Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a 2001 action film directed by Simon West (Con Air, The General’s Daughter, When a Stranger Calls, The Mechanic, Stolen, and The Expendables 2). It’s based on the Tomb Raider video game series. It was written by Sara B. Cooper (The X-Files, Chicago Hope, House, and Homicide: Life on the Street), Mike Werb (Face/Off, The Mask, Darkman III: Die Darkman Die, and Food of the Gods II ), and Michael Colleary (Death Wish: The Face of Death, Darkman III: Die Darkman Die, Face/Off, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents). It was produced by Lawrence Gordon (The Warriors, The Driver, Streets of Fire, Brewster’s Millions, Predator 1/2, Lock Up, Die Hard 1/2, Field of Dreams, HellBoy, Watchmen, and Event Horizon). A sequel was made in 2003 “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” and a reboot in 2018. The budget was $115 million and it grossed $274.7 million worldwide at the box office!
Adventurer Lara Croft (played by: Angelina Jolie from Tomb Raider franchise, Cyborg 2, Hackers, Hell’s Kitchen, and The Bone Collector) defeats a robot in an Egyptian tomb, revealed to be a training exercise arena in her family manor. She lives with her technical assistant Bryce (played by: Noah Taylor from Tomb Raider franchise, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, Preacher, Game of Thrones, and Skyscraper) and butler Hilary (played by: Chris Barrie from Tomb Raider franchise, Red Dwarf, A Prince Among Men, and The Legends of Treasure Island). In Venice, as the first phase of a planetary alignment begins, the Illuminati search for a key to rejoin halves of a mysterious artifact, “the Triangle,” which must be completed by the final phase, a solar eclipse. Manfred Powell (played by: Iain Glen from Game of Thrones, Resident Evil franchise, Titans, and Kick-Ass 2) assures the cabal that the artifact is almost ready, but has no real idea of its location.
Lara’s father Lord Richard Croft (played by: Jon Voight from Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance, Runaway Train, Heat, and Anaconda) who has been missing for a long time appears to her in a dream. Lara runs into Wilson (played by: Leslie Phillips from Harry Potter franchise, Color Me Kubrick, The Jackal, and Empire of the Sun) and Alex West (played by: Daniel Craig from James Bond/007 franchise, Knives Out, Layer Cake, Munich, and Road to Perdition). A prearranged letter from Lara’s father arrives, explaining that the clock is the key to retrieving the halves of the Triangle of Light, an ancient object with the power to control time. Her father tasks her to find and destroy both pieces before the Illuminati can exploit the Triangle’s power. She is in competition with Manfred Powell to find it. This becomes a dangerous adventure for the tomb raider, who can she really trust while she’s there????
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life (aKa Tomb Raider 2) is a 2003 action film directed by Jan de Bont (Speed 1/2, Twister, and The Haunting). It’s based on the Tomb Raider video game series. It’s a direct sequel to the 2001 film. It was written by Dean Georgaris (The Meg, Paycheck, The Manchurian Candidate, and The Brave). It was produced by Lawrence Gordon (The Warriors, The Driver, Streets of Fire, Brewster’s Millions, Predator 1/2, Lock Up, Die Hard 1/2, Field of Dreams, HellBoy, Watchmen, and Event Horizon). A reboot was made in 2018. The budget was $95 million and it grossed $160.1 million at the box office worldwide!!!!
On Santorini island, a strong earthquake uncovers the Luna Temple. The temple was built by Alexander the Great to house his most prized treasures. Among these treasures is a glowing orb with a pattern resembling a code etched into it. Treasure-hunting archaeologist Lara Croft (played by: Angelina Jolie from Tomb Raider franchise, Gone in 60 Seconds, Original Sin, Taking Lives, Wanted, and Girl, Interrupted) and her group find this orb but are ambushed by the Lo brothers, Chen (played by: Simon Yam from Iceman 1/2, Chasing the Dragon II: Wild Wild Bunch, Kill Zone 2, and Wake of Death) and Xien (played by: Terence Yin from Black Mask 2: City of Masks, New Police Story, Vengeance, and The Man with the Iron Fists). Lara is the only one to escape with a strange medallion after the massacre. MI6 approaches Lara with information about Pandora’s box. The box, hidden in the mysterious Cradle of Life, can only be found with a magical sphere that serves as a map.
