Although It has a lengthy sub title that sounds like a song from the "Lion King", the new Lara Croft movie, "Tomb Raider and the Cradle of Life", plays out smoother than the first, serving up a straightforward action quest scenario that isn't bogged down with the family baggage plotline of the first movie. Instead "Tomb Raider 2" goes back to its videogame roots with a weak back-story that provides just enough barely plausible motivation for this voluptuous adventuress to travel to exotic locales across the globe and kill nameless henchmen during her search for a long lost treasure that could destroy the world.
Angelina Jolie continues to have fun as the action figure, Lara Croft, and "Tomb Raider 2" provides ample opportunity to appreciate Jolie in all her roundness. And there are actually some smart moments like when Lara shows how all those rifle moves you see soldiers do when they present arms can really pay off when you want to beat down a dangerous Asian crime lord surrounded by centuries of breakable statures and convenient period weapons.
Chris Ranier returns as Lara Crofts housemaid and his screen time reminds you how cool the original "Red Dwarf" TV series used to be and how far Rimmer has strayed since then. Noah Taylor is back as Bryce the pimply computer chap worked into the story so game players can have someone to connect to. As a payoff Bryce fulfils a fantasy for videogame addicts everywhere when he volunteers to fly a real helicopter based on his experience of logging in more than 150 hours playing a copter game. See All those hours of tapping the X button can be good for something, no really!
Under Jan De Bont's direction, "Tomb Raider 2" at times is as jerky as his illustrious career. The Cradle of Life stutters and fragments and makes you wonder how the same person who was the visionary cinematographer for riveting action movies like "Die Hard" or intense thrillers like Basic Instinct can become the director of floundering efforts such as Speed 2 or this sequel.
Where "Tomb Raider 2" really shines is in its sound design. Under the direction of Randy Thom, "The Tomb Raider" sequel makes excellent use of the 360 degree immersive sound experience with plenty of scenes that put you in the center of the action as you hear audio effects synced with the screen and spreading it throughout the theatre.
With "Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life", you get what you'd expect from a sequel of a movie based on a line of videogames targeted at adolescent males. And having been a 14 year old boy myself I can appreciate the fun stunts and plotless action but at times you can't help but wonder what games would be like if most weren't about buxom babes killing things in dungeons or outer space. Looking for the reset button, for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2003 - Purple - Air Date: 7/23/03
Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
USA - 2003