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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider- The Cradle Of Life 4K Review

The first two Tomb Raider films get a double feature 4K release.

In 2001’s “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” Angelina Jolie plays the badass titular British archaeologist. The story of the first film in the franchise involves an ancient artifact (The Triangle Of Light) that has been split into two pieces. The Illuminati (namely the villainous Manfred Powell) seeks to complete the artifact which can allegedly control time while Lara Croft and her 2 partners Bryce (the tech guy) and Hilary (the butler) attempt to stop him and destroy the artifact. There’s also subplots involving a shady tomb raider named Alex and Lara’s father (who is missing and presumed dead). 

The Simon West directed “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” was a valiant attempt at making a video game movie and it remains a watchable action-adventure blockbuster even now. That doesn’t mean it’s a particularly good movie though. The Indiana Jones and James Bond inspired plot is your typical “look for a valuable item” globe trotting journey. The story is paper thin and the characterization is even thinner. The movie also boasts some really lame moments that try to be hip like the robot (don’t ask me why that’s here), the techno music infused moments, the obsession with the double guns being on frame, and so on. With that said, there are some fun action set pieces (the bungie one is absurdly entertaining), the big sets are a plus, and Jolie herself is charismatic and perfectly cast. It’s also fun to see Daniel Craig (Alex) and Iain Glen (Manfred) here before they became stars.

I hadn’t actually seen 2003’s “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider- The Cradle Of Life” until now and it turns out I didn’t miss much. The sequel may be bigger but it’s certainly not better. Once again, this is another globe trotting adventure involving an orb that allegedly leads to the location of Pandora’s Box. A villainous scientist turned bio-weapon creator Jonathan hopes to get it and start a new world order essentially. This time around, Lara tries to stop him alongside a mercenary named Terry who she has a history with. 

Jan De Bont takes on the directorial duties this time around and the film looks better for it. Not only does the film have a bigger scope, but the action scenes are more thrilling (namely the temple and base jumping scenes). Unfortunately, those pluses don’t equal a better movie than the first. In addition to featuring some truly terrible scenes (the shark punch and ride, the awful gay joke to close the movie, and the random giant creatures), the sequel just isn’t as engaging as its predecessor. In fact, it’s rather sluggish. Jolie and Gerard Butler (in one of his earliest roles) are both likable in lead roles, but they can’t make up for the slapped together plot (which is essentially a clone of the first film) which desperately wants to be like an Indiana Jones movie. It’s not.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 2160p. How do they look? The picture quality may not quite be up to 4K standards, but the prints are still solid all around.  

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How do they sound? There may not be 4K level tracks but these 5.1 tracks still pack a punch (especially ‘Cradle’).

The lone extras are Digital copies of both films and commentaries on “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” by Simon West and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider : The Cradle Of Life” by Jan De Bont. 

May 29, 2021 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , ,

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