Copyright 2001

[ November 30th 2001 ]

Computer games rest on the outcome of a predictable formula - its the getting there that counts. Blockbusters rest on a similar premise. In this case the thing is the formula may look the same, but its really different - computer games are interactive, movies aren't.

And if you have ever sat and watched someone playing a computer game and felt like putting your head in the nearest blender, then you will understand why this movie is a complete screw-up.

The plot involves the search for a mystical artifact called Achilles Shield which, as all such artifacts usually do, has become lost somewhere in space and time. If this wasn't bad enough, there's a secret society waiting to get in the way. In fact, using the word plot at all for this movie, is a bit like trying to polish excrement.

This all comes abundantly clear about half way through when it simply fizzles out and dies and you begin wondering why the movie is actually still going. Simply put, it takes another hour or so for Lara the genius to work out that, as she already has half the artifact, all she really has to do is destroy the thing.

Again, this is the sort of thing that works in computer games. You get to the end and realise you were too stupid to work it all out in the first place and feel like an idiot because the eight-year-old next door worked it out two weeks ago. If the intention of the script writers was just that, then it backfired upon them tenfold.

As such, the old saying that too many cooks spoil the broth is probably true for Tomb Raider. With five writers on board, the story ends up closely resembling a 5-year-old fingerpainting and a team of trained monkeys on acid could have done a much better job.

When it comes to characterisation, it's obvious that Jolie is the perfect choice for the role. And despite her obvious physicality, she does manage to bring a certain amount of attitude and cool to the part but far from enough to raise it above the level of teenage titillation.

And although there are some great action scenes, such as Lara bungee jumping of walls while fighting a bunch of villains, the on-screen delivery is ham fisted and clumsy. A John Woo would have made mincemeat out of this script, while a Simon West, (The Generals Daughter, Con Air) simply rolls over and settles for directorial mediocrity. So much so you have to fear for this man's career.

A total hotch potch, so derivative of other, better movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Batman) all in all, its idiocy is as exposed as Jolie's assets bouncing around the screen. And if that's what you want then you might as well save your money and buy a copy of Playboy instead.

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