Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Review

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Intrepid archaeologist Lara Croft discovers a mythical clock, bequeathed to her by her father, which, when reunited with the broken and scattered pieces of a magical artefact, has the power to control time. Croft ventures to Cambodia with guns blazing.


Jolie was born to play Croft, as surely as Bob Hoskins' destiny was pixellated plumber Mario Mario. And Jolie doesn't just look the part - although months of training have given her a whipcord physique and she sports perhaps the most strikingly engineered bosom since Jane Russell - she acquits herself well in the furious fight scenes and frantic, action set-pieces.

Unfortunately, kick-ass brawling skills and hooters like a dead heat in a Zeppelin race do not a good movie make. Even when the MacGuffin is discovered, it takes a while to get into gear. And with a leather-clad Jolie roaring around London on a motorbike, stopping off at vividly imagined auction rooms and raffishly bedecked law offices, the impression is that we're in for The Avengers all over again. It's not that bad, of course.

Back at the ranch, Lara is surprised by a cadre of baddies. What follows - a blazing gun battle with the protagonists pinging around the vast chamber - is as good a piece of action cinema as you'll see this summer. But the film plateaus out and the eye candy soon becomes predictable.

Exotic locations - Cambodia, Venice, Iceland - are present and correct, and there's a half-hearted stab at romance between Jolie and Daniel Craig's rival adventurer, who may be a bad guy (and, then again, may not), and who may have a history with Lara (and, then again, may not).

Conspicuous by its absence is a narrative spark bright enough to engross you. Neither, save Lara, is there anyone to give a damn about. It's glaringly obvious from the outset that insipid villain Glen is no match for Lara, and this skews the adversarial dynamic and renders the traditional cheering and booing - surely a staple of the genre - rather redundant.

Not disastrous, but somewhat disappointing nonetheless.