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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

UK / Germany / USA / Japan 2001
produced by
Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Colin Wilson, Stuart Baird (executive), Jeremy Heath Smith (executive) for Paramount, Mutual Films, Eidos Interactive, BBC, KFP Produktions GmbH, Tele-München, Toho-Towa
directed by Simon West
starring Angelina Jolie, Iain Glen, Daniel Craig, Noah Taylor, Chris Barrie, Jon Voight, Richard Johnson, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Leslie Phillips, Robert Phillips, Ozzie Yue, Lau Wai-Keat
based on a videogame character by Core Design

Lara Croft

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The Illuminati hunger for world domination once again, & this time they need a certain clock to find a certain mystical triangle that's broken into 2 halves, but when one puts the pieces together again, exactly at the time of the planetary alignment (which happens only every 5000 years, & would you know it in a few days from now, too), they have a thingie with which to control time itself, & they send their best disciple, Powell (Iain Glen) out to look for the clock & the triangle.

But oh bugger, the clock is in the possession of Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie), who has received it from her father (Jon Voight, Angelina Jolie's real life father) as a present from beyond his grave, & he tells her she has to save the world by finding & destroying the halves of the triangle. But oh bollocks, exactly at this time Powell has sent out his henchmen to storm Lara's mansion, & despite her prowess, & the fact that she kills a great many of them, they succeed in stealing the clock.

Lara though was never one to stay put for long, so she immediatley hires her army pals to fly her to Thailand, where, in a temple complex, she & Powell plus henchies - including Croft's ex-boyfriend/colleague Alex West (Daniel Craig) - start a race to get their hands on the first half of the triangle ... & thanks to her intelligence & her dilligence, Lara is not only able to find the darn thing, but also gets away with it, despite some evil mechanism bringing to life a great number of stone statues - including a giant one of Kali.

With her half of the triangle, Lara is in a good bargaining position, & soon enemies Lara & Powell become allies for the time being - especially since Powell promises her that with the triangle, she can keep her father from dieing ...

Together, Powell & Lara head for Siberia, where, in the ruined city, the second half of the triangle is supposed to be ... & it's about time, too, since the planetary alignment is just minutes away ...

Of course, thanks to Lara the second half is found & the 2 halves put together, but now Lara refuses to cooperate, wanting to keep Powell from doing evil ... so Powell shoots her ex Alex, just to keep her in line ... & now Lara has to put the triangle to the test, just to go back in time to save Alex (for some reason), & oopsie, in the past she happens to meet her father, who tells her to destory the blasted triangle, because meddling with time ... well, you know.

Lara goes back to the present & does as her father told her, however somehow Alex still is saved, & the ruined city decides to take this opportunity to collapse, which means everybody has to flee in a hurry ... except for Powell & Lara of course, who decide to pick exactly this moment to duke it out over Lara's father's pocket watch (not the magical one, a real & simple pocket watch - what are they thinking).

To nobody's real surprise, Lara wins & escapes the collapsing city too, just in time.

 

Created in 1996 by the British company Core Design for a series of action oriented videogames, the character Lara Croft was to become something of a videogame icon, a character almost everybody in remotely the right age for that kind of thing would instantly recognize. A (Hollywood-)movie-adaptation of course was inevitable ...

The movie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider proved to be little better or worse than many other American action flicks of its time, devoid of anything in terms of originality or even a thought-through approach to its material, instead flipping through the usual catalogue that films like this at least tsince he highly derivative Indiana Jones-series steal from: a massive dose of elements from 1930's serials, scenes lifted directly from Ray Harryhausen's Sindbad-films, the occasional nod to the Doctor Who-logic of timetravel, & watered-down stunts lifted from Hong Kong action flicks. This might now make the movie worse than it actually is, since the story at least keeps the action up at a reasonable pace - despite some unbelievably sappy scenes -, but for some reason the best action scene was put at the beginning of the movie, when Lara fights her pet killerrobot in a training session, while the fistfight at the end is a real letdown.

The bigger letdown though is that the irony of the concept - a big-breasted sexy archeologist in shorts gunning down men by the number - is totally lost on the cast (except for Chris Barrie, who puts as much humour as possible into his limited role), which is not helped at all that Angelina Jolie, who certainly looks the part, but is supposed to be British, & certainly misses the special kind of humour to convincingly deliver her flippant remarks, & as a result they sound more like pedestrian action hero(ine) oneliners.

So, if you want to see a scantily clad gun-wielding girl who can really deliver funny lines (& takes her bra - & everything else - off too, for that matter), I'd suggest you rather watch Seduction Cinema's Lara Croft-spoof Misty Mundae, Mummy Raider !

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD