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Angelina Jolie returns as a distaff Indiana Jones in "Lara Croft Tomb
Raider: Cradle of Life," an action/adventure film (based on a video
game character) that is just goofy enough and inane enough to be almost
In this follow-up adventure - which is designed to give historians and social studies teachers a severe case of the heebie-jeebies - Lara, the world-famous archaeologist and adventurist, finds evidence that the mythical Pandora's Box is really no myth at all, but rather an actual object loaded with enough plague and pestilence to wipe the entire human race off the face of the planet. It lies buried somewhere, hidden by Alexander the Great in the 4th Century B.C. when he discovered how virulent and deadly the contents of the box really were. Now, twenty-four centuries later, Lara has to try and prevent an evil billionaire capitalist from locating the container, prying open the lid, and bringing an end to civilization as we know it.
Though the storyline is clearly not one to be conjured with, all that really matters in a movie such as this one is that the action move quickly and the stunts be sufficiently enterprising to engage the audience. Credibility is the last prerequisite in a Lara Croft adventure, as evidenced by the fact that if Lara isn't parachuting smack dab onto the deck of a ship or into the passenger seat of a moving jeep, she's hitching a ride on the back of a great white shark and riding it to safety. Ah well, it's all in good fun, I suppose, and Jolie not only looks stunning in all the outfits she's been given to wear, but seems to be having a fine time playing along with the joke.
The ending is inevitably anticlimactic, but viewers can have a pretty good time getting there at least.
Although Cradle of Life won't go down in movie history as an all-time
classic, I am mystified at why so many critics and moviegoers hated
In my opinion, this movie is much better than the first Tomb Raider film. The first film was entertaining, make no mistake, but it still had too much of a comic book feel and 'Angelina Jolie' (qv) had not yet gotten a firm grasp of the Lara Croft role. In Cradle of Life, both Lara and Jolie show newfound maturation, and this makes her (both actress and fictional character) much more interesting to watch. Heck, even Jolie's faux British accent is more convincing the second time around. I was one of the many who protested when she was cast in the role; the first film left be unconvinced, but she finally won me over in her second outing.
The story is also more interesting in the second film, with the whole Pandora's Box angle being something more worthy of Tomb Raider than the tired old "conspiracy out to take over the world" plot of the first film.
There are some aspects of the second film that I didn't care for as much. Lara, for one thing, is far more deadlier this second time around and at one point seriously considers gunning down a man in cold blood. This type of behavior is more fitting for James Bond than Lady Lara Croft. But once I got used to the idea of Lara Croft 007, I didn't mind it so much. (Indeed, if Hollywood ever follows through with it's long-threatened female Bond film, they could do far worse than get Angelina Jolie for the role of Jane(?) Bond.)
What appealed to me in Cradle of Life is how familiar Lara, her background, and her supporting characters have become with only one previous film under their belts. No time is spent explaining who she is and why she lives in such a huge mansion (which sadly appears only briefly). This level of familiarity, of character comfort, is something I've only ever seen once before -- in the Bond series.
Cradle of Life also features some most impressive set pieces that may not necessarily advance the story, but are great to watch, such as a zoom in from outer space on Lara riding a motorcycle, an incredible zoom-in shot THROUGH the window of Croft Manor, and a great scene of Lara shooting at targets while riding a horse -- sidesaddle!
Sadly, the critical and box office failure of Cradle of Life probably guarantees no further entries in the series, and even if it does continue, Jolie looks ready to follow Audrey Hepburn's lead and put acting on the back burner in favor of humanitarian work so the role will probably go to another (possibly less talented) actress. If this turns out to be the case, I believe the Lara Croft series looks set to be remembered as fondly as the Derek Flint films of the 1960s.
