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Tomb Raider

Hollywood is notorious for never throwing anything away. Even when they apparently squeeze the last drop of box office dollars from a franchise, it is left dormant until they can re-use it. ‘Tomb Raider’ is a good example. After the success of the previous two films featuring Angelina Jolie, the ‘Tomb Raider’ series rises from the cinematic depths. Based on the popular computer game series, the films aren’t high art but prove old ideas are always recycled for new generations.

Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is a care-free daughter of her adventure-seeking father Richard (Dominic West). Several years after he disappears and leaves his fortune to her, Lara aims to discover the truth. Armed with an assortment of deadly weapons and her wits, she travels to the wilds of the Japanese coast. Landing on one of its mysterious islands, her mission quickly descends into chaos. With other organisations wanting to find Richard for their own evil ends, time is running out for Lara to save her father and herself.

‘Tomb Raider’ is heavily formulaic filled with a plethora of action. Anyone keen to watch a skimpily clad lady do death-defying feats will find much joy. That doesn’t mean ‘Tomb Raider’ is a total disaster as it has some good points. One of them is Vikander who effectively embodies her character’s spit-fire persona. Whilst she has vulnerabilities, her determination to see things through comes across well. Vikander is the best of the cast with her co-stars wildly over-acting a conventional script.

The aptly named Roar Uthaug directs with flair. He’s clearly been hired for his action finesse and ability to generate tension. The screenplay is straight out of the ‘Indiana Jones’ textbook with ‘Tomb Raider’ and also echoing cliffhanging 1930’s serials such as ‘The Perils of Pauline’. The screen-writers deserve kudos for their imaginative ways in which Croft untangles out of various scrapes. These add to the fun with the lush cinematography teasing out the vibrant colour such a comic-book style movie needs.

‘Tomb Raider’ may be a load of nonsense with its predictability creaking to the finale. As a time-waster it works and never runs the risk of being boring. Whether ‘Tomb Raider’ is a success won’t matter much to Hollywood as the multitude of related merchandising should see it make a profit. Franchises such as these may temporarily vanish but, like the artefacts uncovered by Lara Croft, they eventually find new life if the price is right.

Rating out of 10: 6

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