out of Five
Running time: 117
An extremely disappointing sequel that’s actually boring – with a dreadful script, dull set-pieces and poorly directed action scenes, it’s safe to say that this ‘Cradle’ doesn’t rock.
Actually Worse Than The Last One
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was certainly no masterpiece in terms of script or acting, but it nevertheless had a few things going for it – the costume department got the ‘look’ right plus it had a couple of original set pieces, notably the ‘bouncing around on elastic ropes’ scene.
You’d have thought, then, that a lot more effort would have gone into the sequel – after all, since Lara Croft is basically just a kick-ass female combination of James Bond and Indiana Jones, how hard could it be just to rip off a few of the best scenes and lines from those movies? Sadly, however, the sequel is a total disaster – it blindly commits all the mistakes of the first one and then throws in a few of its own for good measure.
The risible plot involves Lara (Angelina Jolie) being commissioned by the government to beat Evil Biological Weapons Expert Ciaran Hinds to the location of the legendary Pandora’s Box.
In order to get there, they first need to decode the map on an ancient golden globe, an artefact which may be thousands of years old but nonetheless appears to have video projection capabilty. The government kindly allow her to choose her own sidekick so she chooses imprisoned ex-flame Gerard Butler, a man with a chemistry rating of below zero and a tendency to whisper a lot, Phil Mitchell-style.
Everything Equally Abysmal
There’s so much that’s wrong with the film that it’s difficult to know where to begin. The script is atrocious – its best example of a witty comeback is Lara telling someone to “Piss off”. The film also completely wastes Chris Barrie as her butler, Hilary – even more than the first film did – which is a shame, because a few Rimmer-worthy one-liners would have livened this up no end.
The acting is equally abysmal, with Jolie looking the part but putting no effort into her delivery other than an odd-sounding English accent. If anything she comes across as plastic rather than wooden. The only two actors to emerge with any credit are Noah Taylor as her techie mate Bryce and Djimon Hounsou (typecast again as a tribesman), both of whom are way too good for movies like this.
Foolishly, the film also dispenses with the iconic green t-shirt, lycra
shorts combo of the first film and comes up with some really stupid costumes instead – her ultra-thin, nipple-revealing silver wetsuit is bad enough, but she spends a large part of the movie wearing what appears to be a gold lamé tracksuit top.
Worst Stunts Ever
All this would be forgivable if the set-pieces were even remotely exciting, but both the fights and the stunts are so poorly-directed that in context they seem extremely dull – for example, the bit where Jolie and Butler abseil upside down while firing guns looks cool in the trailer but stupid in the film. The stunts are also rather stupid – at one point she attacks a helicopter by ‘riding’ a neon horse towards it, very slowly.
That said, there are two good scenes - a ridiculous bit where Lara slashes her arm underwater, then punches a shark in the face and hitches a ride to the surface (yes, it's Lara Croft: Shark Rider); and The Attack Of The CGI Killer Rock Monsters, which seems like it belongs in a different film. In fact, Lara Croft And The Killer Rock Monsters would have been a lot more fun all round.
In short, this is a disaster that proves two things: director Jan De Bont got lucky with Speed and should now go back to cinematography; and bigger isn’t necessarily better – a line towards the end, referring to Pandora’s box could equally refer to the film: "All that power...and such a banal container." Let’s hope there’s no Tomb Raider 3.