Tomb Raider franchise, taking the story back to the beginning of Lara Croft's journey and showing her rise to become "Tomb Raider". A sacred artifact created by the ancient Mayan ... See full summary »
Intrepid British archaeologist Lara Croft has made perhaps the most important archaeological discovery in history: an orb that leads to the mythical Pandora's Box. Unfortunately, the orb falls into the hands of Jonathan Reiss, an evil scientist who deals in killer viruses and hopes to sell the secrets of the box as the ultimate weapon. Recruited by British Intelligence to get the orb back from Reiss, Lara recruits Terry Sheridan, a British marine turned mercenary (and her former love interest) to help. The two embark on an adventure that spans continents in an attempt to regain the orb... Written by
When I look at Jan De Bont's resumé, I think of all the brilliant Dutch projects he has worked upon, and then I think of the films he has directed in America. The gulf between the two is such that even the less discerning can't help but be amazed. This is, after all, the guy who worked alongside one of Holland's favourite sons, the legendary Paul Verhoeven, on such indisputable triumphs as Turks Fruit or Flesh + Blood. To call directing such dreck as Speed or Tomb Raider 2 a comedown is a form of flattery.
Lara Croft, Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life, also proves one of a certain critic's rules regarding appreciating film based on their titles. The rule basically states that the longer the title is, the worse the film will be. Just as RoboCop, clocking in at a mere seven characters, is one of the greatest films the American film industry has ever been blessed with, Tomb Raider 2's full title clocks in at a whopping forty-two. Believe me, the quality level indicated by this under the aforementioned rule is very much in force here.
A classic example of this film's idiocy is when Lara, bleeding from one leg and stranded outside an underwater crypt, punches a shark in the face before riding on his back and finding a quiet place to sleep out on the ocean for an unspecified period. I'm no expert on sharks, but I would have thought that the impediment to motion that being under several hundred feet of water poses would make a punch in the face feel to a shark what a light poke in the nose would feel to us under normal circumstances. Not to mention the fact that, after lying out in such a large body of water for so long with an open wound, at least another shark is bound to come along sooner or later.
One area where Jan deserves credit is that I've never seen him resort to the use of shaky-cam. Thankfully, directors of European origin saw right through the party line that this puts the audience into the action, and realized that it does nothing of the kind. As a result, while many shots are too close for comfort during action sequences, they are at least stable enough that one can make sense of the actors' motions. The fight scene choreography is of such a quality that it doesn't need to be hidden from the audience.
Angelina Jolie seems to have a lock on strong woman characters that are so generic she can portray them all alike, yet she does this template so well that at least this audience member fails to notice. The problem here is that every character in this film is so generic that you cannot help but notice. Jolie's acting is never that brilliant, but she looks like Anna Paquin next to Gerard Butler. Noah Taylor is another classic example of a reason why I am not surprised that Australian entertainers rarely manage to get out of the isolation tank that is Australia. Seriously, this guy could be reading a description of Angelina's naked body and bore the hell out of me.
I gave Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life a two out of ten. Don't mistake this to mean that it is necessarily better than the films I gave a one out of ten. When I give something a two out of ten, that means its mediocrity makes it seem like a deliberate waste of a good hundred million. Aside from Angelina Jolie in skin-tight lycra and a clever twist ending, there ain't nothing to see here, folks.
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