Her legend begins.
Oscar-winning Swedish actress Alicia Vikander leaps and bounds into the role of impossibly lithe, incredibly posh English adventurer Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, an action movie reboot for the videogame icon previously played by Angelina Jolie.
Back in the early 2000s, Jolie’s Lara lived in a stately home, but we find Vikander’s heroine slumming it in East London, living a cash-strapped existence as a bike courier and working out in her local kickboxing gym. (We see her get her ass kicked.)
She is, however, the heir to the fortune of her aristocratic archaeologist father (Dominic West), who went missing seven years earlier while hunting for the fabled tomb of an ancient Japanese queen. Feisty rebel that she is, Lara can’t accept that dad is dead (flashbacks to her childhood reveal the closeness of their bond), and when a wooden Japanese puzzle box divulges a fresh clue to his whereabouts she sets off in search of the uncharted island he had been seeking.
Hair-raising escapades and escapes.
Her ensuing adventures deliver all the breathless action and cliffhanger thrills you could want from a souped-up B-movie of this kind. The original 1996 videogame took its inspiration, of course, from the tomb-raiding derring-do of Raiders of the Lost Ark – albeit with an absurdly pneumatic heroine to appeal to adolescent male gamers.
Based on the videogame’s 2013 reboot and its 2015 sequel, the new movie tones down the sexual objectification. Vikander’s sinewy Lara is a lot less pneumatic than Jolie’s and she has ditched the short shorts. But she’s more than up to the task of tackling the perils that Norwegian director Roar Uthaug – maker of 2015’s thrilling Scandi disaster movie The Wave – throws her way. Naturally, her hair-raising escapades and escapes involve a good deal of leaping, swinging, dodging and dangling, all of which Vikander pulls off with pluck and nerve. Indiana Jones would doff his hat in admiration.
Certificate 12A. Runtime 118 mins. Director Roar Uthaug