|LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (2001)|
|"Was it programmed to stop before it took my head off?"|
|Time: 100 mins.|
Jolie kicks serious ass in this video game turned popcorn flick that suffers from an anemic script and poorly-crafted visual effects. Her sexy, tongue-in-cheek performance is the only thing that keeps this action-adventure entertaining. The story, which has nothing to do with the video game, has Lara Croft, an archeological "tomb raider," attempting to stop the Illuminati, an ancient secret society, from recovering ancient artifacts that will give them control over the manipulation of time. The ability to retrieve these items coincides with the alignment of the seven planets which only happens every five thousand years. The group is desperate to achieve their goal and it's up to Lara to stop them. Thankfully, her late father (played by her own dad) embedded the story of this ancient myth into her as a young girl and left her the key that will unlock the pieces of the mystery.
Her initial attempts to stop the agents of the Illuminati aren't entirely successful, so she's forced to join them. Manfred Powell (Glen) tries to seduce her over to the dark side by promising her the chance to see her father again, if she helps him succeed. As much as she wishes for this dream to come true, Lara is never swayed from her true mission to destroy the pieces once and for all. While not a horrible story, it's just not deep enough to be thoroughly engaging. Culling ideas from many sources, the script never quite comes together as a distinct and original piece of cinema, thereby giving the film a been there/done that better vibe from beginning to end. Jolie's performance and the fairly well-done action sequences save TOMB RAIDER from being a complete waste of time.
Fans of the genre will be entertained with many visions of the buxom adventurer wiping the floor with various bad guys and mystical creatures. The art direction and locations are evocative and exotic, giving the film more class than it deserves. Given the final box office tally, fans of the video game obviously could have cared less about the plot and would have paid to see Jolie shoot at anything for two hours, as long as she was wearing the tight tank top and short shorts Croft is known for. Besides Jolie, the only other cast members who stand out are Noah Taylor and Chris Barrie as Lara's techno-geek sidekick and unflappable butler. They add much needed wit and humor to the film. The bad guys come off as petulant Euro trash, doing nothing that would render them memorable. Action fans will probably enjoy this flick. It's loud, explosive and stars a gorgeous chick. Those who expect an intelligent story in between the barrage of bullets better beware. This is short attention span theater at its' finest.