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Lara Croft Tomb Raider:
The Cradle of Life

Starring Angelina Jolie
Screenplay by Dean Geogaris
Directed by Jan de Bont

IN SHORT: same old same old. [Rated PG-13 for action violence and some sensuality. minutes]

Angelina Jolie looks great in a bikini. Angelina Jolie looks great in that skin tight silver thing she's wearing in the poster for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, which you can download for free and save yourself the ten bucks a movie ticket would cost. You get to see both those garments in the first ten or so minutes of this movie and then it's full dress from there. So much for cheap thrills.

Kids who shelled out the big bucks to see their favorite videogame come to life spent enough of that green that we got to sit through yet another edition of the heavy on action, light on character development creation that is the Lara Croft franchise. As with the debut film, the screenplay assumes that the viewing audience already knows all it needs to know about who Lara Croft is and why she does what she does in the way she does it . From the beginning of this site it has been our steadfast rule that you should be able to walk into any movie cold and have it provide you with all the background you need to get through the one or more stories and/or relationships that play out on screen. We ease up on the rule a bit once sequels come rolling down the pike but still, it wouldn't take much to bring the average person up to speed. So . . .

Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) is a gun toting archeologist whose associates seem just as interested (if not more) in the resale value of the artifacts they uncover as they do to the historical importance of those artifacts. Most of the time it seems as if she does more damage than preservation or restoration of the old sites she uncovers. OK, you're up to date.

An exceptionally stupid opening sequence involving a long lost Greek temple sitting in an air bubble deep below a shark infested Mediterranean eventually yields an world spanning adventure that owes as much to scenery as it does to action. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life moves at such a breakneck pace that if you sneeze you'll miss all the necessary explanation for the story, which moves from Greece to China and back to Africa at such a pace that (we) were sure there had to be a continuity error in there somewhere. Like a video game that you can play again and again, the pace of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is built for multiple plays -- on video. We're talking about the story and not apparel described above, though we'd have no qualm about playing those few minutes again and again.

As best we can figure, in that long lost Greek temple (built by Alexander the Great) is a golden orb which has something to do with a long lost map which has something to do with a long lost place called The Cradle of Life which is the resting place of the long lost Pandora's Box. The Box, it seems, was the first biological weapon and has been lost for 2000 years. Lara explains all of this in a fast monolog delivered once the Golden Orb is stolen by thugs in the employ of Chinese warlord Chen Lo (Simon Yam). Lo intends to sell the orb to one Dr. Jonathan Reiss (Ciaran Hinds), a Nobel prize winning biologist who wants to find Pandora's Box, use it to wipe out civilization and then rule what's left of the world. That's why Her Majesty the Queen wants Lara on the case. Archeology and world spanning and virtual destruction go hand in hand with Ms. Croft's abilities. Aiding Lara in this adventure is one time love Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), first seen cooling his heels in prison; the two assistants seen in the first film, Bryce (Noah Taylor) and Hillary (Chris Barrie) and a Masai warrior named Kosa (Djimon Hounsou).

The pace is breakneck. The action is nonstop and all we walked out of the movie theater remembering was the final scenes in which Lara's long braid of hair has a nasty run in with an acid bath. For those whose brains work at videogame speed, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life probably makes sense. To us, it was a lot of exotic scenery and gunfire. The big difference between this version and the original is that Lara occasionally runs out of bullets and has to grab a spare gun from whatever corpse is lying at her feet.

We're not fourteen. This is all eye candy and total nonsense.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, he would have paid . . .


There's little here that we wouldn't mind waiting for a pay per view screening. Add a buck for the scenery if you desire, or if you're a vidiot.

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