While a lot of video games are incredibly successful and become their own brand over time, some previous adaptations of games to film have been inconsistent to say the least. To be fair, they have been improving in recent years as special effects have gotten to the stage where they can replicate the more fantastical parts of video games on the big screen. Given that “Max Payne”, “Assassin’s Creed” and “Prince of Persia” have all been very good efforts, the time seems right for the team behind “Tomb Raider” to try and deliver on the potential of the games.
This film is a total reboot of the film series, so put the Angelina Jolie version out of your mind. This version of Lara Croft isn’t the Bruce Wayne/Indiana Jones with a posh British accent that the character has become synonymous with since the first game was released in the mid 90s. Instead when we first meet Lara, she has foregone her family fortune and is working as a cycling courier in London. When a cycle race among couriers, for which Lara is trying to win a cash prize, goes awry she ends up being reconnected with her late father’s business associates, and this in turn sets off a chain of events which sees Lara follow the path of her father’s last trip abroad. This is where the adventure truly begins as Lara, on her first adventure, uses the skills she has learned, both academic and athletic to try and solve the mystery her father had started out on years before.
The ace up its sleeve that this film has is in the casting of Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”) as she brings a sense of realism to Lara. Where in the original films, Lara was just a carbon copy of her practically indestructible video game counterpart, this version of Lara (based on the rebooted “Tomb Raider” game from a few years ago) is a far more interesting character; she’s not perfect at everything, she’s still learning, and this makes you root for her even more when she gets pushed to her limits. Which she does, a lot. Stormy weather, fist fights, and ancient booby traps put Lara through her paces and Vikander does a great job in delivering the physicality in these scenes. She also does some really good work in the serious dramatic moments in the film especially acting alongside people of the calibre of Walton Goggins and Kristen Scott Thomas.
The action is very well shot and the film tears along at a good pace. Not only is it a really good video game adaptation, but it’s also a great adventure film in its own right, that’s anchored by the kind of strong female leading performance that people have been crying out for over the last few years. The film ends off with a strong tease for what might lie ahead, and hopefully it happens because based on the strength of this film, this is one franchise I’d like to see continue.
Words of Kevin Dillon, @kevinwritestuff
Made with Milk Bottle