by Ian Morton
Tomb Raider suffers from the same issues as most other video game adaptations but a strong leading performance paired with some fun set pieces makes this adventure far more enjoyable than many of its other pixelated brethren.
Based loosely on the origin story from the 2013 video game, the narrative follows Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) on a quest to find her long lost father. With not much more than a few maps and tattered journals as her guide, Lara not long finds herself trekking to an island off Hong Kong in search of the lost tomb of mythical Queen Himiko and the final known whereabouts of her father.
More than proving herself a successor to previous Croft, Angelina Jolie, Alicia Vikander jumps (literally) head first into everything thrown at her. Whether being pummeled in the center of a boxing ring, jumping from one ludicrous situation to another or chasing a countless amount of somethings somewhere, our gutsy heroine is a charming yet incredible force majeure as she is pushed from one extreme to another.
Stuffed beginning to end with set pieces, the pacing is as brutal as the action, giving the audience just enough time to recover before slamming you into another death-ridden escapade. Its a style of storytelling that so often hurts an action franchise but here, the ‘all in’ stance that director Roar Uthaug takes from the opening frame pays off by paving over its plot and script issues.
Try as they might to brush over them though, films like this will always have their issues when it comes central plot. Bringing a 20 hour game campaign to the big screen always means that things get missed, or in this case, completely forgotten about. While its fairly point and click (standard cheeky video game reference) in terms of plot, there is little to no character development to the point where even basic motive is undermined by transpiring events. The same can be said for lack-luster villain Mathias Vogel – despite a strong performance by Walter Goggins – and his band of merry ‘Trinity’ soldiers. So little of the big evil is explained in fact, that the only thing we truly know for sure is that they want something bad and have spent the last 7 years literally blowing up the island to find it..
Despite all its problems however, Tomb Raider is annoyingly enjoyable. A solid, action packed adventure that requires little more than to sit back, relax and enjoy the journey. In an odd way, a more in-depth Tomb Raider plot would have arguably made things worse! 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Check out what we thought of last year with our top 10 of 2017: