Film: Tomb Raider
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West
Rating: * ½
It’s not as though Tomb Raider is the worst film ever made on this planet. God knows there are enough franchise films from Hollywood floating around claiming for a place among the most dreadful cinematic experiences of our lifetime
Tomb Raider is a sum-total of many failures. It tries to re-define the myth of the modern warrior queen propagated by Angeline Jolie many years ago in the Lara Croft films, renewed in the feminine grace of Alicia Vikander who goes through the athletic paces with a selfassured robustness (with no emphasis on the bust) seldom seen in female heroes.
There is one heartstopping action scene staged on the skeleton of an abandoned aircraft on the top of torrential waterfall that is breathtaking in its vigour . The rest of the film is so flabby and droopy it makes the stand-out action sequence seem like the only reason why this poorly- conceived gaming actioner was revivified for an audience that has long moved on.
Tomb Raider sets its action on an island infested with villainous neo-slavedrivers making migrant workers toil to open up a vault containing the tomb of a fearsome goddess. The hocus-pocus and the mumbojumbo are dressed up as an emotional father-daughter saga staged in spasms of dithering drama between dad Dominic West(who performs poorly in the impoverished script) and MsVikander who bravely ploughs through the aridity of a godforsaken plot that has no room for real emotions.
The writing is blunt and the dialogues compete for flatness with Ms Vikander’s washboard stomach. All this would have been bearable if the action was riveting. The stunts do not have the sustained momentum that this reawakened franchise demands. The archvillain played by Walton Goggins looks like a cocaine addict out on a wild safari that takes on a biblical journey through bondage and brutality.
More is the pity . Because we need more female heroes. Interestingly there is a fleeting Indian character Nitin a grocer in London who has a Hindu name but whose family looks Pakistani and who has the hots for Lara Croft and who says goodbye to Lara with an ‘Alvida’.
There is also a reference to Patna, the city where I belong in this global mess of a film. If only the mapped majesty made room for some spatial harmony . The plot just meanders from one chimeric thrill to another like a monkey swinging from branch to branch. Fun to watch but nothing rewarding about it.