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Film critics strike at second Tomb Raider

Impassive, absurd, boring, unoriginal.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Tomb Raider continues to suffer at the hands of critics. After The Angel of Darkness received an almost universal panning from the gaming press, the reviews of Lara's second big screen outing - The Cradle of Life - have started to appear. And they aren't great.

IMDB, a site that polls viewers and often plots the significance of a film quite accurately, so far gives The Cradle of Life a 5.6 out of 10 score, with one user saying that the "impassive sequel simply goes through the motions," describing some scenes as "just plain absurd" and noting that one of the film's writers was one Steven E. de Souza, who also wrote the execrable 1994 Street Fighter movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Raul Julia.

Meanwhile, The Daily Texan says the best thing about the film is Angelina Jolie, commenting that "most viewers will get bored at some point during this film." And despite paying homage to "beautiful cinematography of Santorini, Greece, Hong Kong and the countryside of Kenya," the reviewer remarks that "It's a shame that Croft and her partner Sheridan have to ride their motorcycles over the Great Wall or helicopter into Kenya's mountains," concluding that "The story lacks originality and compelling characters."

The Washington Tribune is equally unimpressed, calling Jolie "an impossibly overendowed computer-game icon," who "acts with all the range of one." "Physically, she's impressively well-rounded. But her performance is flat, flat, flat." They also have an interesting article about Lara's love-life, although we were too horrified to actually read it.

But despite the film's many critics, The Globe and Mail calls The Cradle of Life "a better-paced film" than its "mild, but memorable" predecessor, even if it "isn't nearly as much fun as the original". Perhaps the flaw is that this time, Lara has a boyfriend. As The Globe puts it, "Last time out, only the audience was alive to Lara's charms. We were her boyfriend. Now we have to compete with a grunting Scot (Gerard Butler, who complains Lara won't 'let anyone in'." The review also calls into question the film's villain, calling Jonathan Reiss "a generic, purse-lipped villain who the screenwriters burden with stock bad-guy lines that even Dr. Evil would pass on," and seems to conclude that it's "unaccountably serious" and tedious.

Perhaps the world at large will be somewhat kinder to Lara's second movie outing, and after the first film grossed more than $300 million worldwide, this one is bound to find an audience regardless. But like the latest in the game series, most punters will probably find themselves turned off in the long run.

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