Click here 3 stars

Angelina Jolie Tomb
much
tomb
soon
The Lips That Can't Be Stopped return
to save the world once again

"Lara Croft, Tomb Raider:
The Cradle of Life"

Reviewed by Carlos deVillalvilla

(Click on the images to see larger versions and credits. After viewing, lick your browser's Back button to return to the story.)

The second installment of the video game franchise turned movie franchise is pretty basic. After Lara (Angelina Jolie) discovers a mysterious golden orb in a Greek ruin, it is immediately stolen by thugs working for a bioterror merchant (Ciaran Hinds) who believes it to be a map to the location of the legendary Pandora's Box.

Except that the Pandora's Box is actually a terrible weapon, one capable of destroying all life on earth, yadda yadda yadda. Lara has to get back the trinket, and to do so, she needs the help of someone who has worked for the bad guy. Conveniently, a former lover (Gerard Butler) of hers who is rotting in the pokey fits the bill. The two travel to Asia to retrieve the orb, and are then led to Africa where Lara must battle terrible supernatural guardians, the bioterrorist's army, and her own needs, to save the day.

Angelina Jolie has always left me flat. Maybe it's those incredibly huge, collagen-impacted lips. More likely it's her flat acting style that makes Lara lifeless. Even the computer game has more personality than Jolie.

Of course there are the special effects, which are considerable. The Shadow Guardians scene is particularly well-executed. And, the rest of the cast is pretty nifty. Hinds makes an outstanding bad guy, and Butler is a riveting romantic lead, a bad guy with a heart of slightly tarnished gold. Djimon Honsou is fine as an African guide, and holdovers Christopher Barrie and Noah Taylor from the first film are woefully under-utilized as Lara's violent butler and resident computer genius.

I want to like this movie more than I do. When I watched it I was suitably entertained, and will probably wind up purchasing it. There are flaws, but director Jan De Bont overcomes a lot of them by keeping the action non-stop, something the helmer of "Speed" understands very well. Although I find Jolie not my personal cup of tea, I have to admit she looks the part and she handles her stunts rather well. However, she should remember there's a difference between expressing self-confidence and smirking - and the latter is very unattractive.

AT HOME OR AT A THEATER?
Things blow up, some spectacular African and Chinese vistas, but overall this will work nicely on a small screen.
DVD:


See cast, credit and other details about "Lara Croft, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" at Internet Movie Data Base.