IslingtonTribune

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The game’s up for Tomb Raider

16 March, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Way off target: Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider

TOMB RAIDER
Directed by Roar Uthaug
Certificate 12a
☆☆

WHY was this film made? What was the thinking behind Warner Bros stumping up the readies to reboot a franchise that feels horribly dated?

Lara Croft was a video game icon in the lads’ mag era of Cool Britannia, a product of the male-industrial complex that belongs in the upside down world of that stupid concept of Girl Power that came in the 1990s – a sham of female empowerment.

So why a new one? Was it a bland and clumsy attempt by a studio to create a female action hero that the #metoo generation will relate to?

Croft is played by Alicia Vikander, and it feels as if they have tried to make her more attractive as a role model for teenage women – she takes no nonsense, has a brilliant skill set and is a strong enough lead. But let’s be frank, it still feels like at its core this is a film made by male studio executives and Lara Croft has not become a feminist icon but is still objectified.

Adding to this, it is a do-it-by-numbers adventure tale with little to make it stand out. Croft’s back story has been updated, but there is still a boarding school-style adventure at its heart. A child searching for a parent, inheriting a fortune, having the wit, intelligence and physical attributes to take on all that can thrown in her direction. This Croft resides in east London hipster circles, working as a cycle courier during the day. Desperate for funds, she agrees to take part in a bike pursuit game through the streets of London – and ends up being hit by a police car.

Her guardian Ana (Kristin Scott Thomas) appears and says she must now accept that her father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), who has been missing for seven years, is dead – and sign the papers so she will inherit his filthy pile of cash.

But when she is handed a trinket from her father’s estate, it reveals a riddle – one she quickly unravels and it takes her to a Japanese island, with sidekick Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), where her father was researching the myth of a Japanese empress called Hikomo.

Hikomo, we learn, was a priestess of death, ruling her underlings with magic powers that meant death to anyone who touched her. Baddies led by Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins) are after the tomb she is buried in – and it’s up to Lara to stop them.

For a moment ignore the issues over whether Croft can be reinvented as a powerful female lead. Is it actually any good?

Parts were well choreographed, and you can’t but help be on Lara’s side. But it has a rather cheap, green screen feel to its effects – which is shame as they are imaginative in concept, if not execution. And Vikander, who has little to do in terms of acting, does what is required.

But the film is too obvious to offer anything memorable.

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