Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. United Kingdom/USA, 2018. GK Films, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Square Enix, Warner Bros.. Story by Evan Daugherty, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Screenplay by Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons. Cinematography by George Richmond. Produced by Graham King. Music by Junkie XL. Production Design by Gary Freeman. Costume Design by Colleen Atwood. Film Editing by Stuart Baird, Tom Harrison-Read, Michael Tronick.
Despite being heiress to a massive industrial fortune, Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is living on skid row, barely able to pay for the boxing lessons she takes at the local gym where meaner, tougher girls best her in the ring. Her father (Dominic West) has been missing for seven years and inheriting his wealth would mean declaring him dead, something she’s not ready to do until she knows for sure that he isn’t coming back. Encouraged by the company’s guardian (Kristin Scott Thomas, still divine as ever) to sign the papers that would put her at the head of the company, Lara has pen in hand when she gets a clue to her father’s whereabouts in the form of an ancient eastern relic. The device prompts her to take a long journey from London to Hong Kong, where she meets an alcoholic fisherman (Daniel Wu) and voyages on his boat to a remote island in the middle of the ocean where they are both enslaved by an evil mercenary (Walton Goggins) who is trying to break into the tomb of an ancient, mythically cursed queen. This reboot to the first despised attempt at a franchise starring Angelina Jolie is given the Casino Royale treatment, presenting a leaner, meaner Lara Croft who is back at the beginning of discovering her interest in spelunking while learning to overcome her physical and emotional vulnerabilities. She doesn’t stuff her bra in this one, but she does have a suspiciously easy time crossing the world in one grimy little tank top, and the plot is a clever and fun tale that climaxes in a marvelous sequence inside a tomb full of Indiana Jones-worthy challenges. The only drawback to the whole experience is Vikander herself, an excellent actress who is not a movie star, her physical perfection and impressive skill in the fighting scenes never quite making up for the fact that she doesn’t possess enough humour or curiosity even after the campy elements of the previous films have been removed.