On the surface, Tomb Raider is just another video game movie adaptation, in a long line of such films. But dig a little deeper (AKA go see the film) and you’ll soon discover that this is more of an origin story than the action blockbuster the trailer makes it out to be. This time, Lara Croft is played by a totally capable Alicia Vikander, who instantly destroys any memory of Angelina Jolie’s version, bringing a more grounded, but believable version of the character to the screen.
We first meet Lara Croft as a short on money cycle courier trying to make a name for herself in the boxing ring. It’s probably no spoiler to say that she’s the daughter of a very wealthy businessman turned adventurer, who went missing seven years earlier
Turning her back on her inheritance – well, burying her head in the sand would be a more apt description – as she feels accepting it will mean that her father is dead. But circumstances play out and Lara is forced into a corner and begrudgingly meets with the estate lawyers, which is where she gets the first clue to her father’s secret life.
And thus the adventure begins, and the action slowly ramps up, and up, and up.
Based on the recent reboot of the Tomb Raider game series, anyone that’s played the game and seen the trailers will know that this is a fairly faithful adaptation of the game, in fact some scenes are literally copied from the game. Having not finished the game, I can’t say how faithful the storyline is, but it turns into a bit of a nail biting, thrill ride in the second act.
Game adaptations have a bad reputation, with most (if not all?) being sub par at best, and a flop at worst. Tomb Raider stands head and shoulders above any video game adaptation I can think of, up there with the likes of Resident Evil – though that could hold a special place in my heart purely because of Milla Jovovich.
Being an origin story of course lends itself quite nicely to a stand alone franchise with no prior knowledge required to enjoy the birth of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. The character set up is nice, we get a real feeling for Lara and instantly fall in love with her. The action requires a bit of the usual suspension of belief, but what action film doesn’t, and balances it’s slow build and action scenes very well, ending in a lower key third act that hints at a possibility of a series of future films.
And a little nod to the original Tomb Raider games.
All in all Tomb Raider is an entertaining night out that can be enjoyed by gamers and non-gamers alike.
Rating: M Violence.