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Tomb Raider (2018) review: A lot more fun than expected

Alicia Vikander, Walton Goggins and director Roar Uthaug reboot the Tomb Raider film franchise.

Price: $19.99

I walked into Tomb Raider with pretty low expectations. I loved the video games growing up but thought the Angelina Jolie film adaptations left a lot to be desired. I liked the cast in this new one, but the trailer looked mostly generic and like any other action/adventure film. Bottom line, I didn’t believe this new adaptation was going to be good, and boy was I wrong!

The film opens up with Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) leading a low key and somewhat reckless lifestyle. She trains at a fighting gym and seems to be scraping by financially with a food delivery job. Her father Richard (Dominic West) disappeared seven years earlier and is presumed dead. After Lara is arrested for accidentally crashing her bike into a police car, Richard’s business partner Ana Miller posts her bail and tells her she needs to claim her father’s inheritance otherwise his estate will be sold. Lara goes to sign the papers admitting her father is dead, but just before she signs she unlocks a puzzle he left for her and she heads to his estate.

She finds his hidden office, which has a pre-recorded message in it from Richard to her. It details his research into Himiko, the mythical queen of Yamatai who was said to command the power over life and death. Richard asks her to please destroy all the research so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Instead, Lara takes the research and heads to Hong Kong to investigate for herself.

There she meets Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), the son of a man by the same name who was in Richard’s research. His father disappeared at the same time as Richard, and Lu Ren agrees to bring Lara to this mysterious island that all signs point to. Their ship ends up crashing, Lara makes it to shore, and then she’s knocked out by Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins). They talk the next day and get to know each other a bit better. Mathias is after Himiko and Richard’s research is now in his hands. This is where the rest of the story takes off.

There are some incredibly fun action sequences in this. The bike chase in the beginning, a solid foot chase in Hong Kong, the river/plane scene on the island — not to mention all the obstacles inside of the tomb. It’s just like the video game! This is one of the only films that had scenes that truly felt like a video game moment or level adapted to the big screen. It was well done and really enjoyable.

The actors all did a fine job with their roles too. Vikander is great as Lara. She doesn’t need to be flashy or anything. She’s a tough girl who doesn’t give up easily. I also liked that the sex appeal of the character wasn’t shoved down our throats. She’s already a babe, they didn’t need the short shorts or any revealing tops to overdo it.

Walton Goggins is delightfully unlikeable in this as Mathias. He isn’t over the top which I loved. He’s gone a little mad being on this island so long, and he only cares about completing the mission so he can go home. He will kill anyone he believes he has to or anyone who’s a weak link without question. End of story. Then there’s Dominic West as Richard and he crushes it. It almost could have been comical at parts, especially with that hair, but he owns the part.

Overall, I was really impressed with Tomb Raider. It wasn’t a future classic or anything worth raving about, but it was a fun adventure film with some great action scenes that does justice to the video games. I’d be happy to see a couple sequels.

Tomb Raider (2018)
Is it good?
Actually feels like a video game at points, especially once they're inside the tomb
Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, and Walton Goggins all do great jobs portraying their characters
Lots of fun, well done action sequences
Story could have been developed just a tad bit more

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