A Surprisingly Fun Video Game Adaptation
It’s fair to say that video game adapted movies have had a pretty poor history. From the hilariously bad Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to more recent entries like Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed, video game adapted movies have almost always failed to pay homage to the source material. It’s a surprise then that Tomb Raider is one of the best video game adaptations to come out and a pretty enjoyable action film too. There are some structural issues in the plot, especially with the third act, but this feels much more coherent in delivery and a step in the right direction for what could pave the way for more video game movies in the future.
Based on the story driven rebooted Tomb Raider game back in 2013, the story here sees a young Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) struggling to make ends meet whilst grappling with the disappearance of her father who’s been declared dead by everyone around her. After uncovering a puzzle that could provide some clues to his disappearance, Lara ends up on an expedition to Hong Kong in search of answers. It’s here that the film bursts into life with a flurry of action scenes and a much more consistent pacing. This all builds toward a climactic finale before an admittedly annoying cliffhanger to a sequel that may or may not be green-lit.
As an action film, Tomb Raider is surprisingly well done and some of the praise here must be given to Alicia Vikander in her portrayal of determined and tenacious Lara Croft. Aside from a lack of puzzle solving, there’s a mix of innocence and fierceness matching that seen from Lara in the games combining to create both a likeable and easy to empathise with heroine. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast fail to match her excellent work. Vogel is especially poor and aside from one particular moment, there’s never a feeling he’s anything other than a throwaway villain. The supporting cast are mostly forgettable too which is disappointing but the focus is squarely on Lara for vast periods of the film and it’s here Tomb Raider is at its strongest.
There’s a heavy emphasis on action too and there’s a good variety of chases, hand to hand combat, gun fights and more dominating the run time. One particular scene sees Lara scrambling to survive in rapids and another sees her silently creeping through the jungle with her bow and arrow and these moments are great little nods toward the game.
Tomb Raider is not without its problems. The plot has some issues late on, a few plot holes here and there and a questionable bike chase at the beginning is incredibly jarring compared to the rest of the film. Aside from that, Tomb Raider is a surprisingly fun and faithfully created video game movie. Whilst the rest of the cast feel lacklustre and largely forgettable, Alicia Vikander’s fantastic Lara Croft is enough to keep the film running through to the climactic ending. Tomb Raider might not be perfect but it’s certainly better than almost every other video game adaptation and a perfectly serviceable action film in its own right. As a fun action flick, Tomb Raider is well worth the time to watch, even if it does falter a little along the way.