Film review: Tomb Raider

Daniel Wu as Lu Ren and Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. PIC: PA Photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc./Ilze Kitshoff
Daniel Wu as Lu Ren and Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. PIC: PA Photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc./Ilze Kitshoff
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Alicia Vikander plays a punky trust-fund rebel with unresolved daddy issues

Tomb Raider (12A) **

Directed by: Roar Uthuag

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins

Rebooted as a video game in 2013, it was only going to be a matter of time before Hollywood had another crack at turning Tomb Raider into a viable movie franchise. The Angelina Jolie films from the early 2000s felt like relics even as they were being released thanks to the way she was forced into fight a losing battle with a style of filmmaking more suited to elevating co-stars Daniel Craig and Gerard Butler to the A-list than figuring out how to make Lara Croft a robust heroine.

That’s something that the new film attempts to resolve by casting a ripped and ready-to-rumble Alicia Vikander as Croft and taking a leaf out of the grittier playbooks of Bourne and Bond. No longer dressed like a Playboy Bunny on safari, this Lara bleeds, broods and grapples with the reality of killing someone with her bare hands. Unfortunately she’s also been dully conceived as a punky trust-fund rebel with unresolved daddy issues, something the film explores at great length by sending her on an origins-establishing mission to find out what really happened to her missing-presumed-dead father (Dominic West, reliably terrible).

Liberally ransacking the plots and set-pieces of various Indiana Jones movies along the way, Norwegian director Roar Uthaug (The Wave) has no sense of how to make this distinctive, running through generic action scene after generic action scene and sabotaging Vikander’s determination to take the role seriously by making the world around her either too corny or too bland.