Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life (2003)

JAN de BONT

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA/Germany/Japan/United Kingdom, 2003.  Paramount Pictures, Mutual Film Company, British Broadcasting Corporation, Lawrence Gordon Productions, Eidos Interactive, Tele München Fernseh Produktionsgesellschaft, Toho-Towa, October Pictures.  Story by , , Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

It’s not that difficult a task to make a sequel that would outdo the very disappointing Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, but this terrific action film manages to be great entertainment even without the comparison.  Angelina Jolie returns as the fabulous British heroine who scours ancient relics in search of valuable treasures, and like last time is once again trying to get to a precious object before an evil villain with wicked intentions does. After discovering Alexander The Great’s secret temple submerged off the coast of Santorini, Greece, Croft finds a orb-like object within the ruins that purports to hold a map that leads to the cradle of life, where all civilization began. Legend has it that Alexander buried Pandora’s Box there, a treasure chest that holds within it the most deadly disease imaginable to mankind, and one with no antidote. The orb is stolen by a Chinese gang lord who is selling it to an evil scientist () who wants to know the locations detailed on the map. Hinds has the attention of many nations interested in purchasing the disease in order to use it as unstoppable biological warfare, prompting Croft to race against time and reach Pandora’s box before Hinds does. To help her out, she recruits an ex-British soldier-turned-mercenary (), who is also her ex-lover, to team up with her and track down the evil cohorts that he was once well acquainted with. Unlike Simon West’s painfully boring first chapter, this thrilling adventure is on par with the likes of James Bond, with great characters, exotic locales and none of the sets looking as cheap or badly lit as last time. The visual effects are more than impressive, and thankfully Jolie gets to do a lot more with the character, having a really fun time being a superhero whose humour relies on more than just her ridiculously large breasts.

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