Tomb Raider   review by Bobby Blakey

Back in 2001 Angelina Jolie brought the popular video game character Lara Croft to life in the hit film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and reprised the role in the 2003 sequel Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life. I was never a huge fan of the game or film franchise, but they had their fun moments. Now it’s time to reboot the franchise with a new film aptly titled Tomb Raider with Alicia Vikander this time in the titles role. The film co-stars Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, and Kristen Scott Thomas, but does this latest version capture the essence and adventure of the popular character or will it be an adventure not worth completing?

Tomb Raider follows Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen.  Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. Going explicitly against her father’s final wishes, she leaves everything she knows behind in search of her his last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan.  But her mission will not be an easy one; just reaching the island will be extremely treacherous. If she survives this perilous adventure, it could be the making of her, earning her the name tomb raider. Going in I tried to keep an open mind to the new take on the character and thankfully it brought something fresh and new to the franchise.

There is a big successful push for more strong female led heroes and Lara Croft is one that has been pushing that vibe since its inception. While Angelina Jolie fully embodied the vision of the original video game character, Vikander brings something new and more realistic to the role. This film plays up the more realistic emotional direction of the character as she finds her place to become the Tomb Raider fans know and love. They smartly didn’t make her some unstoppable bad ass, but instead a strong willed woman willing to do what she has to, but still takes a beating and emotional struggle along the way. There is a particular moment where her reaction to something she was forced to do for the first time showcased a real response as opposed to the usual Hollywood lack of feeling.

The rest of the cast do a good job with Daniel Wu offering up a good partner for her, but this is Vikander’s show all the way and she carries well. The always great Walton Goggins makes for a great stoic villain that wastes no time to show you just how cold hearted he is. There were some elements of the action that I was irritated with initially in the way it was handled, but then reminded myself of the video game theme and realized they had done a great job capturing that essence of the game without making it feel that way. There are a lot of predictable elements here that kind of play it by numbers, but works for what they are trying to deliver.

In the end this is not an action film that is breaking down any barriers in the genre, but still manages to entertain. I hope this film does well because it is clearly setting up a new franchise and ends with the set up to more adventures. I loved Vikander in the role and you can already see a change in her persona after her first adventure that is sure to be a lot of fun to explore should they get to. If you are a fan of the Lara Croft character then give this latest entry a try.

This release not only includes the film but also bonus content including featurettes that take you behind bringing this latest chapter of the famed franchise to life. Be there for the birth of Lara Croft when Tomb Raider available now on Digital HD and then on 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and DVD on June 12th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

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