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Doomed Raider

"Finally, a video-game-based movie that is better than Street Fighter or Super Mario Bros."--David Manning. That's the kind of back-handed compliment that Tomb Raider deserves. Based on the widely popular video game of the same name, Tomb Raider dumbs down the Indiana Jones-action genre to a new low. Its numerous special effects belong in special-ed. and the plot could not be staler.

A secret, sequel-ready, society called the Illuminari are trying to recover the two halves of a pyramid that will enable them to travel through time on the day that all nine planets are in line (which comes only every 5,000 years). Or, as double-crossing villain-in-chief Manfred Powell (great name, played by Iain Glen) says: "The key gives you the power of God."

Who knew that God had nothing better to do than monkey with the space-time continuum. Tomb Raider's god is a silly one. The audience's god is Angelina Jolie, who as the heroic Lara Croft, is the only special effect worth watching. After winning the Oscar for her role in Girl, Interrupted, Jolie grew in stature--as have her breasts. Not to be chauvinistic, but in the film's first of two shower scenes, Jolie's breasts appear to be digitally enhanced. I know the actress worked out a lot to prepare for the film, and did a lot of her own stunts, but pray tell which muscles did she flex in order to develop that amount of tone?

Perhaps I am being too hard on a film based on a video game, but with Tomb Raider's producers marketing the film as a female Indiana Jones, some heavy handed criticism is forth-coming. Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first Indiana Jones film, was a Best Picture nominee. Don't bet on Tomb Raider's chances.

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