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Tomb Raider (2018)

The entertainment industry recycles ideas faster than a hippie on meth recycles empty Kombucha cans.

The adventure serials of the 1930s and 40s became 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the serials' lantern-jawed heroes became Indiana Jones.  In 1996, Jones came out of a sex change as Lara Croft in the video game Tomb Raider.  Hollywood went IRL with Croft and her prodigious, polygonous pom poms in 2001 with Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starring Angelina "Gia" Jolie.  Movie Lara got one sequel before video game Lara was rebooted, and now big screen Croft gets the same treatment.  Hurray for creativity!

Tomb Raider tells Lara's origin story decidedly unoriginally.  That means that Lara (Alicia "Sex Machina" Vikander) is younger, and the whole thing - starting with Croft's more human scale tits - is meant to be grittier and more realistic.  If a piping hot, rock climbing, street fighting, puzzle solving, expert archer, orphan heiress globetrotting from one long-lost treasure map locale to the next in search of legendary plunder can in any fucking way be considered "realistic."

Though her father, Lord Croft (Dominic "McNulty" West), has been missing and presumed dead for seven years, Lara won't sign the papers declaring him legally dead.  Which somehow means that she can't live at her family's manor or have access to daddy's vast fortune.  British law is kooky!

After stumbling onto papa's "if you're watching this I'm dead" video (because all parents make those, right?) in which he asks her to do exactly one thing, destroy all the info. he'd gathered about the secret tomb of the ancient Japanese sorceress-queen Himiko, Lara instead takes the Himiko file with her to the secret island hiding Himiko's temple of doom.  Er, I mean tomb.

Why does Lara do this?  Because she's sure her dad is still alive?  Nope.  Because she desperately wants to solve the Himiko mystery?  Not even a little.  Tomb Raider doesn't have an answer for why Lara heads to the island or why she goes by boat - a boat that inevitably wrecks - rather than by helicopter . . . like the one she uses to leave the stupid island post-adventure.

It may check all the genre boxes: deadly waterfalls, scary spiders, hidden spike traps, loads of skeletons, fallaway floors, chasms too wide to jump and a sinister secret society, but Tomb Raider delivers exactly zero thrills.  Say what you will about the Jolie outings; at least they were dumb fun.

March 23, 2018