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dir Roar Uthaug
prd Graham King
scr Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons
with Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi, Hannah John-Kamen, Josef Altin, Billy Postlethwaite, Michael Obiora, Nick Frost, Jaime Winstone
release UK 14.Mar.18, US 16.Mar.18
18/UK Warner 1h58
We're going in: Wu and Vikander
LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (2001)
LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER - CRADLE OF LIFE (2003)
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
There may not be much to this action franchise revamp, but it's skilfully shot, edited and performed. It's a rare blockbuster that respects the laws of physics and nature, grounding everything in a believable way that makes it easier to get involved in the escalating mayhem. And if it's never properly suspenseful, at least it's exciting and tense.
Seven years after Lord Croft (West) went missing, his daughter Lara (Vikander) is working as a London bicycle courier, reluctant to accept his death and assume control of the family business, despite pressure from her ward Ana (Scott Thomas). Following her father's trail, Lara heads to an uncharted Japanese island with the help of a shifty sailor (Wu). There they discover a mercenary (Goggins) ruthlessly trying to exploit the island's secrets, and Lara has the final clue he so badly needs. But does the tomb really contain a force that can wipe out humanity?
Director Uthaug (The Wave) nods heavily to Indiana Jones with both the plot and storytelling style, but with a steelier lead and more grounded mythology. He steadily progresses through chase scenes involving bikes in London and boats in Hong Kong before raising the stakes on the island. In all of this, there's a sense that actors are doing their own stunts, which adds zing to a plot that threatens to spiral off into fantasyland at any moment.
Vikander brings her athleticism to Lara, so much so that it's impossible to believe it when a male character bests her in hand-to-hand combat. That nagging knowledge that a franchise star can't die eliminates any real peril, but she does take some serious beatings. And Vikander brings set pieces to life with sardonic humour and dark determination. Opposite her, Wu makes a terrific adventurer cohort, Goggins shines as a textured baddie, and Scott Thomas steals the film with an arched eyebrow, making us impatient for a sequel.
The filmmakers stir in just enough father-daughter drama, giving Vikander and West a chance to play some strongly emotional moments without dipping into sentimentality. Otherwise, this is all about the action, and the inventive camerawork, seamless effects and pacey story keep the audience thoroughly entertained. There are twists and gags along the way to raise the bar a little, but this is still a popcorn movie. And with its realistic slant and a refusal to fetishise its strong female hero, it's seriously stronger than the last attempt at this franchise.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2018 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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