Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Review Date:
Director: Jan De Bont
Writer: Dean Georgaris
Producers: Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin
Angelina Jolie
Gerard Butler
Ciaran Hinds
Adventurer Lara Croft is back and this time, she’s out to retrieve the “cradle of life”, an orb that will help her find Pandora’s Box, an archeological discovery that will apparently reek havoc onto the world if captured by the wrong person. The wrong person in this case is a baddie named Reiss who wants to destroy the world…or something. Why? Not sure, but I think it has something to do with his overacting. Other than that, Croft looks way hot. Action is supposed to ensue…
This franchise needs to be given to someone who knows how to make a fun, all-around exciting adventure film (Stephen Sommers perhaps?) and not the folks who have been draining the life out of its vivid lead character of Lara Croft over its initial two installments (Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin…please hand the reigns of this series to someone else…you don’t know what the hell you’re doing). This film’s biggest problem is that it’s just plain boring. That wouldn’t be so much of a crime if it were a drama based on the life and times of one Elizabeth Croft, or a romantic liaison between an indecipherable Englishman and a mysterious rich woman, but it’s not…it’s a friggin’ video game movie…it’s a friggin’ adventure…it’s about a kickass girl with big tits who likes to shoot shit up with two guns!! Where is the fun?? Where is the high energy?? Where is the all-around action, coherent story & eye-catching adventures?? Not here, that’s fer sure. The one thing that I will say about this film, much like the first one, is that Angelina Jolie IS Lara Croft through and through. They seriously could not have cast a more appropriate, and stunningly gorgeous, actress in the lead part, but did anyone consider writing a cool screenplay for her? Apparently not. Repeating the words “cradle of life” about a zillion times in a movie does not a great film make. And it’s not so much that the story sucked, but the action was also rudimentary, the feats, serviceable at best and the humor…lacking and unfunny (except for one somewhat “quirky” scene in which SpongeBob SquarePants makes an appearance).

The folks behind this movie should be looking at the original CHARLIE’S ANGELS and the INDIANA JONES series for inspiration about what works. They should drop the whole “let’s put Lara in as many locations as possible and hope that nobody notices that the story sucks ass” angle, and write a friggin’ FUN story about a woman who can kick ass, intellectualize with the best of them and keep us engaged for two hours straight. I actually enjoyed the last 20 minutes of this film because it featured some innovative exploits, Lara in a skintight tank-top (about time!!) and atmospheric settings (most everything in Asia looked the same and the indoor stuff felt like sets). On top of all that, the directing in this film also stunk to high heaven. Jan De Bont should go back to what he does best and that is…hmmmm, what DOES he do best?? Slapping some bullshit CGI into this movie felt out of place (didn’t you get that out of your system in the crappy THE HAUNTING), the slow motion shots were very straight-to-video-ish and the story, swiss cheese-esque. By the end of the film, characters would escape but be immediately found by others, while no explanation was offered as to how they would accomplish this. If you’re going to have the baddie find a goodie in the middle of nowhere…give the audience an ounce of credit and present them with a plausible rationalization behind it. So yes, Angelina Jolie is still as dazzling as ever here, her nips as erect as ever (they actually pierce through her friggin’ wetsuit) and the final bit is so-so, but the rest of the movie is just “there”, the set pieces are forgettable, the story drags and features time-wasting explanatory sessions and useless translations between tribespeople and the whole thing sadly ends on a stupid romantic plot-point, which as per everything I’ve said in this review, doesn’t work either.

Oh yeah, someone should also think about spicing this series up with charismatic bad guys and engaging secondary characters because other than Lara, I could barely make out anything that Gerard Butler was mumbling about or care about what anyone else was saying or doing. Essentially, if you dug the first TOMB RAIDER, you’ll likely enjoy this turd as well, but for me, I consider this franchise as buried as the one with the dude in the batsuit. Lara Croft…where are you!?!?

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian