Tomb re­boot de­liv­ers

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - World -


Di­rec­tor: Roar Uthaug (The Wave)

Star­ring: Ali­cia Vikan­der, Do­minic West, Wal­ton Gog­gins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas

Ver­dict: A trashy trea­sure, nicely re­pol­ished

The world was not ex­actly cry­ing out for a Tomb Raider re­boot.

Par­tic­u­larly one where the im­pos­ing phys­i­cal charisma of the orig­i­nal Lara Croft, Ms An­gelina Jolie, has been re­placed by the dain­tier stylings of Ali­cia Vikan­der.

Let’s be right up­front and state that while the new Tomb Raider movie is no im­prove­ment upon the orig­i­nal, it is no rank dis­ap­point­ment ei­ther.

As a dis­pos­able di­ver­sion, it gets the job done just well enough.

The con­stant rea­son why is Vikan­der, who turns out to be a more than ad­e­quate sub­sti­tute for her pre­de­ces­sor.

The open­ing act of Tomb Raider goes to con­sid­er­able lengths to dis­prove any mis­giv­ings Vikan­der might be too del­i­cate a flower to with­stand the tough stuff as­so­ci­ated with the fa­mously feisty role of Lara Croft.

In the first scene, Vikan­der is spot­ted cop­ping a se­vere belt­ing in a box­ing ring, just like Hi­lary Swank in Mil­lion Dol­lar Baby.

Min­utes later, she is tear­ing it up on two wheels, per­form­ing sev­eral im­pres­sive feats of bi­cy­cle park­our while zoom­ing in and out of traf­fic on the busy streets of Lon­don.

In fact, the new Tomb Raider gets off to such to a gen­uinely ex­cit­ing and sur­pris­ingly fresh start, most ini­tially wary view­ers will drop their guard and raise their ex­pec­ta­tions.

Try and re­sist that temp­ta­tion if you can. For Tomb Raider has a fixed game plan it is ul­ti­mately obliged to fol­low. Par­tic­u­larly once it gets around to putting Lara in the vicin­ity of a tomb that must be raided.

The crypt in ques­tion — home to an an­cient zom­bie virus which could level the world if re­leased — is lo­cated on an un­charted is­land some­where be­tween China and Japan.

Af­ter leav­ing Lon­don for Hong Kong on an in­kling her pre­sumed-dead dad (Do­minic West) might still be alive, Lara bud­dies up with a drunk sea cap­tain (Daniel Wu) who is able to trans­port her to the mys­te­ri­ous isle.

Upon ar­rival, Lara makes an en­emy of con­niv­ing cast­away Mathias Vo­gel (Wal­ton Gog­gins), who has been try­ing for years to find and open the afore­men­tioned crypt.

Vo­gel isn’t much of a vil­lain, and the true sig­nif­i­cance of the vi­rally in­fested tomb (and the trea­sure it also holds) is sketchily con­veyed at best.

How­ever, a ready sup­ply of qual­ity stand-alone ac­tion se­quences (in­clud­ing a ship­wreck, a crashed plane sus­pended at the mouth of a wa­ter­fall, and a long jour­ney through a killer maze) and Vikan­der’s as­sured pres­ence keeps bore­dom at bay for the most part.

Ali­cia Vikan­der (right) and Daniel Wu in a scene from Tomb Raider.

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