Lara Croft Tomb Raider

Stars:    Angelina Jolie, Iain Glenn, Jon Voight, Noah Taylor
Director:    Simon West
Writers:    Simon West; based on a story by Sara B. Cooper, Mike Werb and Michael Colleary; based on the EIDOS Interactive game series.

Angelina Jolie has all the right moves and looks to become an action heroine in this much anticipated filmic videogame that combines female versions of Indiana Jones and Batman. But when you keep asking why a character does or doesn’t do something that seems logical to the viewer, then obviously the story has some problems.

Jolie, packing her videogame-inspired, falsified D-cup body in as many tight getups as the costumer could muster, plays British aristocrat Lady Lara Croft who likes nothing better than to practice monster smashing and bungee ballet in her huge mansion while awaiting her next tomb raiding assignment which is sure to save the world as we know it. And here it comes.

Lara must locate and destroy two separated halves of a mysterious time travel device that if reunited, can bestow its magic on anyone who possesses it. It’s a race against time, literally, because Lara must complete her mission before the alignment of the planets, an event that occurs once every 5,000 years as much as it against villains who seek mastery of the universe. Lead stereotypical villain is Manfred Powell (Iain Glen), a snooty, well-appointed artifact dealer who is searching for the device on behalf of an elite consortium. Competing archeologist Alex West (Daniel Craig) bounces between loyalties to Lara and the consortium which no doubt will pay him big bucks for his tomb raiding knowledge.

With her deceased father, Lord Croft (Jon Voight) to guide her, for he too was an adventurous and famous archeologist, Lara remains one step ahead of the bad guys, backflipping and double-handed shooting all the way from London to the gorgeous Buddhist ruins of Angkor Watt, Cambodia to some mysterious ice caves in Siberia. She fights the good fight and saves the world from unscrupulous fiends who would screw up time for their own greedy purposes. And those who you would expect to pay dearly for their dastardly deeds … do.

Lotta says: Some gorgeous scenery helps this “video-comic” come to life while the boys get an eyeful of Jolie’s dazzling leather clad looks. The action sequences with Lara fighting stone statues is somewhat exciting but absolutely ludicrous. So here’s the main question: why didn’t she or why couldn’t she just have destroyed the first half of the device when she had it in her hands? Without the first half, the second half would have been rendered useless. Guess the screenwriters never thought you’d ask. This stupid script hole was big enough for all the nonsensical characters to slip through. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider   is a good one for videogame and comic book aficionados who know how to enjoy the action without thinking too hard.

Reviewed 11/21/01