Blu-ray Review: Tomb Raider - (2018)

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The 2018 Tomb Raider reboot, now available on Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (also 4K UltraHD, DVD, and Digital HD), is based on the 2013 video game of the same name. Much of the general moviegoing public, however, is of course familiar with Lara Croft—the titular raider of tombs—from the 2001 and 2003 hits starring Angelina Jolie. Now it's Alicia Vikander (an Oscar winner for The Danish Girl, also widely acclaimed for her role Ex Machina) in the role. She makes for a pretty fierce heroine, but the movie itself is a rather ho-hum actioner.

Directed by Norwegian filmmaker Roar Uthaug (his U.S. feature debut), there are a number of compelling action sequences but not enough reason to truly care. Haunted by the disappearance of her archaeologist father Richard Croft (Dominic West), Lara gets by as a bike messenger—and something of a daredevil rider, at that. An early "fox hunt" bike race through city streets provides a breathless highlight, ably displaying Uthaug's gift for directing kinetic action. In truth, Lara doesn't need her bike delivery income. She's the heir to Richard's fortune, but claiming it will require acknowledging that her dad is likely gone forever.

Needless to say, Lara musters the gumption to stake her claim and in doing so gains access to her father's detailed research and work concerning Himiko, Queen of Yamatai. This supernaturally powerful ancient queen may or may not hold secrets involving the very nature of life (!) and death (!). In short order, Lara travels to Asia and gets herself into all sorts of scrapes (some more exciting than others; a bit involving a decaying plane perched atop a potentially deadly waterfall is among the best) as she uses her dad's notes to retrace his path.

Much of the movie plays like the cinematic equivalent of a set of hits by an Indiana Jones cover band. Pardon the mixing of mediums, but it's an apt way to sum up the lack of imagination overall. Most of this Tomb Raider feels like it raided Spielberg's bag of tricks. It looks and sounds impressive, but it resembles watching a video game played by someone else. Which makes sense given the source material. The filmmakers haven't done enough to craft a story strong enough to stand on its own.

Warner Bros.' Blu-ray edition comes equipped with a series of four 'behind-the-scenes' featurettes that total about a half hour. The best one is the ten-minute "Lara Croft: Evolution of an Icon," which offers an overview of the iconic character's history.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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