The BRWC Review: Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

The tragic story of videogame adaptations continues with Tomb Raider. Not that anyone was really expecting much from this film. We’ve all heard of the games, even though I’ve not played a single one all the way through – they’re not bad, but I’m more of an Uncharted player. We’ve all heard of the two previous films starring Angelina Jolie – I’ve seen them. The second one, Cradle of Life was just trash. It was boring and not engaging in the slightest; typical of a videogame adaptation. But the first one is a pretty big guilty pleasure of mine. It’s stupid and not particularly good, but it goes about it with such fun and dedication that it has an irresistibly enjoyable charm to it. So, no the bar is not high for this one. But I will give it credit, it was better than expected.

Lara Croft is a fun loving, yet hard working young woman with little money and no real ambition for anything. Her father left and disappeared seven years ago and she never really recovered from it. Suddenly, clues to her father’s whereabouts pop up, and she decides to follow the trail and see where it leads. This lands her on an island surrounded by perpetual rough seas and home to a band of mercenaries and a cursed treasure. The thrill of adventure and hope of finding her father once again push her on, as Lara changes from the girl she is to the woman we all know her to be.

So far so generic. And that’s the film’s major problem. It is so basic that you can tell what will happen in it almost beat for beat. Even those moments that kind of stand out feel as if they were picked from another film. There’s a death-trap to the treasure that was clearly ripped from Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade; there’s a fun cycle chance that reminded me of Premium Rush; even a bit when the front is falling off of a rusted plane felt like the breaking glass scene in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The only moment in the film that felt like its own was the pretty intense ship-wreck moment. This means that in the end, the story, characters and action are just basic. Not bad, but basic.



What does stand out, however, are the performances. For what it is, this is a weirdly well-acted film. Alicia Vikander fits the role like a glove. She’s a great actress who has a good number of great roles under her belt, and this is a role that she could have easily decided to slum – but no, she approached it with the same dedication as every other performance that she has taken. You feel for Lara in this one. Jolie engaged you with Lara’s sense of joy and the love of the thrill, which was intoxicating – but Vikander goes at it from the other direction. She engages you by bringing out Lara’s more human side, and succeeds in making what is ultimately a larger than life character feel relatable. Dominic West does well as her father, a man who loves his daughter very much, but is always off finding these treasures. Not to uncover them but to block them off even further, because he now struggles to separate myth from reality. Okay, that’s an interesting angle. I also liked Walton Goggins as this villain who is just tired of everything. He hates this island, he’s sick of looking for this treasure and he misses his family – so he’s going to let nothing stop him from achieving his goal. It makes him a weirdly fun and relatable villain.

The thing is that, outside of some story issues, most of which stemming from the film’s relatively short length and fast pace, there’s not much to really complain about. Yes, Lara’s sudden turn from young woman who is lost, scared and horrified after he first kill, to basically Rambo is very sudden and distracting. Some of the effects are great, some are bad, and there are a number of awful effects here and there too. It also has some pretty bad sequel baiting. It’s so obvious that they’re holding out for a sequel, and it feels a little premature and very silly. I’ll also say that, while this didn’t bother me, in-fact it helped me enjoy it more, this film may be rated 12 (or PG-13, in the US) but it is pretty violent and gruesome. This is stuff I’d see in a 15. But if Temple of Doom can get a PG with people ripping hearts out then what do I know.

In the end, Tomb Raider is a set in the right direction for videogame adaptations – even if it is a baby step. Being a mostly generic film does hold it higher than most in the genre. But that first Tomb Raider film with Jolie, while certainly a worse film, had much more personality to it that made it more enjoyable and overall memorable. Don’t get me wrong, there is enjoyment to be had here. At its core it’s a playing it safe, but competently made action film. Maybe not worth paying out for a cinema ticket, but certainly worth a go on a DVD or streaming release.


We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.


Trending on BRWC:

The Zone Of Interest: The BRWC Review

The Zone Of Interest: The BRWC Review

By Rosalynn Try-Hane / 1st February 2024
Marmalade-Movie-2024

Marmalade: Review

By Rudie Obias / 9th February 2024
Invincible: Review

Invincible: Review

By BRWC / 14th February 2024 / 1 Comment
The Color Purple: The BRWC Review

The Color Purple: The BRWC Review

By Rosalynn Try-Hane / 1st February 2024
Madame Web: The BRWC Review

Madame Web: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 17th February 2024

Cool Posts From Around the Web:



Callum spends most free days with friends (mostly watching films, to be honest), caring for his dog, writing, more writing and watching films whenever he can find the chance (which is very often).