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3/23/13

TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE - REVIEW


With Lara Croft: Tomb Raider doing well at the box-office despite it failing to be the cinematic adaptation of the classic game people were waiting for, a sequel was nonetheless inevitable. New director, new adventure, new hope.

Could this be the Tomb Raider film we were all waiting for?

Sadly... far from it.

Once again, the film misses the point of the game and replaces what should be an Indiana Jones-type of vibe with more of a Mission Impossible approach. Angelina Jolie's Lara Croft is paired with Gerard Butler's agent to uncover Pandora's Box thanks to a big, glowing... Dragonball. The film opens with Lara already on a mission and although there is something really messy and uninvolving about that opening scene, it's all worth it just to see her punch a shark in the face: by far the best and funniest moment in either film. The plot sees a competing douchebag, some evil scientist guy, following the trail of the orb and the Box while Lara attempts to retrieve it herself for British intelligence.

This time, luckily, we spend very little time farting around in Lara's mansion, there's no robot and Butler's Scottish accent is much more convincing than Daniel Craig's American accent, for obvious reasons. Alas the comic-relief duo from the first film is back but they're slightly less intrusive this time around. Lara's character also feels a lot different: for one thing she's much less cocky for the sake of being so, has much fewer cheesy one-liners and seems more focused on her mission and more involved whereas most of the first film was spent with her either training, showering or wasting time. So there are some improvements over the first film but it's during the second act that you'll want to give up on Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life. After a fair enough opening, this Tomb Raider flick really gives up on being an adventure and instead settles on the spy genre which really takes you out of the sense of wonder you're supposed to be enjoying when hunting down something as mysterious as Pandora's Box. It's all M:I 4-type mini-missions and although that works when Ethan Hunt is displaying goofy gadgets and running around the side of buildings, here it feels awkward. The film seems to misunderstand what it should be and what qualifies as an action sequence. Lara and her pal driving their bikes on the road forever isn't interesting, neither is them floating down a building with those silly-looking web suits.

It's essentially not that bad as a film on its own but it's just... not Tomb Raider!

It's also, once again, pretty darn boring.

In all honesty, the film has a decent third act. The final location looks pretty cool and the monsters Lara finally faces are much more intimidating than whatever she was facing in the first film. Also, where the original flick tried to rip off Last Crusade a little bit, this goes for a Raiders Of The Lost Ark-style ending and although that should piss me off: THAT's when Tomb Raider start resembling what Tomb Raider should be! Finally the film is enjoying telling this larger-than-life story and finally we're involved! Shame the film ends soon after that...

Overall, despite a surprisingly decent third act and Lara's hilarious shark punch (see below), The Cradle Of Life is still not quite the Tomb Raider film we need. Yes it improves on the first film in some levels but it misses the mark just as much.

Sorry Lara...

Where's that reboot already?!

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