Review: Vikander fails to fill boots of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider
- Credit: Warner Bros
More than 20 years after she somersaulted onto the original PlayStation, inspired comic books and defied the laws of physics in two lacklustre Hollywood adaptations with Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft is back in a rebott starring Swedish Oscar winner Alicia Vikander.
Tomb Raider (12A)
Strange career paths the movie actors have: you prove yourself to be excellent employees and then get promoted to do rubbish. Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, who recently married, have both blazed paths of steady excellence through a series of challenging roles, eventually being deemed worthy of shots at action movie star status.
To each was presented an adaptation of a successful video game. At the end of 2016 Fassbender got to flounder in Assassin's Creed and now Vikander fails to fill the boots of Lara Croft.
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When we meet her this Lara Croft is making ends meet being a cycle courier around London's Brick Lane and not paying her dues at the boxing club.
She is heir to her father's fortune but even though he has been missing for seven years, she refuses to have him declared dead and get his money.
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Soon enough she's off to Hong Kong to follow in her father's footsteps and sail to a remote Japanese island, where he was looking for the tomb of an old Japanese queen rumoured to have the power of life and death.
The plot is inspired by the latest, 2013 version of the game which rebooted the origins of the character (as well de-curving her physically). So this is a vulnerable, identifiable Croft learning how to be the hero, far from invincible and suffering the various slings and arrows of outrageous fortune hunting.
And she suffers, you really feel her pain – the film is punctuated by her yelps and urghs. Watching her stumble and fall around the remote jungle island she resembles a cast member from Made In Chelsea struggling through a particularly tough Bushtucker trial on I'm A Celebrity.
The equation the film makes is that quality actors and proper performances will make up for an action movie that was counting the pennies during its production.
It does look very small scale and there are repeated shots of Walton Goggins, as the villain, looking up in awe at sights off screen that turn out to be less than awesome once revealed.
You are supposed to think of Raiders of The Lost Ark, but mostly you are reminded of the innumerable cheap B-movies that inspired it, or were inspired by it. All those interminable tales of jungle exploring and disappearing into underground caverns.
The movie is too low rent to support the angst and depth the cast want to give it. The look of shock on Vikander's face when she kills someone for the first time is extremely powerful. It would've been very appropriate in The Revenant but is kind of indecent in a film which is like a modern Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan flick.