New 'Tomb Raider' flick just an OK film, nothing more, nothing less

"Tomb Raider," the new Lara Croft prequel by director Roar Uthaug ("The Wave," "Cold Prey," "Magic Silver"), is basically "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in the dark; written, directed and acted with none of Indiana Jones' sense of humor.

Probably due to the fact that it is also offered in 3-D, half of this movie's action sequences are filmed in almost total darkness. You can still see the action, but it is just too dark (disclaimer: I am NOT a fan of modern 3-D).

The acting is done as well as can be expected, even though the story is a bit week and the dialogue is pretty vanilla. There is not a whole lot of ANYTHING that is remarkable about this movie.

Alicia Vikander ("Ex Machina," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "The Danish Girl") as Lara Croft, in her younger (than Angelina Jolie) life. She is very attractive and very athletic, although her sex appeal, unlike Jolie's 2001/2003 sultry look, is mostly overshadowed by a cute tomboy demeanor, which may or may not have been intentional.

Dominic West ("The Wire," "300," "Johnny English Reborn") as her dad, Lord Richard Croft, gives one of the better performances here, as the veteran actor enjoys a very meaty role that he takes full advantage of.

The biggest reason that I was looking forward to this movie was to watch Walton Goggins ("The Shield," "Justified," "The Hateful Eight") as Mathias Vogel. I was fairly disappointed, as Goggins plays pretty much the same character that he has performed in his signature role as Shane Vendrell in "The Shield" and his role as Boyd Crowder in "Justified."

As Lu Ren, Daniel Wu ("Warcraft: The Beginning," "New Police Story," "Into the Badlands") takes advantage of every minute of his limited screen time, and will do well in planned sequels, here.

Second-tier performances include Kristin Scott Thomas ("The English Patient," "Gosford Park," "Only God Forgives") playing a stiff character, as family friend, Ana Miller, may have the opportunity in future adventures to become a major player, but not here.

Hers was a character appearance only meant to reference sidebar facts and to keep her face in the "picture."

Derek Jacobi ("Gladiator," "Gosford Park," "Underworld: Evolution") as Family Barrister Mr. Yaffe, may also continue on into the franchise. His physical look is more memorable than his acting, although his acting is very professional.

This is an above-average action/adventure movie, a 21st-century version of an Allan Quatermain adventure with (unlike the Indiana Jones franchise) mostly Hollywood-believable action sequences and steady, fast-moving action.

There is nothing wrong with this movie, but there is nothing that really makes it fantastic, either. No Golden Statue moments or performances, but it is worth sitting through if you like to watch actors take your mind off of the real world.

And, sometimes that is exactly why we do it. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a movie is just a movie.

Billy Summers is a freelance photographer who also reviews films for the Putnam Herald. He can be reached at

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