By Owen Gleiberman
Updated March 17, 2020 at 02:54 AM EDT

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

  • Movie

In the oh so elegantly titled Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Angelina Jolie, as the swashbuckling archaelogist heroine, spins and whirls and kicks, fires two guns at once, and takes on a handful of baroque animated beasties, yet the movie never summons the slightest pretense that there is anything at stake for the audience. We’re watching powder blast gymnastic overkill in a vacuum. A few of the special effects are nifty, such as the giant crumbling statue of a six armed goddess that comes to life in the herky jerky menacing style of one of Ray Harryhausen’s fabled ’60s creatures.

And Jolie certainly looks game for action. But where’s the lightness, the humor, the play? ”Tomb Raider” doesn’t really exploit Jolie’s sexual flamboyance — in her thigh holsters and tank tops and braid, she’s less Xena than Gapwoman — and though the film is based on a popular videogame, it fails to deliver the enticing mindless eye tickle of living inside a videogame, the way that the Brendan Fraser Mummy films, with their trivial yet tactile CGI effects, do. This is just cut-rate, generic daughter of Indy Jones hokum.

Episode Recaps

Lara Croft, with her plummy British accent, is an aristo daredevil struggling to live up to the dreams of her late father, a noble adventurer portrayed, in flashback, by Jolie’s own father, Jon Voight. Voight is a great actor, but this is still a movie that exploits gossip page overlap to establish its few stray crumbs of drama. The gifted Noah Taylor (”Shine”), as Lara’s Q-like tech nerd assistant, is hauled on screen for a lot of setup and no follow through, and there is so much fruitless mystical blather about magic clocks and aligning planets and the ”triangle of light” that I actually had the thought of going out to rent ”StarGate” in order to clear my head.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 97 minutes