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‘Tomb Raider’movie adds entertainment hoping for new video-game franchise

In what is perhaps the biggest surprise since the announcement of "Shenmue 3," "Tomb Raider" is not a bad movie. 

Quite contrary, actually  it's a fairly decent adventure flick. 

It shouldn't come as too much of a shock that a Hollywood studio could produce a fairly tight, entertaining movie about an adventuring heroine stuck on a desolate island, where she's forced to fight an organization bent on capturing an ancient power that could be used for world domination. It sounds like a better story line than whatever appeared on screen in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." 

But this is a video game movie and Hollywood is known for snatching utter embarrassment from the jaws of any sort of decency. Just look at the last "sure thing" video game movie, "Warcraft," or before that, "The Prince of Persia." 

"Tomb Raider" takes most of its cues from the Crystal Dynamic-developed franchise reboot released in 2013. Instead of the confident, sexy Lara Croft known for packing dual pistols in very tight clothing that's really not appropriate for the dangers of tomb raiding, this rebooted Croft is much more meek and unsure of herself as she tries to survive on an island from which there is no escape. The movie adds an extra layer of Hollywood cheese with the inclusion of a globe-spanning organization bent on using ancient artifacts to control the world. Think of Hydra without Robert Redford's suave backing. 

Alicia Vikander is really solid in the titular role. She doesn't have a whole lot to work with in the material she's given. Her character arc is very basic and by the book  essentially following the generic origin story word for word. 

Perhaps the worst aspect of her character is the unconvincing father issues stemming from Papa Croft's leaving several years prior to go search for the macguffin that's at the heart of the movie  an ancient Japanese queen with supposed power to kill millions with just a touch. It's just hard to feel sympathy for a rich white woman in 2018, even if she tries to ignore her wealth as some sort of rebellious statement that feels more stereotypical "spoiled millennial" than caring daughter. 

Walton Goggins had the potential to steal the show with an amazing performance if he put in just an ounce of the effort he exerted in "The Shield" or "Justified." Even "Predators" Goggins would have been more exciting than this low-emotion, downright bland villain who was so forgettable that it's hard to even remember his name. He continuously mentions his two daughters, as if to somehow connect to Croft or to humanize his character, but it's hard to humanize a plank of wood with a beard and receding hairline who utters his lines like an unsure first-year high school theater student. 

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