"Lara Croft Tomb Raider--The
Cradle of Life"
Directed by Jan de Bont.
Written by Dean Georgaris.
Starring Angelina Jolie and Gerard Butler.
Release Year: 2003
Review Date: 8/1/03
Now, I gave the first
“Tomb Raider” film a
Rental. Everything about it sucked except for Angelina Jolie, who
was absolutely dead-on perfect as video game heroine Lara Croft--she
had the attitude, the look, the accent and the action chops down
pat. Too bad that everything happening around her was so
atrocious: capturing almost nothing that made the video games so
good, the filmmakers of the first film effort seemed to be content
having Jolie in the film and forgot to add any interesting story
elements or logical transitions...so, in my favorite scene from the
first film, there Croft was driving through the jungle with a GPS
tracker that apparently had the location of fucking temples of the
gods programmed in for good measure. So hilarious.
This time around, it looked like a good idea
on paper--let’s team up Lara with a crazy Irish partner named Terry
Sheridan (talk about an Irish name--I guess Paddy McIrishman was
taken) and make them travel all over the world in the search for
Pandora’s Box. There will be plenty of locations that the
adventurous Croft will be able to scout out while also shooting a
lot of bad guys with her trademark twin pistols. There are a couple
of problems here:
A) Instead of making Sheridan (played by
Gerard Butler) just a normal partner, they had to make Sheridan a
ROMANTIC partner, so when not helping Croft take out baddies, he’s
constantly hitting on her. There is no chemistry between the two,
and by none, I mean zero.
B) Although she usually is searching through
ancient, remote locations in the video games, this time around she
only does this twice--at the VERY beginning and at the VERY end. In
between, all manner of ridiculous action pieces take place in...uh,
a fucking Hong Kong shopping mall, a lab, a bad guy hideout, the
open plains of Africa, and an outdoor pagoda. Not what I would call
“tombs” by any stretch of the imagination.
Talk about “all dressed up and nowhere to
go”--this film breaks the bank in locations this summer by a mile.
Get this: this production, directed by “Speed” maestro Jan de Bont,
filmed ON LOCATION in England, Hong Kong, Kenya and Greece. And,
because all of the principals appear in all of those locations, that
means that this production was probably in the $100 million range,
including Jolie’s salary and a large number of special effects. I
will grant that the film’s visuals are often spectacular; scenes of
Hong Kong by night or Kenya by day are very cool because they are
quite rare in American film productions. Too bad the action
happening on screen is so bad, boring or unnecessary; somebody’s
going to start pushing for one-location shoots on the third movie,
should they be so lucky, because some of this shit is just blah.
There are a couple of decent shootouts, and
Jolie is once again very strong in the role of Croft. I don’t fault
her for taking this part, either; I can’t imagine how tough it is
for actresses to find work as a gun-toting, strong-willed action
star that does many of her own stunts, and Lara Croft is probably
the only major female action role this year not called Trinity.
But, outside of these high points, the second installment of the
“Tomb Raider” series is mostly dogshit made worse by the fact that
nothing from the first film’s lengthy list of faults is improved
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard