Tomb Raider” first burst into the world of pop entertainment in the form of a video game introduced in 1996. I was a big fan of the game and really enjoyed the adventures of Lara Croft, an English archaeologist always in search of ancient treasures. Due the popularity of the game, Hollywood release a live-action film version of the game to theaters in 2001 as “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” starring Angelina Jolie. The film was a hit and warranted a sequel in 2003. The series lay dormant until this year when a reboot (a favorite past time for studios) of “Tomb Raider” hit theaters starring Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft. The current film is based on the 2013 version of the game, and sends Croft on a journey to see if her missing father, archaeologist Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), is still alive. During the years of her fathers absence, Lara has been living as a bike courier, despite the fact she will inherit her father’s vast estate. After being warned if she doesn’t claim her inheritance, she finally accepts, and stumbles upon a secret at her father’s secret home office.
Lord Croft left a video for his daughter explaining why he may be dead. His journey was to find the resting place of the mythical Queen of Yamatai, Himiko, who is said to command the power over life and death. Even though Lord Croft warns Lara to destroy all information related to Himiko, she ignores his message and sets out to locate her father in order to see if he still lives. Lara’s journey takes her from London to Hong Kong, where she hires ship captain Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) to sail into the Devil’s Sea to find the island of Yamatai. As one might expect in an action movie, the two encounter rough seas, and after their ship is destroyed near Yamatai, Lara manages to make it to the shore of the island. However, after making it to the islands shore, she is met by several shadowy figures and is knocked unconscious. Enter the villain of film, Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins), who is involved with the Trinity, an origination after the secrets and power of Queen Himiko. While being held hostage by the Trinity, Lara manages to escape with help from Ren, and eventually (*Spoiler Alert*) runs across a bearded man who is her missing father. The two want to keep Trinity from discovering the tomb of Himiko, for fear if discovered, the world will be at risk of destruction. Eventually all parties find the tomb of Himiko, and in true video game style the fun really begins via bobby traps and other assorted challenges. As expected the film ends with a planned sequel, but time will tell if the movie scores enough bucks at the box office to warrant another Croft adventure.
The film does feature plenty of the type action expected in a film based on a video game, and even though I wasn’t overly impressed with the 3D version, the film compensates with thrilling sequences. The actors are all well cast in their roles, with Vikander filling the shoes of Jolie just fine, even though the actress lacks the sparkle and star power of the Academy Award winner, and at times seem rather flat. I enjoyed “Tomb Raider” for what it was, a video game come to life. If you attend the film, sit back and relax with your bag of popcorn for an adequate “popcorn” film.
Rated PG-13, 2 1/2 Tombs (out of 4)