Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life – Review (Spoiler Free)

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of LifeTomb Raider is one of my favorite video games, and correspondingly Lara Croft  is one of my favourite characters. I’m all too aware that both this film and the earlier Lara Croft: Tomb Raider are not the answer to my prayers to see these games well represented on the big screen, however they still manage to charm me in their own, flawed way.  This film in particular I can often have a lot of fun with. Despite the action often not being truly involving, and the plot being  vapid at best, there are still elements like Jolie’s excellent portrayal of Lara to keep things entertaining enough. And of course there’s the shark punch.

Many people who know me will have heard me mention the shark punch in this film at some point. It’s an event which takes place around fifteen minutes in and is so ridiculous, so utterly silly that it’ll either put a big grin on your face and you’ll sit down and enjoy the rest of the film whilst not taking it too seriously, or you’ll just groan and flick across onto something else. Needless to say, I’m part of the first group. However, as much fun as seeing a growling, ridiculously fake looking CGI shark getting punched in the face is, it is one of the few highlights of the film. There’s some good action scenes here, and although there is no  discernible reason for them not to be exciting, they too often feel somehow a little empty and distanced. The film is clearly wanting to give us a good time, and it does sometimes succeed, but the fight scenes all too often don’t engage enough, especially so when they rely on the overused slomo.

As I’ve already mentioned, Angelina Jolie does a great job as Lara Croft; she delivers on believably handling a lot of the action herself, has the look down to a tee, and brings enough humor and humanity so as to avoid her character being nothing more than a cookie cutter action hero. Gerard Butler gives a passable performance as renegade British agent Terry Sheridan, there’s really very little interesting about his character, and yet he manages to walk the line laid out for him well enough. Ciarán Hinds is cast as the ultra-villain who literally doesn’t care who he kills as long as he is evil. I have no problem with that, it keeps things simple and it can be fun, here though Hinds doesn’t give us all that much. To be fair to him, he is presented with very little from the script to work with, but at the same time its a shame that he couldn’t have brought a little more to the table.

So considering the criticisms that I’ve just laid out, you could be forgiven in thinking that I don’t like this film. Sure it’s at times underwhelming and a little disappointing,  but when approached with the right attitude I still manage to find this movie pretty entertaining. There are many references to the game series for the fans, Jolie has several fun lines and shoots, jumps, and kicks her way through this film very well. The unexpected humanity towards the end is also praiseworthy; it is slight, but it’s there and it doesn’t feel phoned in, but actually comes across as pretty genuine. It perhaps speaks to the better film that we could have had, but what we have here is fun enough and not as bad as it is often made out to be.

Thanks for reading!


  1. The Burning Blogger Of Bedlam · · Reply

    Yeah, I agree with that whole review. Both Lara Croft films are more watchable and less irritating than people make out. Just simple, unchallenging, light entertainment, but ultimately enjoyable.

    1. Good to hear you’re in the same boat. It will be interesting to see the new film, if it ever happens that is. I’m going to struggle to see anyone other than Jolie in the role though!
      Are you a fan of the games?

  2. I think if you go into these expecting very little then you can enjoy them. I didn’t mind either of them to be honest.

    1. True, and it’s good to hear that you don’t mind them – there’s too much hate for these films.

  3. Nice review 🙂 I must admit- i’ve not seen any of the Tomb Raider films, I’ve given them a wide berth, but perhaps its time to give them a go.

    1. Thanks!
      Well if you do try them then really don’t go in expecting a whole lot. They’re better than they are made out to be, but still… that’s not saying all that much!
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  4. theipc · · Reply

    “I’m all too aware that both this film and the earlier Lara Croft: Tomb Raider are not the answer to my prayers to see these games well represented on the big screen, however they still manage to charm me in their own, flawed way.”

    I love it!!

    1. Haha, thanks man!

  5. Natalie P · · Reply

    Interesting review 🙂

    1. Thanks Natalie!

  6. Isn’t it already spoiled? By being crap 😀

    1. Haha 🙂 It’s not all that bad, I mean its never going to make a list of great action movies but…

      1. Haha clearly 😀

        It’s entertaining enough.

        1. Exactly. Plus as I said in the review, I’m a big fan of the shark punch! 😀

  7. I quite enjoyed this one. Butler might be passable for some, but for me, Terry Sheridan is an awesome eye candy right from the second he did upside-down pushup in prison 😉

    1. Haha fair enough 🙂
      It’s the same with me and Lara Croft. Angelina Jolie is one of this film’s bigger draws if I’m completely honest!

      1. Oh I like Jolie too, despite how preposterous they made her character to be. Glad that the new video game is far more realistic as far as Croft’s figure is concerned.

        1. Yeah I agree – have you played any of the new one?

  8. Have you played the new game? It’s pretty awesome!

    1. I really want to!
      It’s good to hear that you rate it highly – even if it makes me a little jealous 😀

  9. Both Tomb Raider movies are arguably the best video game adaptations out there. While not amazing movies, they stay true to the source material – including mood, setting, and character, while maintaining a solid enough plot to carry the film.

    1. I agree with you there, although I haven’t seen too many video game adaptations if I’m honest. It’s true that these do stay close to their source.
      What movies would you think contend with these ones for the title of best video game adaptation?

      1. I haven’t seen many because most look terrible. Higher on the list is Prince of Persia – not really a good movie, but at least it has something to do with the video game. At the bottom would be Super Mario Bros.
        I do think Wolverine combined with Thor makes a great adaptation of Metal Gear Solid.

        1. I really would like to see PoP – I gathered that it wasn’t great, but I was such a fan of the game ‘Sands of Time’ that I have always thought it would be worth checking out!
          I’ve heard that about Super Mario Bros before 😀

  10. I don’t think you’ve ever mentioned the shark punch. I really quite like the first Tomb Raider movie but this one just bored me. I really dislike it when films are poorly lit, but most especially when they’re special effects action films. It’s like, why even stage these big sequences when the audience can’t see what’s happening? It’s the Alien vs. Predator problem.

    1. Well, Alien vs. Predator has lots of problems, but I think my main issue with it is the lighting.

      1. It certainly does have a lot of problems! I’m not sure the lighting is my biggest issue with it, but it’s definitely one of them.

    2. Well you’re lucky to have avoided it I think – the guys here musty be pretty sick of me talking about that scene.
      The first is possibly better, it’s been a long time since I saw it – plus it has the ticking clock! I don’t remember this one being all that badly lit actually. I agree with you generally though.

  11. […] Raider game series, and were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the previous film adaptations¹. While Jolie may not have been the best choice to cast as Croft – playing a little too much the […]

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