Lara Croft Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life (2003)

2003_the_cradle_of_lifeI really disliked the first film, I mean for a franchise that had the ability to be a winning formula, it’s sad the studios completely botched it with a low grade, sub-par, and lackluster film. Sure, it had a sense of entertainment, but that only a hint of it, and it attempted to become a feminine “Indiana Jones” while instead transforming in to a poor man’s “Indiana Jones”. When a video game with controllable characters has more life in it than a movie with real actors, that’s just pathetic. With “The Cradle of Life” I didn’t really expect anything different in terms of quality and depth of story. Angelina Jolie is cute, but hardly has the charisma needed for Lara Croft, and “The Cradle of Life” proves it. And surprisingly Jolie is not sexy here.

Maybe I’m over her, and maybe more logically the producers decided to downplay her sexual allure, but Jolie is often very plain here, and her costumes are hardly ever flattering to her beauty. I wasn’t expecting a great film, but it’s hard to believe this sequel ended up not only not living to my expectations but surpassing it. Simply put “The Cradle of Life” is awful. It is so laden with special effects and action sequences, and stunts it forgets to include a tolerable story, and even the action here is lackluster. In the first film Lara fought robots, statues, and creatures, while this completely side steps such themes and only lets her fight foreign baddies, thus turning this in to another clone of “xXx”. The movie just stumbles on for two long miserable hours with the suckiest of CGI, the dullest action scenes, a very murky mood, and just character chemistry that is incredibly wooden.

Croft is given a sidekick this time in the form of Gerard Butler who ends up looking more like a clone of Dominic Purcell from “Charlie’s Angels 2” and has the personality of a dust bunny. I usually like Butler, but here he’s pushed on Croft and the two are shoved down our throats as a very opposites attract “Thomas Crown Affair” romantic sub-plot that is never interesting, nor fun. If I could tell you the plot, I would, but not only is the plot hard to comprehend, I wasn’t paying attention most of the time. It has something to do with a globe and it opens Pandora’s box and most of the film is the characters’ race to find a weapon that will be more powerful than they can ever imagine… isn’t that always the case? It’s all just dribble and the actual plot which would be interesting in a good movie, is just a clothesline for non-stop action sequences that are neither exciting or interesting, and many times it’s just insanely ridiculous.

I mean, she punches a shark? A great white weighs over 4.500 pounds, they’re humongous, so logically they’d come at you with the force or a truck at the most, and this woman likely weighs about 170-180 pounds, so how is that even possible? It’s action sequence, plot, action sequence, dialogue, action sequence, action sequence, plot, etc. And most of it is made like a bad eighties music video with a lifeless rock score blaring in the background and much ridiculous stunts that are too stupid to even be deemed fun. “The Cradle of Life” doesn’t even work as a good time waster as it’s longer than it has the right to be. It’s clunky, lifeless, murky, and worst of all incredibly boring as it parades constant action scenes in front of the audience as entertainment but really just wastes the resources of Butler, and Jolie who insists on continuing to waste the talents that earned her awards.