johnlink ranks LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE (2003)

My wife and I made the errant decision to rewatch the first TOMB RAIDER late last year. You would have thought that we had learned. But, instead, we decided to tempt the fates and rewatch the second TOMB RAIDER on this cold February night.

Lara-Croft-Tomb-Raider-The-Cradle-of-Life-action-films-25540782-1067-800

I watched LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE (2003) on 2.9.15. It was my second viewing of the film, and first since the theatrical release.

So let’s just go ahead and say that the opening action sequence of this scene culminates with Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) preemptively cutting her arm to attract a shark in the water, then punching that shark in the nose, and then riding it to the surface of the water. Somehow (despite what Hemmingway’s  THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA taught us) she floats on the surface for days and is picked up by a friendly submarine.

That sort of absurdism permeates the entire film. This is a movie, after all, about a villain (Ciaran Hinds) leveraging the actual Pandora’s Box as a weapon to be used by the highest bidding world leader. This movie includes innumerable points of silly action movie bits of exploitative triviality.

But, somehow, it is a bunch of fun.

The first film, directed by Simon West, is dumb and shallow. This sequel, directed by SPEED veteran Jan de Bont manages to milk the most out of its silliness. The visuals are often impressive and stimulating. The action, even when it is at a silly high, manages to provide tension (after the stupid opening sequence anyway).

Jolie does her job in the lead role. Her foil/partner is Terry (Gerard Butler). His character provides the proper morality notes throughout the film as Lara tries to discern who is trustworthy and who is not. The final moment between herself and Terry, however, manages to provide a level of surprise the two-movie series had previously failed to reach.

This is not a special movie. The action is fun, the story works better than the first TOMB RAIDER, and the script is as smart as it is inept. But, despite the low ceiling, this is a movie which manages to provide a level of entertainment its predecessor could not. Sure, the slow-mo action bits are horrendously dated, and the opening exposition is a lesson in how to make shallow character development. But, despite what sometimes seems its best efforts, this TOMB RAIDER sequel manages to do its job well enough.

SCORES

FILM: 4; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 5; WRITING: 5

4+8+5+5+0=22

FINAL SCORE: 5.5 out of 10

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~ by johnlink00 on February 9, 2015.

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