TOMB RAIDER (M)
A TRASHY TREASURE, NICELY REPOLISHED DIRECTOR: ROAR UTHAUG (THE WAVE) STARRING: ALICIA VIKANDER, DOMINIC WEST, WALTON GOGGINS, DANIEL WU, KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS
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 Particularly one where the imposing physical charisma of the original Lara Croft, Ms Angelina Jolie, has been replaced by the daintier stylings of Alicia Vikander.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 the new 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 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 is home to an ancient zombie virus which could level the world if released. It 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.