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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life: Jolie’s Exercise in Futility

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I was impressed by how unimpressive Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life really was. About the only movie that I’ve seen this summer that rivals Cradle of Life‘s redundant inanity is Legally Blonde 2.

Cradle of Life is the second installment of the Tomb Raider series, starring the oh-so sexy Angelina Jolie. I’m not much of an action fan, but I am somewhat of an Angelina fan. Somewhat.

I thought her stint as a psycho-bitch in Girl, Interrupted was well deserving of her Oscar. However, ever since then, Jolie’s work has been less than spectacular (The Bone Collector, Gone in 60 Seconds, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider). One can understand Jolie’s reluctance to be typecast as the druggie psychotic a la Gia and Girl, Interrupted, but she has now fallen in a sort of action-movie bad-girl mold that really isn’t doing much for her.

The problem with action movies is that they are rarely about individual characters. Usually, they are about deadly schemes, or gangs of wrongdoers, or people trying to save the world. They are always larger and more ambitious than they should be, and this hardly ever bodes well for their stars. Indeed, most of the scenes that people consider the “really good” scenes in an action movie probably don’t involve the star of the movie at all, but rather a silly stunt double.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that action movies are bad per se. I’m just saying that the focus of an action movie is usually not on the actors or the acting. Insofar as that is the case, perhaps people with huge acting potential should steer clear of these roles.

In any case, Jolie embraces her role as Lara Croft once more, and does as mediocre a job as could be expected. However, I don’t think this is a critique of Jolie’s performance, but rather of the form of the action movie itself, which would not allow her to be anything but mediocre. Attempting to be anything more than that would be an exercise in futility. Alas.

I’d give Jan De Bont’s Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life a D+.

[Visit this author’s blog page at Unfashionable Observations.]
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  • http://www.temptationwaits.com visualsimplicity

    I quite enjoyed Cradle of Life, it was much much better than part 1. I felt that the dynamic love-hate (trust-untrust) relationship between the characters of Lara Croft and Terry Sheridan gave this movie more of what you mentioned was lacking, individual character, than the previous movie. Plus the movie managed to give a sort of feeling of grand adventure with all the scenic shots (especially the flight scene over Hong Kong), which goes well with the Tomb Raider series.

    My only gripe was that for a tomb raider who appreciates historical artifacts, Lara Croft sure as heck doesn’t seem to think twice about destroying ancient (precious?) buildings.