’d file her in the same cabinet as the actress who plays Dany on GoT. Guys are gaga for her though she really has no “vavoom.” Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t kick her off the couch for drinking all my beer, but really, if she’s “smoking” what do we call truly statuesque and gorgeous women?

  6. Video game Croft really looked physically like a super model, and this actress looks more like her younger less hot sister. But it’s cool, I guess. I’ll watch it for dumb entertainment with beer and pretzels.

    As an aside, my high school sweetheart was tall and pretty like video game Laura, and actually went on to a career in archeology. Probably wasn’t shooting tigers; more likely was busy fucking her professors when not sweltering in the desert brushing dirt off ancient dried turds.

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