Anyone who has been scared away by the bad reviews could do worse than to rent a copy from their local video store and check it out. You might be surprised at how much fun the movie is.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is an improvement over the original as it delivers more action and adventure. Archaeologist and explorer extraordinaire, Lara Croft, journeys to a temple which has sunken underwater in search of lost treasures. During her expedition, Croft happens upon a sphere that contains the mythical Pandora's Box, only to have it stolen from her by Chen Lo, the leader of a Chinese crime syndicate. Chen Lo is in league with a bad guy named Reiss, who wants to use the priceless Box as a doomsday weapon. The plot sounds okay but the main reason someone would see this film is for the action scenes and Angelina Jolie. People just wanting those two things will probably enjoy this film. People that want a good story and better direction should skip this film. The action scenes are really cool and are done well. However, the story is weak and the film doesn't quite make sense at times either. I think the person that should be blamed is Jan de Bont. He is a terrible director and can't build up suspense very well. He did a bit better then Simon West but still the studio should have hired someone else. The acting is good not great but nothing horrible either. Angelina Jolie does a good job of playing Lara Croft and she is also very breathtaking in the film. Gerard Butler does a good job as well though sometimes his performance wasn't very interesting. The action scenes are really cool and are done well. Another problem I had with this film is that it gets boring at times. Having a lot of action doesn't mean its audience will be entertained. The movie's running time is 117 minutes which is a bit longer then the original. I think they could have cut the film down to about the same length as there some pointless scenes. If you hated the original then you should skip this film as the film is more of the same but it is more entertaining. As long as you don't try to notice too many of the mistakes in the film then you should enjoy it. If your looking for a serious action flick then just skip this. Rating 6.8/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
ANGELINA JOLIE makes the most of showing her prowess at performing
stunts that any male would envy, but the showcase for her physical
skills is hardly worthy of her presence. The script is as shallow as
the video game it is based on and no one has much of a chance to give
any depth to their characters.
As a result, even her co-star, hunky Gerard Butler with his Scottish accent, has trouble registering more than a "go through the motions" kind of performance. The chemistry between him and Jolie can only be described as "icy". Not to worry. He later steamed up the screen two years later with his Phantom role and a scorching "Point of No Return" sequence that had his female fans gasping for breath. Here, I have to report, he is sadly wasted, except for a couple of daring stunts that he and Jolie perform well together.
Ciarin Hinds, as the villain, later joined Butler for PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. He would have been more convincing here with the mustache he assumed for his Phantom character. Something is missing in his evil portrait. He just doesn't seem comfortable in the role.
Things keep moving, stunts every few minutes, explosions, gunfire, jumping off tall buildings, dazzling neon explosions, all accompanied by Alan Silvestri's booming soundtrack music. But in the end, all we have left with is a stuntathon sort of thing that is pointless in tracing the story of the search for Pandora's Box and the quest for an orb. It's cliffhanger stuff for the mindless and that's about all.
Not worth two hours of viewing time and the ending is rather lame.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With tongue firmly in cheek, the story of this film is a series of
preposterous events, but what are we to expect of a game made into a
movie? Angelina Jolie is Lady Lara Croft, and is stunning in her skin
tight gray diving suit. Ciaran Hinds (Phantom Of The Opera) is the
villain, a scientist bent on getting his hands on the Pandora's box
containing the essence of all evil, in order to rule the world. Lara is
having none of that, and enlists her former partner Terry Sheridan
(Gerard Butler - The Phantom) to help find it and keep it away from
There are some wonderful set pieces throughout the film as with the underwater temple; Lara arriving at the boat to start the expedition on a jet ski (wowser!); the shark to the rescue (huh?); the sub to the rescue (double huh?). More: at the Croft mansion the kung fu; the sidesaddle horse riding while shooting at targets (wow!); at the prison getting Terry released - her in her white fur amid all that filth; Terry doing pull ups dripping sweat; Terry looking down from his bars saying "Croft" in just the right way to let us know this is one dangerous hombre. And his devastating comment to Lara "I AM Charming" and isn't he just? The motorcycle race between Lara and Terry across the great wall in China was fun. Him telling her "don't look at my ass" as they climb a hill was cute and funny.
The famous sex scene is so reversed - she is the one in charge and he ends up her prey and victim - is one for the books. Nice eye candy for all of us out here in the real world.
That's the good stuff. There are some strange choices made by the director (or whoever?) A wedding celebration on the edge of a precipice to show the quake at the beginning? Lots of money for what purpose - didn't add anything for me. The upside-down gunfight as Lara and Terry escape once again. Sorry, the thrill is gone and it bombed.
Simon Chow is good and in his Hong Kong films a real menace - but here was wasted. Croft running up the car shooting - a la Chow Yun Fat in some of his 1980's films - is blatant 'borrowing.' All the shooting out of glass in the office building - a la "Die Hard" - been there done that.
AND!!! What is with the Shadow Guardians in the last fourth of film. We go from sort of realism filtered through game playing mentality into science fiction. Blech! Lame! Cinematography is gorgeous and some of the sound track music is fine. Overall a more good than bad - 7/10
Considering "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" was pretty good entertainment,
this sequel was a disappointment. Critics disagreed and liked this one
better, but I disagree with them. As with most sequels, it just
overdoes what was popular in the first film.
