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Tomb Raider

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Tomb Raider

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight
Director: Simon West
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: June 2001
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Iain Glen, Chris Barrie, Daniel Craig, Noah Taylor, Rachel Appleton, Richard Johnson, Leslie Phillips

Review by Edward Johnson-Ott
No Rating Supplied

At the end of an action scene in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," a wall collapses near the nubile warrior. With her face on the floor, she gazes into the rubble, then grins abruptly and says "Oh, my car keys!" I mention this scene because it was the only moment in the whole damned production that made me smile.

Based on an incredibly popular video game, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" is a lousy movie. The structure goes like this: Poorly-staged action sequence, boring exposition, poorly-staged action sequence, boring exposition, etc. etc., The End. Basically, the film exists to showcase Angelina Jolie's puffy lips and enhanced tits. Close-ups are framed oh-so-carefully to include her million dollar bazooms. Running scenes highlight her bouncing breasts in vintage "Baywatch" fashion. There's even include a shower scene that offers a brief side view of them.

But the filmmakers are so inept they can't even flash the audience correctly. The one extended display of nudity is of - get ready for this - a guy. For no particular reason, a muscular supporting character strolls around naked for about 30 seconds, with each shot composed to barely cover his package, la "Austin Powers." Now, I enjoy a good looking male body as much as the next gay guy, but what the hell is beefcake doing in a T&A flick aimed at heterosexual males?

Of course, what else should one expect in a film that does virtually nothing right? "Tomb Raider" sets up elaborate action set pieces, then renders them incomprehensible with needless jump cut editing (a promising dual bungee cord battle is ruined by excessive cuts). It promises a series of exotic locales, then delivers cavernous sets and grimy matte paintings with smoggy skies. Throw in some bargain basement computer graphics and you end up with the ugliest movie to come down the pike in many moons.

Intended to be a rousing "Indiana Jones" style adventure, "Tomb Raider" lacks any sense of tension. The low point comes when Lara is "threatened" by statues of monkey warriors and a giant multi-armed Shiva figure that come to life courtesy of CGI. Easily the lamest menaces I have ever seen, the creatures move like snails and fall apart with a single shot from a gun. If you ever have to be chased by monsters, pray that you get the monkey warriors.

"Tomb Raider" tells a story, sort of. Once every 5,000 years, the planets align. A group of very bad men are out to find two halves of an object that, if reassembled just as the planets align, will give them control OVER TIME ITSELF. Lara's goal is to stop them and rescue her long-missing poppa (Jon Voight, Jolie's real life dad). None of this matters though, because stunning gaps in internal logic assure that the plot of "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" is as lame as ever other aspect of the film - except Angelina Jolie's lips and breasts.

Copyright 2001 Edward Johnson-Ott

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