I have been playing video games since i was a small kid. Back in the 80´s, my dad bought our first Nintendo and i was hooked up. I continued playing games on Amiga 500, and collected a lot of games on that computer. As the 90´s was coming to an end, i had to get into Playstation, and of course play one of my personal favourite games called Tenchu: Stealth Assassins. Even if this game is 20 years old now, it is still a really good game ( i will admit the graphics does not look as impressive today ). I kept on buying the other Tenchu games as well, on different game machines. Another game i also enjoyed to play on Playstation, was Tomb Raider. The adventures of Lara Croft was both fun, and had plenty of action along the way. So of course Hollywood wanted to make sure that Tomb Raider fans got what they asked for, a movie adaptation of the game released in 2001. With a lead role of actor Angelina Jolie, we get plenty of tight outfits, lots of shooting and a lot of different locations worldwide. The first film may have had cheesy action moments, but was fun to watch. The sequel released in 2003 was good enough to enjoy, just for watching Angelina Jolie kick ass. Were these films good video game adaptations ? If you compare to other films, made from video games such as Street Fighter or Super Mario Bros, you have to admit that the Tomb Raider films at least tried to make a bad ass female action hero on screen. After the second film, it seemed that the studio made the decision not to let Angelina Jolie return a third time. And from what i understand, Angelina herself moved on working on other projects instead, not focusing on trying to bring Lara Croft back. After many years of speculations, with different ideas brought to the table, we finally got the news that a completely new Tomb Raider film was going to be made. This time they studio choosed Swedish actor Alicia Vikander ( who won an Oscar for her performance in The Danish Girl ), to be the new Lara Croft. I was surprised to see that Alicia took on this project, in a positive way. I wanted to see what she would do with the character of Lara Croft, if she would bring something completely different to the table. With a brand new remake, and a completely different cast, is Tomb Raider a well made action film, or another proof of why video games adaptations are almost impossible to do as films ?
Lara Croft ( Alicia Vikander ) is a young woman, struggling in London at a low paid job as a bike courier. She often think about what happened to her father Lord Richard Croft ( Dominic West ), as he vanished mysteriously many years ago. Lara is in a bicycle accident involving a police car, and is arrested by police. Richard business partner Ana Miller ( Kristin Scott Thomas ) bails her out. Ana warn Lara, that if she does not sign the papers of her father´s death and claim her inheritance, her father´s estate will be sold off. While reading through the papers, Lara finds a message inside a Japanese puzzle box, with a key. She refuse to sign the papers, and head off to Craft Mansion. With this key, she discover a hidden passage, where she finds out that her father have been searching information about the Japanese shaman queen Himiko. A video tape is left, recorded for Lara where Richard ask Lara to burn all the evidence, so nothing comes into the wrong hands. Lara decide to keep all the evidence of Himiko´s grave, and decide to go look for her father. In Hong Kong, she finds Lu Ren ( Daniel Wu ), captain of the ship Endurance, asking him to help her get to the island of Yamati. On their journey, the ship is destroyed in a violent storm, as Lara is flushed into land. Here she is arrested by the men of Mathias Vogel ( Walton Goggins ), a rival archaeologist of Richard Croft, who takes possession of her evidence of Himiko´s grave location. If Mathias open this grave, a curse of death could spread all over this world.
When you do a new film based on a video game, you have to make sure that it works, and that video game fans will recognize themselves in the characters and the story. Since i am no expert in all the games released so far, i can only judge the film for what this is. And Tomb Raider is actually a film that works, thanks to the lead actor Alicia Vikander. She is a really good choice as Lara Croft, more rough, and don´t need the tight outfits to look cool. Her take on the Lara Croft role is more serious this time, and it shows in the film. You get a different view from her childhood, and you learn more about how she became such a strong woman. You also see how Lara tries to struggle with her personal life, working at a bicycle delivery company. Of course we get plenty of action scenes as well, and Alicia Vikander in action scenes is something we are not used to see. I like the fact that Alicia focus more on her mission, than using a sex appeal like Angelina Jolie did in her performance. Lara Croft is meant to be rough, but still with a good heart. So how is the rest of the cast ? I like the main villain Mathias Vogul, played by actor Walton Goggins ( perhaps mostly rememberd from Predators or Django Unchained ). The scenes where he get to show his cold personality, is his strength to the character. Let´s not forget legendary British actor Dominic West ( seen in many films, i especially you watch him in the British feel good comedy Pride ), who plays Lara´s father Lord Richard. You learn more about his background as well in this film, compared to the previous Tomb Raider films, and this is also a positive detail. He fits with the character, and give Richard a humane personality who have struggled all his life to seek for the truth. Nice to see legendary actor Kristin Scott Thomas here as well. Although she have very little screen time, she still deliver as she always does. Norwegian director Roar Uthaug ( director of the very well made Norwegian film The Wave / Vågen ), have managed to make a movie based on a video game, that actually works. Sure, there are problems here, but i still think he have tried to give new life to the Tomb Raider franchise, making a more solid effort to bring Lara Croft to the big screen. The story searching for the tomb of Himiko, works well as an adventure, reminding us of Indiana Jones, and i get a sense that director Roar Uthaug might have had Indiana Jones influences while making this film. Tomb Raider is not for everyone, but if you enjoyed playing the games, i think you might enjoy this latest film adaptation. Go see the film Tomb Raider in a cinema near you, we need strong female action heroes in this world. And this film shows, if Alicia Vikander can do it, nothing is impossible.