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

What happened to Daniel Craig? After the first Tomb Raider film, which ended with Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) and Daniel Craig’s character winning, I was hoping they’d get to raid some tombs together if there was a sequel. Now there is a sequel, and his character isn’t included, nor is he even mentioned. Most movies at least make mention of previous events or characters, but this one sidesteps that completely.

In The Cradle of Life, we open up with Lara deciding to dive into the ocean to uncover one of Alexander the Great’s temples. Said temple as recently been unearthed because an earthquake decided to make it that way. Lara heads in with a couple of Greek companions, and finds a glowing orb. Some Chinese guys follow them and shoot the Greek men, but only attempt to knock Lara out. She doesn’t care about tranquilizer darts, so after falling into the water, she gets back up and kills a couple of them. The group still manages to steal the orb, and the scene ends with Lara cutting her arm open, swimming up from the temple, and riding a shark like a horse in order to get back to air.

This is officially as close as The Cradle of Life comes to having its main character raid tombs. Once again, Lara Croft embarks on a mission to save the world. she first has to get that orb back, because she decides that it must be a map. She springs one of her former lovers, Terry (Gerard Butler), from prison in order for him to lead her through the backlands of China. We learn about our main villain, Jonathan Reiss (Ciarán Hinds), who isn’t exactly on good terms with the rest of the population.

His plan is pretty simple: Create a virus that will wipe out the vast majority of the people on Earth, while also having a vaccine that can be used to save people that he likes. High ranking executives and such will be allowed to live. Apparently, the rest of us don’t deserve to live, as we’re all awful people. That’s a terrible outlook, which makes him the perfect victim, because nobody will want to see him make it through to the end.

How he plans on creating such a virus is slightly more complicated. The orb that he commissioned a theft of leads to the Cradle of Life from the title. That doesn’t mean much by itself, but it’s what’s inside the Cradle that’s important. Pandora’s Box exists in this movie, and it contains something that will allow him to create the deadly virus. Or maybe it has the plague in it already, and he will just have to mass-replicate it. Whatever. The point is, we’re looking for Pandora’s Box in order to avoid a worldwide pandemic, and it’s up to Lara and Terry to make sure that such an outbreak doesn’t happen.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is an excessively long title missing a comma, and is also a really bad movie.

If you saw the first Tomb Raider movie, which definitely isn’t a requirement for this one considering it didn’t feature an origin story and nothing that happened in it carries over, you’ll probably be aware that it suffered from a bunch of logic problems. The sequel, wanting to maintain something from the original, still contains these problems, although now the future of Earth definitely depends on them, considering we actually know the villain’s goal.

This time around, the focus for most of the film is the orb. Unless I’m mistaken, the only way for the bad guys to find and enter the Cradle is to have the orb. At one point, Lara gets the orb from the bad guys. Could she not simply smash it? Or hide it? After she gets it, why does she insist on going after Pandora’s Box. Her motivations don’t make sense, unless she really doesn’t care about saving the world. I wish she spent the entire film trying to get the orb, but failing, because it would have eliminated this problem.

I’m willing to bet that this Tomb Raider film has more action than the last one. Is that action any good? I didn’t think so. It’s all so mundane in a we’ve-seen-it-before kind of way, which makes it almost a chore to sit through. Sure, there’s more of it, but when none of it is any good, and it’s not holding your attention anyway, shouldn’t we just cut some out to decrease the running time?

As a matter of fact, this Tomb Raider makes the last one seem great by comparison. At least its action scenes didn’t feel boring, even if they never became as good as the opening scene was. They were kind of inventive, especially with moments like when Lara Croft dropkicks a swinging log in order to kill a giant rock monster. That’s at least interesting. There was also a giant robot that she had to fight, in the film’s highlight. This time, there’s nothing that comes close to that, just a bunch of shootouts. Yawn.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is an excessively long title missing a comma, and is also a really bad movie. The action scenes are dull, the plot doesn’t make much sense, and it suffers from logical issues which I simply hate. It almost completely ignores its predecessor too, which is probably not a bad thing considering this movie makes the first one look great by comparison. If I wanted more Lara Croft after the first film, this one killed all of that possible desire. This is an example of a terrible sequel to a movie that wasn’t all that good in the first place. You have no reason to watch this, even if you’re the biggest fan in the world of Angelina Jolie.

Conclusion: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is a worse sequel to a bad original.

Recommendation: Nobody needs to watch Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.

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