Starring:  Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Derek Jacobi, Daniel Wu, Kirsten Scott Thomas, Nick Frost
Written by: Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons (screenplay), Evan Daugherty, Geneva Robertson-Dworet (story)
Directed by: Roar Uthaug
Studio: Warner Bros.
Run Time: 1h 58min
Rated: PG-13


I was in an interesting position to see the latest Tomb Raider film. I had never played any of the games nor had I seen the original films. In short, no emotional attachment to the source material. I finally checked out the original Angelina Jolie film just recently and outside of the irony of Daniel Craig doing an American accent and Jolie doing a British one, I just couldn’t get over how much Jolie has changed in appearance. Well, that and how much laughable sexuality was oozing on screen. So with little to no expectations, I watched the new film with an open mind.

The opening of Tomb Raider really establishes Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) as a street-smart, tough, adventurous spirit who is ready for whatever thrill comes her away. If her next endeavor makes her some money, all the better. I saw it as a way of leveling up this new interpretation of the character. She can fight, think on her feet, and is an equal match for any adversary. We learn that she was taught to be like this by her father (Dominic West) who went missing on an expedition several years ago. Lara, who has denied her inheritance, must now either accept it or lose her father’s company, the one thing she has left of him. Before she signs on the dotted line, she receives an ancient Japanese puzzle box which gives her clues to what may have happened to her father. Lara discovers a lot more about her father than she ever knew and that dear old dad may be been more than just some sort of archeologist. So armed with dad’s grail diary, Lara is off!

The opening of the film really set up a decent character, an obvious villain for potential sequels, and set Lara off on her first adventure. I say the first adventure because that is exactly what this is, Lara Croft: Year One. With that being said, as soon as she arrives at her first destination to unravel where her father went, she gets robbed by three street guys who obviously want trouble. We get a James Bond type chase that isn’t nearly as thrilling as it should be and this is the first indication that the film is going to be more action sequences than plot. It’s obvious as the film goes on that it is packed with better than average actors, but when it comes to the actual story, you have seen it all before. In fact, so much is ripped from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that you have to wonder if anyone involved with this production had even seen Steven Spielberg’s classic.

The film starts to run through its numbers of getting Lara to one place, having her escape, and then putting her back into trouble again. There aren’t huge leaps in logic here, just questions that start to plague you when you should be enjoying the film. The Indiana Jones staples, now well established, are predictable. Lara’s bewilderment at the human slave trade she encounters is almost laughable because we thought the writers established her as street smart and worldly. The villain of the Tomb Raider, Mathias (Walton Goggins) seems more like a character from the TV show LOST who is simply acting out orders to get home. When he does evoke some general creepiness (for all of about 30 seconds), it is quickly washed away.

I had said that the film is Lara Croft: Year One and this would have been a better title, because if we are to call her a “Tomb Raider”, shouldn’t she be raiding tombs? Having a gun pointed at her head and being told to go first isn’t really tomb raiding. Take this with a strange and difficult to comprehend reason for raiding said tomb and you’ll spend more time looking at your watch instead of gripping the edge of your seat.

Alicia Vikander is superb as the action hero and she looks the part more than Jolie ever did. It’s just sad that the story itself lacked any real surprises. Action sequences, booby traps, and special effects are great, but without a story, you’ll find yourself hoping they don’t make another movie because you’ll have to dodge it and all the marketing behind it.

Need a second opinion? Check out AFJ’s own Rob Vaux’s theatrical review of the film HERE.

Own Tomb Raider on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on June 12, or Own It Now on Digital!



Tomb Raider 4K Ultra HD3D Blu-ray, and Blu-ray Combo Packs contain the following special features:

·         Tomb Raider: Uncovered - The cast and crew reveal the challenges - and the fun – of bringing Lara Croft’s thrilling adventures of life for a new generation.

·         Croft Training - Enter the gym with Award winning actress Alicia Vikander as she prepares for the most physically demanding role of her career and transforms into the iconic action hero Lara Croft.

·         Breaking Down the Rapids - Join Director Roar Uthaug as he and other members of the cast and crew break down the film’s most exciting action set piece.

·         Lara Croft: Evolution of an Icon - Explore the revolutionary TOMB RAIDER saga from video games to movies, and discover how Lara Croft became one of the most popular and successful female characters of all time.


Tomb Raider” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:

·         Tomb Raider: Uncovered - The cast and crew reveal the challenges - and the fun – of bringing Lara Croft’s thrilling adventures of life for a new generation.

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