Lara Croft is back and she’s jumping headfirst into the action thanks to an impressive turn by Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander in the new action blockbuster Tomb Raider.
Finding a hidden message from her adventurer father Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), intrepid university student Lara Croft leaves London and travels to the far east in search of adventure. But what she finds is a sinister conspiracy that could end the world, and soon Lara is forced into a breakneck chase for survival as she works to outwit and outrun a dangerous adversary.
When reviewing Tomb Raider the action begins with Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. The award-winning actresses takes on the beloved character and does something different with her. Vikander’s performance is not in keeping with Angelina Jolie’s hyper-sexualized performance from the early 2000s but is more in keeping with the game’s new emphasis. Her Lara is a troubled young woman who has scorned her past life and any chance of a future and is more of a reprobate than an actual legend when we first meet her. And like every hero she must go on a journey that will push her to both her mental and physical limits as she fights for what’s right.
While I myself am not overly familiar with the Lara Croft gaming franchise I enjoyed what Vikander did with the character. Vikander gives an incredibly physical performance and she underwent intense training to perform the rigorous stunts that she gets involved in. She’s absolutely shredded and I could completely buy her athleticism that she used to overpower her adversaries along with her analytical mind. What’s more, I was completely in love with her never quit attitude, and in this film, Lara definitely gets put through the ringer, making this all the more important.
I also have to give a shout out to director Roar Uthaug who really brought something different to the film’s big-budget action set pieces. I’ve watched a lot of action film’s but these sequences really spoke to me as he used them to propel the narrative forward. Every action set-piece had a narrative piece to it which built off of one another, with one action propelling the next one forward. This was particularly evident in the ‘shipwreck’ scene and the ‘B-52 Bomber wreck’ scene. Vikander was always met by furthering obstacles during these events and I was particularly impressed with how they were set up. In a cinema landscape where car chases and CGI explosions dominate, seeing intelligence, logic and problem solving placed into such a high octane action film.
Every heroine also needs her villain and Vikander’s Croft finds hers in Walton Goggins Mathias Vogel. I’ve been a long time fan of Goggins ever since he first appeared in The Shield back in 2002 and he’s a performer who has continued to go onto bigger and better things such as working with Quentin Tarantino on two of the director’s biggest works ever, Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight. But for Tomb Raider Goggins goes full villain and his is without any kind of emotion or heart. Vogel is a real matter of fact kind of villain who is only concerned with accomplishing his mission and his complete lack of empathy also makes for a great reflection to Lara’s heroic never quit attitude. It was great to see these two performers spar with another and their animosity towards each other keeps things interesting.
I really had a blast watching Tomb Raider and I liked the edginess and break-neck speed that Vikander has brought to the property. It was clever, kinetic and action-packed and I really felt my adrenal gland kick in with this action hit. If you too want to exhaust your adrenal gland then I definitely advise that you see Tomb Raider immediately.
Image: Roadshow Films