Directed by Jan De Bont

Written by Dean Georgaris

Running Time: 1:57

Rated PG-13
for action violence and some sensuality.


Angelina Jolie
as Lara Croft

Gerard Butler
as Terry Sheridan

Ciarán Hinds
as Jonathan Reiss

Christopher Barrie
as Hillary

Noah Taylor
as Bryce

Djimon Hounsou
as Kosa

Til Schweiger
as Sean

Simon Yam
as Chen Lo


Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life rests completely on the shoulders of the amazing Angelina Jolie. She saves what would otherwise be just another random action film.


The race is on to see who can get to the legendary Pandora's Box, located in the cradle of life. But to find the Box, you need the mysterious orb to use as a map and that's where the battle begins. Jonathan Reiss, an evil man who enjoys killing people just for the heck of it, has control over the orb, and Lara Croft is hard on his tail trying to get it back. Along side her is a former lover and current prisoner, Terry Sheridan. Is Terry on Lara's side or is he simply using her to get the Box for himself? If Reiss finds the Box first, he's planning on selling it to the highest bidders and once the box is opened, hell will be unleashed upon the Earth. Lara must get to the box first and make sure it is never opened. Who will win this amazing race?


Let's first start off with the fact, and I mean fact, that Angelina Jolie is, in the immortal words of Fat Bastard, dead sexy. She's not cute, she's not sweet, she's not good looking, she's dead sexy. Throw any other woman into this role and this movie would suck. But in the hands of Angelina, Lara Croft is the baddest, hottest woman on the planet. The first two outfits she's in during the film set that tone quickly. Now that I've got that out of the way...

The movie itself was kind of just, well, blah. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. It was just sort of there. Whether that was because this was the thousandth action film of the summer or because the movie was just blah, I'm not sure. But I never really got into the film, as much as I wanted to. That being said, in many ways, The Cradle of Life was actually superior to the original. The biggest problem with the original film was that there wasn't any sense that Lara had emotions. She was always calm, cool and collected so even when she was in danger, you never felt like anything was going to happen to her. This time around, she gets hurt right off the bat and is left for dead in the middle of the ocean. Then they add a character whom she has had a past relationship with and you're always wondering whether she still cares for him or not. And there were plenty of times in the film where she was in danger and didn't just smile and escape. She got hurt and needed help to overcome the odds. Adding that dimension to the character really opened up the film because she felt like a real person and not some superhero.

The story was also more straightforward. It was simple, and yet there was always a sense of urgency. Sending two groups, one good and one bad, towards one goal is always a good plot and having that one goal be a device that could destroy the world is also a solid story line. This time around the characters beyond Lara Croft were more interesting. The bad guy felt like a real bad guy and he proves that right from the start. True he didn't look much more menacing than say, Donald Trump, but considering his primary job was creating weapons of terrorism, it wasn't much of a leap to imagine he wasn't a nice guy. And Lara's relationship with Terry Sheridan really helped give this movie a solid footing because you could see her let her guard down around him; something she never did in the first film.

It was the action sequences I think that let the movie down. Jan De Bont is a talented action director, but he played this one by the numbers and never really let loose. There were a couple of sequences that were cool but nothing really spectacular. And for some reason the use of slo-motion was horrible in the film, cutting in and out at strange times and rarely used to good effect. Much like in the first film, I think Jolie has the talent and charisma to pull off exciting action scenes, but they never let her go nuts. She always feels slightly reigned in and I wish, if they make another film, they'd let her loose and just go insane.


So overall, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life was a solid, if unspectacular, action film. Angelina Jolie once again saves the film with her intense beauty and her mastery of the Croft character. While in most ways this movie was better than the original, it still lacked that certain something that makes other action films more entertaining.

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reviewed 07/23/03

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