In this case, that means the action is WAY overdone (since it was too much on the first film, to begin with); "Laura" becomes WAY too much of a feminist-macho icon and Jolie's British accent here is so phony it's embarrassing, and annoying to hear.
On he good side, I enjoyed the exotic locales (Far East and Africa), it had very little profanity and some of the stunts were wild and fun to watch. As far as I know, they don't have another sequel planned, which is smart.
I have to say this was overall a great movie. The main reason I think this
might be because of my love to video-games, and I loved Resident Evil and
the first Tomb Raider movie too.
I wasn't really a fan when I saw the first movie, I'd never played a Tomb Raider game before, but I decided to give it a go as it looked really cool.
I went to the cinema to watch it and after that time I'm a big Tomb Raider fan. The movie was great, in my opinion. So I looked forward to play the games and wait for a sequel.
And here the sequel is. Lived up to most of my expectations. I've already watched it twice on the cinema in one week, and I still love it.
The first "action" scene was a good start of the movie. The Luna Temple collapsing and having bad guys shooting at you at the same time, was interesting to see. And it didn't take long before next actionscene, which never made this movie any boring.
I loved the humor and stunts too. There are many funny moments and stunts I remember well. Angeline is perfect as Lara Croft and I really hope they will make a Tomb Raider 3.
If I am to complain about something, it has to be about several things not being explained enough. The meeting in the plane in the beginning of the movie still leaves me with two questions. And some better character developments wouldn't have hurt.
This second movie in the 'Tomb Raider' series was a disapointment for me. I was not a great fan of the first one either. Certainly Angelina Jolie is as sexy as you can get, but there is too little else in her character to make her the female James Bond that the authors of the series want her to be. Even the sentimental track in this second movie does not succeed to make her more real. Director Jan de Bont succeeded much better with the original story in 'Speed' or the reality-TV like effects in 'Twister'. In 'Tomb Raider 2' he is just mixing a potion of James Bond with a little bit of Indiana Jones, without too much of a result. If you did not see it yet, you may as well wait for the DVD. 6/10 on my personal scale.
It's possible that my having been the sole audience for this film at a
recent showing in my local multiplex diminished my enjoyment of it, but I
suspect that my lack of affection for this movie really stems from the lazy,
ill-conceived script and appalling direction that the actors couldn't have
broken out of if they'd wanted to.
I'm not about to complain about any lack of fidelity to the official back-story, or even to the games themselves - it's a popcorn movie for heaven's sake - but I've been unable to figure out why you'd drop a character like Lara Croft into a Roger Moore-era Bond flick, much less one with any sense of humour forcibly removed. Unless you're a big fan of retro-chic (or are too young to remember the originals), the opening Mediterranean location scenes with dear but disposable friends, clichéd underwater sequences and fail-on-cue architecture aren't likely to inspire much amazement. The rest is basic, bad guy gets the McGuffin, MI6 points our hero(ine) in the right direction, lots of gun battles with armies of incompetent henchmen ensue, the McGuffin is retrieved and hey, we're set up for the last act. This is a "Tomb Raider" film in name only - there is no significant part of the movie that would prevent it having been rolled out under a different franchise.
Done with knowing humour and a little more affection for the genre, this could still have been a fun if parodic outing. For some reason though, the screenwriter whose credits include two "Die Hard" movies and "The Running Man" chose to deliver a script that keeps a straight face when only a raised eyebrow to the camera could have saved it. Dialogue is almost entirely conducted in clichés, the villains' security arrangements are so appalling that you expect to see Mike Myers make a cameo appearance as Dr Evil and the - admittedly well performed - stunts mostly end up looking like set pieces, rather than an integral part of the story.
So, can I not find it in myself to say anything nice about this movie? Well as noted, the stunts aren't bad and some of the cinematography is pretty darned good as well. The principals though are mostly turning in the kind of acting-by-numbers performances which suggest that they (a) signed their contracts before reading the script, or (b) regarded this assignment only as a way of paying for their new swimming pool.
Yes, Angelina Jolie is gorgeous. That's not enough reason in itself to see this movie though. Let's be honest, if your primary motivation for seeing this film is the poster shot of her there in a slinky wetsuit, save yourself a few bucks by walking past the cinema to the video rental shop and check out some of her past performances. Not only will you see more flesh, you might even get to see what good actress she can be when the mood (and the script) suits her.
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