Tomb Raider 2: The Cradle of Life
Dir: Jan de Bont
Star: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Ciarán Hinds, Chris Barrie
Cert / Year: 15 - PG13 / 2003
Format: DVD R2

Lara Croft is back. This time our intrepid archeologist (sorry Raider) is hot on the heals of the lost Lunar temple buried underwater off Greece. She knows that within the temple lies an orb that is a clue to the whereabouts of Pandora's box (a box that legend has it when Pandora opening it pain was released into the world). The fly in the ointment is biological weapons manufacturer Jonathan Reiss who wants the box as he believes it contains a biologic weapon of real mass destruction. This a mission that is too much for even Lara and she will need the help of ex boyfriend Terry Sheridan, but can she trust him with so much at stake.

The original Tomb Raider movie was packed full of great action yet it suffered from a bad script and lacked a decent adversary. It was fun in a stupid sort of way and with a bit of work a sequel could have been a real winner. So is this sequel the film that the original should have been? Well the simple answer is no, this film is unspeakably poor.

The problem with the first film was the script, but compared to this sequel the original was Shakespeare. It's not just the dialogue this time, although that is absolutely pitiful, the whole story just doesn't make sense. Events happen in a seeming random order, scenes are added just to include a special effects sequence, and there are more plot holes than plot. I mean why crash a rocket plane into a mountain? Why does punching a shark on the nose turn him into a docile mode of transport? Why ride motorbikes over the great wall of China only to abandon them two minutes later? How do you use a sky dish to transmit signal from China to England? Why is an Archeologist destroying temples (which are equipped with 2000 year working oil lamps)? These are only a few examples, the whole film is a incomprehensible and unfeasible mess. Steven E. de Souza (a man who bought us such stinkers as Judge Dredd, Street Fighter and the pitiful Knock Off), James V. Hart, and Dean Georgaris (who is writing Mission Impossible 3 heaven help us) are the men responsible for this trash. Remember these names and think hard before watching anything they write in the future.

You would have to ask why the director didn't reign in some control over this runaway script. Maybe it's because the director in question is Jan de Bont. It is a long time since he bought us Speed and since then his directorial credits have consisted only of unimpressive effects movies. Yet again he lets the effects run riot and makes no attempt to tell a story. He concentrates on shots (check out the hilarious Lara posing for the camera during a fire fight) rather than scenes. It all harks back to his cinematographer background when he worked with Paul Verhoeven, maybe he should go back to him and ask for some lessons.

I defy any actor to make anything out of this mess, and it appears that the whole cast couldn't be bothered even trying. They all seem to be in it for the paycheck. Even the previously impressive Angelina Jolie (minus her ridiculous padded bra from the first film) puts in a performance that's down to the same level as the script, and the less said about Gerard Butler as her lame love interest the better. Even Ciarán Hinds as the bad guy, although a big improvement on the original, looks bored with the whole thing.

Tomb Raider 2 The Cradle of Life is a big, flashy, expensive mess. It is an insult to the intelligence of the cinema goer that they are expected to enjoy something so badly put together. The fights and effects are good enough but with a cliché ridden, continuity free, implausible plot which is packed with product placement any meaning they have is lost. All of the faults of the original movie are back again, but instead of fixing them they have been made far worse. If you are desperate for more Tomb Raider action, or if you fancy plenty unintentional hilarity then you may get some enjoyment from this film. Everyone else should avoid it like the biological weapon contained in Pandora's box.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Picture 16:9 Anamorphic Excellent
Audio Dolby Digital (5.1) It is very good
Features Commentary from Jan De Bont
Deleted Scenes with optional Commentary
Gerard Butler's screen test
5 featurette's (5 - 10 mins each)
2 music videos
Web site DVD ROM
Verdict Not the best in terms of extras, but then again it's not the best film.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Link Back Top Home