Mark Reviews Movies

LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER

2 Ĺ Stars (out of 4)

Director: Simon West

Cast: Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig, Leslie Phillips, Mark Collie, Rachel Appleton, Chris Barrie

MPAA Rating: (for action violence and some sensuality)

Running Time: 1:36

Release Date: 6/15/01


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Review by Mark Dujsik

Watching Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, I felt a sensation altogether new to me. No, Iíve gone through puberty some time ago. For some reason, I felt completely indifferent throughout the entire movie. Now, Iíve felt indifferent about a movie after seeing it and sometimes during certain parts of it, but this was unique. What does this fact say about the movie itself? I guess it means itís neither bad nor is it good. Tomb Raider defies all logic. There are scenes, dialogue, and characters that are straight out of old 1950s sci-fi B-movies. This is a movie whose plot is so inept and so pointless, that I seriously believe it is all meant as a joke. This could have been one of those rare so-bad-itís-good movies, but the experience of watching it falls short of that mark.

What is there to the plot? Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) is the tomb raider of the title, and she is searching for the two parts of a triangle that were split in half to prevent its powers from being released upon the world. What are this assembled triangleís powers, you ask? Apparently, it gives the holder power over time. The movie makes the triangle seem so horrible, that I wonder why anyone would bother trying to destroy it in the first place. The only way it could become a threat is if Lara helps the bad guys get it. I say, leave it alone, and put it to rest.

But thereís a problem. Every 5,000 years, the planets align and access to the pieces of the triangle is granted. Apparently, an evil group known as the Illuminati are after the triangle. For what reason? Well, itís powerful. I guess. The group is led by a man who I dubbed Mr. Obvious within ten seconds of his first appearance on screen. His first line: "It is May 15." Moments later, he points out to the lead henchman that there is only "one week left," but apparently this does not convey the message as directly as possible, because he actually holds up one finger to emphasize his point. Itís not surprising that when the leader does get his hands on the triangle pieces he actually says, "I will now put the pieces together." Of course, after he says this, he continues with a description of the triangleís power and its importance. What really surprised me is that no one in the evil organization just yelled "Stop" and said, "Youíve been telling us this at every single meeting for the past 50 years. We get the point!"

The movie later points out a major problem with the triangle, because one character says that the past cannot be changed. Well, that was the only obvious power I thought the triangle would have, but if thatís not its power, what is? Or is it not really all that powerful? If itís not powerful, why all the security? Then, a minute later, a character actually changes the past. So, which is it? Maybe because the solar eclipse was taking place, thereís some kind of loophole. I donít know. Once movies start talking time travel, my brain shuts down.

Even before the time travel talk started, though, my brain had lost most conscious thinking. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Thatís the only way to watch this movie, and thankfully the movie does all the hard work for you. This is not just a bad plot but a concoction of random bad plot elements thrown in together for no reason but to numb the viewer.

Iím not sure what else could have numbed the audience this much except for mindless action. Tomb Raider is not without its action sequences. There are about four to five big ones, and the best is a gunfight on bungie cords. After this sequence, I was excited for more, but then the plot kicked in again. I was once again dumbfounded. Angelina Jolie is more than physically capable for the role. By "physically capable," I mean attractive and strong. Sheís quite good considering Lara is simply an action hero, and during the big action scenes her dialogue consists of groans, moans, grunts, and sighs.

There were two random thoughts that sprang into my mind while watching Tomb Raider. The first relates to the movieís full title: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. From that phrasing, it seems like the title on a business card. I wonder what a tomb raiderís business card looks like. The second thought was that once this movie is released on video, it could become the subject of an interesting drinking game. This is the kind of movie that drinking games were invented for. I think the rules would essentially be that anytime a character says something dumb, you question the reasoning the plot, you are attracted to Laraís wardrobe for aesthetic reasons but cannot quite figure out if it is suitable to the climate or her job, you hear the word "Bugger," you recognize a scene from a previous movie, etc., etc., you take a drink. If you donít have a high tolerance for alcohol, I highly dissuade you from participating.

So after all of this, what is Tomb Raider? Itís a mindless action-adventure movie with a lot of energy. Its heart is in the right place, and I have a strange affection for it in retrospect. However, the experience itself left me with absolutely no feelings in either direction towards it. Itís an experience, to be sure, but I donít think Iíd like to go through it again. Iím confused enough from the first time.

Copyright © 2001 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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