Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life
Video game heroine Lara Croft gets called back into action.
Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) would rather enjoy life as a recreational tomb raider instead of answering the call to serve her country and the world. But alas, all play and no work can make for a dull existence, and even the hardened heroine can't refuse the call to stop a maniacal mastermind.
On the verge of world domination is Dr. Jonathan Reiss (Ciarán Hinds). His hobby of creating biological weapons has him on the lookout for new ideas, the latest being the fabled Pandora's Box, rumored to be hidden somewhere in Africa in an area known as "The Cradle of Life."
Opening the box will set off the deadliest plague the world has ever known. The aggressive entrepreneur is certain whatever made Pandora regret her curiosity can be divvyed up and sold for some good money to other nasty people. And like so many movie madmen, he obviously hasn't bothered to consider such consequences as who on earth will be left to fly his plane and take care of all his other "necessities."
With both parties racing to locate the antiquity, the initial panic is to translate a map found on the outside of a golden orb. Reiss has the orb and Croft needs to get her hands on it before he finishes extracting the information. Conveniently the chase stops at various worldwide locales, which provide some beautiful backdrops for this visually appealing film.
Like the last Tomb Raider, this movie is low on profanities (some mild language along with one use of the usual scatological term) and even lighter in sexual content (one passionate clothed moment is brought to a sudden halt). Yet some parents may object to the many scenes of violence.
Guns and knives are the favored weapons, but fists, kicks, and any other handy item are used to maim and murder a generous amount of no-name characters. Often shootings and other killing appear onscreen, although they are usually without gore. And while the story is implausible, much of the violence it contains is not softened by its fantastical nature, such as the depiction of an unsuspecting man sipping a drink that is laced with a deadly virus. The result is an extended scene with the character choking and coughing up blood before he dies.
Like the first movie, the characters perform some stunning stunts, including a jump from a 1,000-foot Hong Kong building by two people wearing unique winged suits. But this newest incarnation of the buxom video game babe offers a more simplistic script with stock good and bad guys, and a body count that prevents it from racking up a high score for family viewing.