Under the Radar

Alicia Vikander Revives Lara Croft in 'Tomb Raider'

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in "Tomb Raider." (MGM)

'Tomb Raider' is a 22-year-old video game series inspired by the Indiana Jones movies that switched out the guy in a hat for a hot, sporty girl. Alicia Vikander stars as Lara Croft in "Tomb Raider" (out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD), the latest attempt to translate the movie-inspired game back into a film series.

Angelina Jolie starred in a pair of Lara Croft movies back in the early 2000s. They made money but no one was too bummed out when they stopped making them after the second one.

In the wake of "Wonder Woman," Hollywood and game publisher Square Enix decided to take another shot at making a female-led action movie and hired director Roar Uthaug in the wake of his awesome Norwegian disaster movie "The Wave."

Alicia Vikander makes for a convincingly athletic Lara Croft, displaying the same physical grace that made her breakout performance in "Ex Machina" so compelling. That grace has to compete with the massive amount of CGI necessary to recreate the kind of challenges at the heart of the video game. 

There's no way to make a Tomb Raider movie that's anchored in reality, which makes things difficult in an era when many of the best action movies ("John Wick," "Atomic Blonde") are so viscerally real.

All the performances are strong. Vikander is always good, Dominic West ("The Wire") effectively conveys all the archaeological mystic plot nonsense as Lara's long-lost father and Walton Goggins ("Justified," "The Hateful 8") injects a glimmer of humanity into a caricature villain part.

It's just all flat. Maybe it's the by-the-numbers screenplay, maybe it's the overwhelming amount of CGI. The ending is a perfect setup for a sequel, but a second movie would likely require a bigger box office take than this movie generated.

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