Starring: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Chris Barrie
Director: Jan de Bont
Running Time: 114 mins
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life is an American film and the sequel to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Following the discovery of a map that leads to the location of the mythical Pandora’s Box, Lara Croft sets out to retrieve the artefact ahead of a bio-terrorist.
Well, it’s fair to say that this sequel really tries to be a better film. It loses the dated drum ‘n’ bass backing track, the editing is a little less manic, and the story feels a little less preposterous. However, with a plot that still isn’t hugely intriguing or intelligent, the main appeal of this film should have been its mad video game sensibilities, but all these improvements actually make it a much less entertaining and engaging watch in the end.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was by no means a good film, but the fact that it was so mad, fast-paced and ridiculous gave it a great likeability that allowed you to see past the awful story and just enjoy what’s happening on screen. That’s why it’s a real shame to see that The Cradle Of Life just isn’t as crazy, because, with a plot just as bad, there’s a lot less to get you really invigorated and entertained here.
It does have its moments, however. First and foremost, the action sequences are generally done a lot better. Rather than the odd late 90s vibe that the first film gives off, this sequel feels a lot more like a modern action movie, taking big inspiration at points from movies like Mission: Impossible II. So, at times, particularly in one fantastic parachute sequence in Hong Kong, it is a more impressive and more exciting watch.
Despite that, there is a lot less action here. The first film had a non-stop breakneck pace to it that was filled with mad action sequences, whereas this time round, there’s a lot more focus on the negotiations between the villains and Lara Croft, which means more talking and less fighting.
The writers definitely tried to make a more sensible story, and it’s undeniable that this film at least makes sense, in comparison to the last one, but it’s still not intelligent enough to justify slower talking scenes, and that makes it generally a much less entertaining film to watch.
Overall, The Cradle Of Life is a disappointing sequel. It boasts many improvements over its predecessor, but all those improvements have the inadvertent effect of the film losing its manic video game vibe, and that’s why I’ll give this one a 6.0.