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Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
2003 - PG-13 - 118 Mins.
Director: Jan De Bont
Producer: Lawrence Gordon
Written By: Dean Georgaris
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Ciaran Hinds, and Chris Barrie.
Review by: Joe Rickey
Gerard Butler made his feature film debut in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies in a small role in a naturally big blockbuster of a film. Following that film he went on to appear in such films as the television production Attila, as the titular character in Wes Craven’s Dracula 2000, and a fairly large role in the 2002 post-apocalyptic actioner Reign of Fire which performed disappointingly at the box office during a time of immense competition which befits the summer movie season. Now he appears in the second film based upon the popular video game franchise, the laboriously titled Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.

It was almost a clear sweep of popular opinion that the first Tomb Raider film was a needlessly slow-moving and generally boring attempt at an action film in the vein of Indiana Jones. As a result, the producers of The Cradle of Life decided that it was best to hire a new screenwriter and a new director as an attempt to rejuvenate what they hope will be a successful franchise of films for years to come. Does all of their retooling make for a better tomb raiding adventure or is this attempt at a franchise doomed to be buried after this outing?

It must be said right off the bat that this second Tomb Raider film is miles ahead of the original in terms of plot and entertainment value. This time the plot has Lara attempting to stop a group of bioterrorists from using an ancient orb to unlock the legendary powers of Pandora’s box. From this serviceable plot the film incorporates many fun action sequences with an underwater scene early in the film amazing to behold in its beauty, a feat considering that it would be hard for most anyone to recall a single scene from the first film. Director Jan De Bont (Speed, The Haunting) keeps the film moving and rather interesting most of the time with only a few moments of the film seeming superfluous.

The acting for the film is fine for this type of film with Angelina Jolie fitting her role as Lara Croft perfectly. Gerard Butler has the charisma to make his role fun and altogether entertaining. The secondary actors also are fine; doing the best with what little screen time they are given.

Overall, the second Tomb Raider film is not only a vast improvement over the below average original, it is a very fun action film in its own right.

Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

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