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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler
Director: Jan De Bont
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 118 Minutes
Release Date: July 2003
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Chris Barrie, Ciaran Hinds, Djimon Hounsou, Andrew Joshi, Til Schweiger, Noah Taylor, Ronan Vibert, Simon Yam, Terence Yin

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Angelina Jolie is back again as the intrepid British archeologist Lara Croft in this female-propelled version of Indiana Jones-meets-James Bond. The globe-trotting adventure fantasy begins on the Greek island of Santorini, where a volcanic eruption allows Croft access to a long-lost orb buried in the subterranean Luna Temple of Alexander the Great. The orb is a map to the fabled Pandora's Box which - according to a villainous bioterrorist (Ciaran Hinds) - contains world-wide destructive powers. Problem is: Chinese mercenaries are also after the artifact. So it's a race to discover where it's buried. Instead of working alone, Lara Croft springs a former flame (Gerard Butler) from a Kazakhstan prison and, together, they're off to China - then Hong Kong - then Kenya, where she's met by an old friend (Djimon Hounsou) who serves as her translator.

Director Jon De Bont ("Speed," "Twister") propels the high-speed motion with some of the summer's most spectacular stunts, particularly an acrobatic rooftop leap onto a barge, dazzlingly photographed by David Tattersall. While stunning Angelina Jolie has the convincing physicality, it's too bad screenwriter Dean Georgaris and his cohorts didn't come up with more of the caustic humor that lightens both Indiana Jones and James Bond. Whereas both of these macho men enjoy curvy distractions, grizzled, gnarly Gerard Butler with his thick Scottish brogue is a curious choice to charm Lady Croft. And the CGI creatures guarding The Cradle of Life are little more than silly spooks. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life" is an action-packed 7, continuing the video game-inspired, popcorn-picture fun.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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