Movie Review: Alicia Vikander Is A Gritty Lara Croft In The New ‘Tomb Raider’

But is that enough to beat the ‘Video Game Movie’ Curse?

Tomb Raider (PG13)

Starring Alicia Vikander, Daniel Wu, Walton Goggins

Directed by Roar Uthaug

I’m not the person to review this movie. Don’t get me wrong: I play video games, and Tomb Raider is one of them. Here’s the thing, I’m one of those gamers who usually skips the story part, and just jumps straight into the action.

So the idea of watching a movie based on a video game is like watching someone else playing a game, without the option of skipping the story bit.

In other words: Without the interactive component, watching Tomb Raider just isn’t as fun as playing it. It’s the same issue I had with the first two Tomb Raider movies starring Angelina Jolie. (Or, for that matter, any movie based on a video game.)  

Still, I appreciate that the filmmakers have assembled a stellar cast to tell the origin story of Lara Croft, which involves the adventurous heiress and future obtainer of rare antiquities searching for some ancient Japanese death cult artifact.

I much prefer Vikander’s Croft, more down-to-earth and grittier than Jolie’s version, who comes off as a snobbish spoilt brat. Elsewhere, I wish Daniel Wu had more screen-time as Croft’s comrade-in-arms, but most of the time, I’m relieved that he isn’t a caricature. And Walton Goggins? You can never go wrong with him as the bad guy — he just looks like one.

There’s another reason why I’m not the person to review this movie: I’m a big fan of Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Mummy (the Brendan Fraser one, not the Tom Cruise snoozer) and Jackie Chan’s Armour of God, so everything that happens in Tomb Raider reminds me of those movies.

Their action set-pieces are less video gamey, and they have something Tomb Raider doesn’t — a sense of awe. Tomb Raider doesn’t suck, but neither does it rock.

Think of it as a soft drink left out in the open: You can still drink it, but it’s kinda flat and not as thirst-quenching. If it’s any consolation, Tomb Raider is way more entertaining than the cheerless Assassin’s Creed, starring Vikander’s husband Michael Fassbender. (**1/2) 

Photo: Warner Bros

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