Review: Tomb Raider (2018)


Tomb Raider (2018)

Directed by: Roar Uthaug | 118 minutes | action, adventure | Actors: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi, Alexandre Willaume, Tamer Burjaq, Adrian Collins, Keenan Arrison, Andrian Mazive, Milton Schorr, Hannah John-Kamen, Peter Waison, Samuel Mak, Sky Yang, Civic Chung

It must have been no easy feat for Alicia Vikander to follow in Angelina Jolie’s footsteps. The iconic character Lara Croft has been burned into the minds of many gaming enthusiasts, and while the two films in which Jolie portrayed the tough action heroine didn’t go down as the greatest game adaptations, the actress did leave her mark on the franchise. Like the 2013 game, ‘Tomb Raider’ (2018) is a reboot, not a remake of the original series, and that’s a plus in any case.

Lara Croft may be the daughter of a wealthy businessman, but her bank account certainly doesn’t indicate it. When she can no longer even pay her gym membership fee, the objections to participate in a real fox hunt with her fellow bicycle couriers disappear. She can really use the prize money! In this spectacular race she – how unluckily – hits a police car and she is arrested. At the police station, Ana Miller (Kristin Scott-Thomas), her father’s business partner, picks her up. Ana immediately takes the opportunity to persuade Lara to finally sign the papers with which she declares her father, who disappeared years ago, dead and can claim her inheritance. But just before Lara can scribble, she sees a clue about her father’s latest top-secret mission.

That mission led him to Hong Kong, where he rented a boat to take him to Yamatai Island. Nothing more has been heard from him since then. Lara ignores her father’s command in his pre-recorded video message and instead of destroying all the investigative work, she sets out to find the captain of the boat, with the ultimate goal, of course, to find her father.

‘Tomb Raider’ is a solid action movie without too deep a plot or character developments. Vikander knows how to handle her character and runs, jumps and fights convincingly through the obligatory scenes. Compared to the Angelina Jolie films, the lack of humor is most noticeable, in addition, Vikanders Lara has been made a bit more human. She’s less “superhero” here than Jolie’s character was. The father-daughter relationship is less convincing – helped in part by the somewhat clumsy flashback fragments, in which the younger Lara does not resemble the adult Lara – and the puzzle element that is often enjoyed in similar adventure films is hardly used here. The solutions are all within reach and that takes away a lot of tension.

What the Norwegian director Uthaug does have a handle on is the action. From the aforementioned bike race at the beginning of the film to the breathtaking, admittedly CGI-assisted, scene in which Vikander hangs over a waterfall in a crashed plane, he may not have the viewers on the edge of their seats, but they will not fall asleep. It is a pity that the rest of ‘Tomb Raider’ is not much more than a list with green check marks. Entertaining? Hell yes! Memorable? Not that. Do we want more Vikander like Lara? bring it on!

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