Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Director: Simon West
Screenwriters: Patrick Massett, John Zinman
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor, Daniel Craig
When the Illuminati try to get their grubby little hands on the all-important Triangle of Light, an ancient MacGuffin with the power to control time, it’s up to intrepid explorer and bungee-ballet enthusiast Lara Croft to beat them to the punch and save the world.
Standing in her way is Illuminati right-hand man Manfred Powell (Iain Glen) who must collect and merge both halves of the triangle before the planetary alignment ends, and another 5000 years pass until they can take another crack at it.
Along Lara’s globetrotting journey, we travel to Cambodia for a little rock monster fighting, stop off in Venice for a little tête-à-tête with the enemy, all before jetting off to Siberia to play around on the world’s biggest model solar system.
Watching this film, it’s hard not to get frustrated with what could have been as there’s definitely a decent enough action movie scratching at the surface. Not only do you get some great set designs and exotic locales, but a spot on performance by Angelina Jolie as the titular heroine, providing all the sass and smouldering looks the Lara Croft character is famous for. Despite this, however, the film never quite elevates itself above a guilty pleasure video game cash in.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is the film equivalent of smashing every button on a game controller until your fingers bleed. It doesn’t require any skill, any forward thinking or any real logic for that matter, but what you do end up with are some cool, loud, flashy things happening on screen and a heck of a lot of fun kicking and punching all the bad guys. Yes it’s silly, it doesn’t make a lot of sense and the action pieces require you to forget the laws of physics (not to mention some cryptic ghost children that are never really explained), but it never takes itself too seriously and doubles down on the goofiness of its video games roots.
My advice? Sit back, unplug your brain, and scoff down an inordinate amount of popcorn. If you’re willing to follow the film down the dark and shaky ruins of the films execution, then you might just find yourself unearthing some fun.