Meet Lara Croft.
She’s a fun-loving gal who works as a bicycle courier in London. For kicks, Lara does mixed martial arts at a local gym, even though she kinda sucks at it.
She does have some individual baggage. She skipped college. And her dad, whom she learned archery from as a kid, went missing seven years ago.
Is Lara a sexy cyclist you should follow on Instagram? Trust it or not, this unremarkable girl is about to become an indefatigable warrior genius worth billions of dollars. believability be damned!
Somehow her hilarious dearth of experience and instantaneous knack for heroics is the least ridiculous thing about “Tomb Raider,” a film so rife with plot holes that it would make a decent pasta strainer.
The reason for Lara’s (Alicia Vikander) bike messenger day job is that she refuses to officially acknowledge her wealthy businessman dad’s presumed death, and therefore can’t inherit his business and mega money. On the day she finally decides to read his will, she discovers a clue that suggests her adventurous pop might not be dead after all. His possible whereabouts: a hidden island off the coast of Japan, where an evil Japanese witch queen called Himiko is said to be buried. So off Lara goes to do some tomb raidin’, alongside her guide, played by a forgettable Daniel Wu.
Up to this point, this origin story movie follows the rubric of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” only without such pesky interruptions as charm and fun. But the plot and action sequences quickly become as difficult to follow as a barstool conversation about bitcoin.
During fights, Vikander is put through the sort of physical reckoning that would leave André the Giant whimpering. She’s smashed against boulders, thrown into huge tree trunks, kicked repeatedly in the gut and stabbed in the stomach. Her complexion, of course, stays flawless. But the extent of the pain and Vikander’s screams of anguish take the movie into upsetting torture porn territory.
The villains delivering the brutal beatdowns are a group called Trinity, a secret organization that wants to control the world. What does this lofty goal have to do with a dead Japanese maybe-sorceress? Beats me. Just what sort of control are they aiming at? Killing everyone on the planet? Director Roar Uthaug and the screenwriters don’t respect the audience enough to explain much of anything.
Still recovering from a nasty case of “Tulip Fever,” Vikander inherits the title role from Angelina Jolie, who was much better in the part, albeit in two equally awful movies. Vague just like her reboot, Vikander gives the character neither a steely resolve (like Jolie) nor real vulnerability, so she comes off as aloof. It would be a fantastic performance if the film were called “Art Gallery Curator.”