With just a couple of neat homage moments that tie back into the recent Tomb Raider video game franchise, its painfully obvious that Roar Uthaug has very little understanding of the franchise, and likely never played the games his film is based on.
Based on the 2013 video game, Tomb Raider is a reboot that stars Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft. This time around, Lara sets out on a dangerous journey to see through her deceased work and uncover the secrets surrounding his disappearance and his studies of the Queen of Yamatai, Himiko, whose legend says that she was able to control death and life itself.
There are a handful of things you could say about 2018’s Tomb Raider reboot film. Vikander is fantastic, and worthy of the role from start to finish. Rather than make the character extremely sexualized, as they did with the Angelina Jolie films that came before, Vikander’s Lara Croft is strong, independent, and extremely fun to watch as she makes her way raiding tombs and fighting roided-out, tattooed, hairy thugs in the jungle. What can also be said, is that director Roar Uthaug’s Tomb Raider is a mess.
Uthaug’s vision feels like someone read the back of the Angelina Jolie DVDs, rented the 2013 game from Red Box, played it for 15 minutes, and resulted in an inexperienced director feeling as though that was all he needed to take on such a beloved franchise. And it shows. Painfully so.
Outside of Vikander’s performance, there is not a single actor in this film that demonstrates an ounce of talent, even though a good portion of the cast has plenty to offer in that department. If anything, the directing is so sloppy, that most of the action sequences and choreography were copy and pasted several times over while simultaneously overlooking the cardboard stiffs beside Vikander as they all run through tombs shouting nonsense at each other and jumping over traps and discovering secret passages.
The film is uninspired, poorly written, and horribly directed. And as much as Vikander’s star power is brought to this film, no amount of Oscar wins and nominations could be strong enough to hold up such a slog of filmmaking.
Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, and Kristin Scott Thomas. The film is directed by Roar Uthaug (yeah, we haven’t heard of him either).