Lara Croft, Tomb Raider
Raiders of the Lost Tomb. Lara and Manfred (Jolie and Glen) pause for a chat...
dir Simon West
scr Patrick Massett, John Zinman
with Angelina Jolie, Iain Glen, Daniel Craig, Jon Voight, Noah Taylor, Leslie Phillips, Chris Barrie, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Mark Collie, Rachel Appleton, Richard Johnson
release US 15.Jun.01; UK 6.Jul.01
01/UK 1h45

2 out of 5 stars

R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E

who is lara croft? The image of Angelina Jolie as computer game hero Lara Croft is so powerful that you desperately want to like this film. She looks the part ... perfectly. And it seems like the filmmakers got equally caught up in the idea of Jolie as Croft, so much so that they forgot to build a credible movie around her.

It's always astonishing to see yet another mega-budget film based on a wisp of a script. It all hinges on a planetary alignment that only happens every 5,000 years and has the power to unleash an artefact that will allow its owner to control time itself. A power-mad Illuminati member (Glen) wants it, and hires top raider Alex West (Craig) to help him. But Alex's chief rival Lara is led into the chase by her beloved-yet-deceased father (Voight) who left clues galore for her to follow. It's a race against time itself from London to Cambodia to the Arctic Circle, with comic sidekicks (Taylor, Rhind-Tutt and Barrie) and at least one wizened cameo (Phillips).

But that makes the story sound intriguing. It isn't. There's not a single line of believable dialog; almost all of the script was stolen liberally from other films, leaving only one thing we haven't seen before: Jolie in skin tight outfits that reveal her ample figure ... dangling from cables and vines and bungy chords, jumping over people on motorbikes, swinging on giant stone bridges, scrambling around monstrous mechanical machines, and constantly leaping, running and shooting with gigantic automatic pistols in each fist. But even that makes the action sound terrific. It isn't. Instead of doing anything clever or interesting with all the flashy stuntwork, the filmmakers rely on mere gunfire for the most part, with the odd explosion and a bit of action chaos here and there. Despite fine production values, all the sets look like film sets. And as things get more and more out of control, we begin to feel like we're being bludgeoned by the movie, while the overwhelming direness recalls Wild Wild West more than once (although it must be said that this is far more entertaining than that disaster). If only director West (Con Air) had remembered that he was essentially making a comic book movie and put his tongue in his cheek. He seems to feel we should take all this seriously. As if.
themes, violence cert 12 15.Jun.01

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Joanne Lynch, Clacton-on-Sea: 5 out of 5 stars "the best film i have ever watched. the action is thrilling, i think choosing Angelina Jolie to play lara croft was the best bit of the film. she did all her own stunts and made the character look as real as she could ever look. I would tell anyone who hasn't seen it to go and watch it straight away." (29.Jan.04)
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall