Tomb Raider

The third film in the “Tomb Raider” film series has arrived and much like
the recent entries in the video game series that inspire it; the film
serves as a reboot of the franchise.

This time out Alicia Vikander takes over the title role from Angelina
Jolie and brings us a younger and far less experienced Lara Croft who
toils as a bike messenger struggling to get by in London. She has a feisty
and competitive nature but is haunted by the absence of her father
(Dominic West), who has been missing for seven years and is presumed dead.
As such, Lara is his sole heir and is being pressured to sign documents
that will legally declare him dead and turn over a vast corporation and
fortune to Lara. True to her nature, Lara resists this as she is
unwilling to move on from her father and cannot bring herself to declare
him dead and take her inheritance.

In time Lara learns that her father was also a dabbler in the supernatural
and artifacts and may have vanished trying to find a secluded tomb on a
remote Japanese island.

Undaunted, Lara sets off to get answers and finds herself in the company
of a boat Captain named Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), who reluctantly takes her to
the dangerous island. Danger arrives first in a storm then in the form of
a Mercenary named Matthias Vogel (Walton Goggins), who wants to find the
mysterious tomb as well for nefarious reasons and will stop at nothing
including murder to get it.

Lara is soon faced with the fight of her life as she must battle Vogel and
his men as well as the island and other forces in order to survive and
protect the world.

The film moves at a pace slower than you might expect as the first half of
the film is mostly setup but there are a few moments of action included to
keep things interesting. While many of the action sequences may seem like
they are either restrained or influenced from other films, they do still
work and entertain. While some may call this a female “Indiana Jones”
film, Lara is very much her own character as she has a spunk and grit that
makes her equal adapt in a cultured setting as she is solving a dangerous
trap or mixing it up with deadly threats.

Vikander also portrays Lara with a sense of vulnerability as she does get
injured, bruised and tormented. This is not an unstoppable action machine,
but rather a real person who knows there is a time use your brain and then
a time to take action, but is also remorseful about the consequences of
her actions at times.

The film does move to a satisfying finale and sets up a further chapter
very well. There are some great nods to prior games in the film which was
refreshing as I joked to my wife during some of the more intense scenes
that I feel like I need to be pushing the X and O button on our Dualshock
4 controllers to help Lara run faster and jump higher.

In the end “Tomb Raider” is a satisfying if safe reboot for the franchise
that I expect should keep fans of the series happy. I do think that
audiences in North America may want a bit more action but the film should
play well in the Asian and European markets.

3.5 stars out of 5.