The sphere is the same orb that was stolen by Chen Lo who plans to sell it to Jonathan Reiss (played by: Ciarán Hinds from Justice League, Game of Thrones, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and The Sum of All Fears). Lara agrees to help MI6, with the condition that they release her old flame Terry Sheridan (played by: Gerard Butler from Greenland, Fallen trilogy, 300, Law Abiding Citizen, and Gamer). Terry and Lara infiltrate Chen Lo’s lair where he is smuggling the Terracotta Soldiers. Lara sends return information to her friend Bryce (played by: Noah Taylor from Tomb Raider franchise, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, Preacher, Game of Thrones, and Skyscraper) back at Croft Manor. Reiss and his men infiltrate the mansion, they capture him and Hillary (played by: Chris Barrie from Tomb Raider franchise, Red Dwarf, A Prince Among Men, and The Legends of Treasure Island). Lara travels to Africa where she meets up with her longtime friend Kosa (played by: Djimon Hounsou from Shazam!, Captain Marvel, Aquaman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Beauty Shop, and Constantine) for help. As they get closer to their goal, the mission gets more deadly for them. The blood thirsty Jonathan Reiss will do anything to get what he wants. Can they survive this madness????
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is actually one of the best video game adaptations ever made! It was action packed, loaded with thrills, and delivered on everything that you would expect from Tomb Raider. The script was fun and there’s never a dull moment here. Angelina Jolie is top notch eye candy as Lara Croft. She was bad ass and it’s one of her better performances. I thought she was perfect for this character and it really shows here. Iain Glen was a solid villain and he is always good in everything especially Game of Thrones. Tomb Raider producers were smart when it came to casting, they paired Jolie up with upcoming action star Daniel Craig who later became James Bond in this. They have good chemistry together and it definitely made things interesting for this original feature. This one has some nice suspense, excellent production design, and action fans will be happy here. It had a good supporting cast that included Noah Taylor, Chris Barrie, Leslie Phillips, and Jolie’s legendary father Jon Voight. Lara Croft:
Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life was a solid follow up but it wasn’t good as the first one. The script tried too hard at times but it was still loaded with adventure, action, and similar stuff from the other one. Angelina Jolie is still the best thing about Tomb Raider series in this sequel also. She had this role down perfect after already playing it a few years before this. She actually had better chemistry with Gerard Butler compared to Daniel Craig from the original. Those two were great together. Like the first one, the producers hired up and coming action star Gerard Butler to her main sidekick here. I am a huge fan of Butler and he doesn’t disappoint in Cradle of Life. I thought Cradle of Life had too many villains and none of them were as good as Iain Glen from the first one. Don’t get me wrong, they were all solid here and they are talented actors but I just didn’t think that they fit this universe that good when it came to their performances. Noah Taylor and Chris Barrie return from the original plus it has the awesome Djimon Hounsou for a smaller role. This one had all kinds of action and it delivered in that department. I just think the story wasn’t as good and the villains could have been way better. I thought it was still very fun and entertaining. This is nice upgrade when it comes to this adventure double feature from Paramount, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentations and special features from Paramount Pictures! These 2160p (2.35:1) transfers with HDR: Dolby Vision and HDR10 are a huge upgrade compared to the previous blu ray and DVD home video releases. The first film has audio options such as: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1, and Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1 on the UHD. The sequel has these audio options which includes: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, and Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 on the UHD. The audio is also a major improvement compared to the past. The dialogue is crystal clear, the action really shines on these, and the music has a nice boost to it. It has a huge variety of subtitles that includes: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Mandarin (Simplified), Norwegian, Russian, and Swedish for the original. It has English, English SDH, French, and Spanish for the sequel. Each film has an archive “Audio Commentary” with the director. Both tracks are packed with information and stories about the production. They are definitely worth checking out if you want to know more about the Lara Croft and Tomb Raider adventures. Just a warning, hold on to your previous blu rays or DVDs because these releases only carry over the commentaries when it comes to the extras. Each film has it’s own UHD and it includes digital codes for both feature. This is great release if you just want the movies in 4K and a killer deal on the bundle rather than buying them both separate. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!