tek's rating:

Tomb Raider (PG-13)
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streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

This 2018 movie is a reboot of the earlier Tomb Raider movies, but it seems to be a new continuity. It's based on a series of video games (specifically one from 2013), none of which I've ever played. It's set when Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is younger than we've seen before (Wikipedia says 21). This is before she ever went on any adventures. We first see her in a sparring match, which she loses. Then we learn that she's a bike courier, despite the fact that she stands to inherit an immense fortune. But that's only if she signs papers declaring her father, Richard, officially dead, and Lara doesn't want to do that. (He's been missing for seven years, but she still believes he's alive.) She's encouraged to sign by her father's business partner, Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas), and another associate named Mr. Yaffe (Derek Jacobi). She finally begins to sign the papers, and Mr. Yaffe gives her a puzzle box her father had left for her. She then decides not to finish signing the papers, but instead follow a clue she finds inside the box, which leads her to a secret room of her father's. There she discovers that he was working on locating an ancient Japanese queen named Himiko, who had the power to kill people with one touch. She had been buried alive under a mountain on an uncharted island called Yamatai. Richard left a video for Lara, asking her to burn all his research so that it wouldn't fall into the wrong hands- a secret organization called Trinity. Instead, Lara decides to follow his research and try to find him.

She travels to Hong Kong, where she hires a sailor named Lu Ren to take her to Yamatai, and his boat ends up being destroyed just off the island. The two of them get separated in a storm, but both make it to the island. They're taken prisoner by a man named Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins), who works for Trinity. He's been searching for Himiko for seven years, and leads a team of mercenaries (or Trinity soldiers, or whatever). Using Richard's research, which he steals from Lara, he finally finds the tomb. But Lara escapes, and... well, I don't want to say what happens next, it seems like a spoiler. Meanwhile, Lu Ren and a group of other prisoners also escape and go off on their own. But Lara eventually gets recaptured, and Vogel takes her and some mercenaries into the tomb to search for Himiko's remains. Of course there's a series of booby traps before they find her. And they make a discovery about Himiko's "power", which I don't want to spoil, but it didn't surprise me. Beyond that, I don't want to reveal too many details. I'll just say the good guys win in the end, of course, but it's a bittersweet ending. But Lara does finally sign the papers and inherit Richard's estate, so now she's rich, but decides to leave the running of the company to Ana, while she prepares for more adventures. (Also, the movie doesn't show this, but I just really hope she bought Lu Ren a new boat.)

Well, I think I liked this movie slightly more than the previous two movies. It's still not something I feel the need to ever watch again, but I'm glad to have seen it, and I look forward to the sequel (assuming it ever gets made). All the action is pretty good, and Lara is still kind of badass, even if not as much as she was in the other movies. The movie is more realistic than its predecessors, and there's plenty of decent drama. And I don't know what else to say. Except there's a pawn shop owner who appears twice in the movie. He's played by Nick Frost, but I failed to recognize him.

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