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TOMB RAIDER - 2 Slimes
Rated PG-13
Copyright 2001 Paramount Pictures (and about ten others too)
Reviewed by Eric on 30 June 2002

The Characters:  

  • Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft - Our invincible protagonist. Thank you Wonderbra, now with kevlar!
  • Jon Voight as Lord Croft - I'm glad I'm playing a dead guy, because my performance is being phoned in from purgatory.
  • Iain Glen as Manfred Powell - I'm the cookie cutter megalomaniac bad guy who shot your father. Let's shag!
  • Noah Taylor as Bryce - I so want to be Q from the Bond franchise.
  • Daniel Craig as Alex West - The most ineffectual "rival" in the history of action/adventure films.
  • Chris Barrie as Hillary - I'm the butler you smeggin' smeghead! Hey, where did my "H" go?

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Kill the bad guy, get the prize, save the world, end of story.

Just kidding.

The problem with this movie is not the movie itself (though it does have more than its fair helping of problems), it's the expectations placed on it. People either looked at it as a video game based movie, in which case it has to be a fan-boy masturbation fest to be considered a success by the no-friend-o playing video heads (at the expense of the rest of the movie going public). Or they watch it as an Indiana Jones rip-off, in which case it cannot compete. Though it can be argued that it is both of these things, those are no-win comparisons. It is the video game kiss of death that hangs heavy over any such endeavor.

However if you look at it as a James Bond style flick, suddenly it becomes a raging success. Face it, the entire world LOVES James Bond and those movies are just as improbable, juvenile, poorly acted, and two-dimensional as this one (well, except for Lara's... ...oh, I'm not even gonna say it). But they are fun and so is this one. Hell, it is better than "Moonraker" or "License to Kill." *SHUDDER* The parallels between this film and the Bond movies borders on plagiarism. We have a virtually invincible British protagonist who never looses her cool, a gimmicks man that provides the protagonist with high-tech toys, a superficial, wealthy villain bent on world domination, globetrotting adventure, low gore violence, a big showdown that results in mass destruction of the secret hideout... ...I could go on all day.

Anyway, as for the plot. Okay, so there is this daughter of a rich archeologist (Can you say oxymoron boys and girls? I bet you can.) whose dad is MIA. She whiles away her idle existence by destroying her house in self-improvement exercises in order to keep her sharp for her other hobby, raiding tombs (dead people can get so defensive, ya know). By the way, no one in this movie ever refers to Lara as an archeologist, professor, bounty hunter, relic hunter, master Easter egg finder, or anything else; she is always "the tomb raider."* One night she is lounging in bed (meow!), having odd dreams about pappy, when she wakes up to the sound of a clock ticking. She goes rummaging around the house and, low and behold, she finds a clock. She cannot make hide nor hair of it, so she hands it over to her resident geek. He fiddles with it ineffectually until Lara, in a VERY un-archeological fit, smashes the antique to get at its gutty-works.

Oh, by the way, all of the planets are days away from lining up. A once in every 5,000 years event. Those of you who think this will become significant raise your hands. Hey, you in the back! Wake up and pay attention!

Inside the clock we find some sort of entirely unrelated mechanism that acts not unlike a clock. Wow, good thing the original clock was superfluous, Lara would be feeling kind of silly about now if it had not been. She cannot make hide nor hair of this one either, but figures the smashy trick might not work twice and decides to take it to a real expert. He turns out to be utterly useless, except to inform the oh-so on top of it Illuminati that Lara has said thingamajig. At first the Illuminati decide to try and be polite by attempting to purchase the artifact off of Lara. There are cryptic clues left behind by her dad, so she opts not to cash in for the big bucks.

Illuminati plan B: All out platoon-sized assault on Lara's house - subtle, discreet, shadowy, whatever. Smash, bang, boom, nice slippers (see above). The Illuminati get the artifact for a modest deposit of a dozen plus corpses. Oh yeah, another thing I learned from this movie: leaving behind any amount of evidence will not jeopardize the secrecy of an officially designated secret society. They might as well have spray-painted "Illumi waz here" on the side of the house as they left. Oh well, no matter. JB is the most famous "secret" agent in the world, even in his own movies. If he can do it, why not the villain? Only seems fair.

Right, anyway. It's off to Cambodia where Lara outwits yet another small Illuminati army and a dozen or so rock monsters for verity, where she is rewarded with half of the ultra-special time stopping device. All for the low low price of the decimation of an ancient Cambodian national treasure. Lara decides to have tea with the Buddhists who fortunately practice non-attachment and do not seem to be particularly upset by all the shenanigans. They heal Lara of what few injuries she will accrue in this entire ordeal.

Illuminati plan C: make nice with the Lara babe. Lara decides to play along knowing full well that betrayal is in the air.

Off to the arctic circle for the big climax. See the world's largest mechanical planetarium, death defying stunts, want-to-be-touching reunions with pops, and lots of big explody stuff. The world is once again safe for democracy. The end. Don't you wish I had stuck to the gag review I started with?

*After watching the film a second time, this statement is not entirely accurate. Lara Croft is referred to as an archeologist once by Powell, but I liked this sentence so I left it in.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • The Illuminati are more incompetent than the governments they control.
  • If the house is large enough, it doesn't matter how many rooms you thrash, there will always be livable space.
  • Indoor bungie jumping is safe, effective, and fun!
  • Indy, what is that unsightly stuff on your face? You're bleeding? Wow! I don't do that!
  • When in doubt, follow the ghosts.
  • T-shirts are sufficient insulation from the arctic cold.
  • You can take the nerd out the trailer park, but you cannot take the trailer park out of the nerd.
  • Buddhists like rich, gun toting defilers of ancient temples.
  • They just don't make clocks like they used to.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • There will be no mention of RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE since the entire movie is one.
  • 4 mins - Everyone should have a ten foot tall, six hundred pound, killer robot. They are ideal for home defense!
  • 6 mins - If I were her butler and had to clean up that kind of mess all the time I would quit!
  • 7 mins - To all pubescent fan boys, RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREA... Psych! Tee-hee!
  • 21 mins - Gee, mister expert, you're a big help!
  • 29 mins - That killer robot you thrashed earlier would be really useful right about now.
  • 30 mins - Nice slippers Rimm... ...I mean Hillary, you smeghead!
  • 40 mins - Good thing your car happened to land in a clearing in that impossibly dense jungle.
  • 80 mins - Wow! Mr. Bad Guy does NOT play well with others!
  • 91 mins - Mush! Mush!! It's okay Angie, we couldn't keep a straight face either.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note tombraider1.wav Lara: "Was it programmed to stop before it took my head off?"
Bryce: "Ah well, that would be a 'no.'"
Green Music Note tombraider2.wav Illuminati Member: "We have only a single opportunity to retrieve the two halves of the triangle. And, if we fail, we must wait another five thousand years."
Green Music Note tombraider3.wav Lord Croft: "To be sure no man would ever again wield this power, they split the triangle into two pieces and hid them at opposite ends of the earth."
Green Music Note tombraider4.wav Manfred: "Mrs. Croft, I think you are trying to cheat me out of my little ray of sunshine."
Lara: "Why would I try and cheat you out of anything. Now, I need you to get the piece so I can steal it from you later."
Green Music Note tombraider5.wav Illuminati Member: "At last, we of the Illuminati will control time and fulfill the sacred promise to our ancestors."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliptombraider1.mpg - 1.7m
After setting off the crypt's alarm system, Lara and the bad guys are beset by a number of stone statues. Lucky for them, it appears that rock can suffer from dry rot.

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