Susan Granger’s review of “Tomb Raider” (Warner Bros./MGM)
You can’t blame Swedish actress Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina,” “Tulip Fever,” “The Danish Girl”) for the inconsistencies of this cinematic reboot of the popular video game. As a petite Lara Croft, she’s feisty and fit-as-a-fiddle.
After proving her energy and endurance in a grueling bike race through East London, Lara remains unwilling to concede that her globe-hopping industrialist/explorer father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), is dead, although he disappeared seven years earlier and hasn’t been heard from since.
After unlocking a puzzle box and unearthing papers revealing her father’s obsession with finding the tomb of Japan’s evil Queen Himiko, who was buried alive 2,000 years ago, Lara takes off for Hong Kong, where she commandeers a boat that belongs to Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), whose father sailed with Croft to the mysterious island of Yamatai.
Shipwrecked as they approach Yamatai, Lara and Lu Ren are captured by mercenary Matthias Vogel (Walter Groggins), who is also searching for the tomb. His job is to excavate the site and disinter Queen Himiko, despite repeated warnings from Richard Croft and, later, Lara.
As Lara’s adventure continues, the rapid succession of melodramatic cliffhangers make it look more and more like the Perils of Pauline.
Inconsistently, often nonsensically scripted by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, it’s formulaically helmed by Norwegian director Roar Uthaug (“The Wave”), who makes his mark with the CG action pieces, like showing tenacious Lara, whose hands are bound, swept away by a raging river and entrapped in the rusted cockpit of crashed plane that’s dangling over a waterfall.
Kristin Scott Thomas and Derek Jacobi appear far too briefly, primarily to set up a sequel.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Tomb Raider” is a sprawling 6, as the foreseeable franchise continues.