Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

The season’s second sequel to a girl-power moneymaker arrives in the form of Angelina Jolie’s flawless, superhuman body. The good news is that Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is actually better (not that that’s saying much) than Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, the console-to-celluloid adaptation of the best-selling video game series of the same name. The bad news: Sorry, boys, no actual nipple sightings (but plenty of leaves-little-to-the-imagination bodysuits).

Cradle finds Lara doing what she does best: getting wet in the name of archaeology. Searching for a long-lost Mediterranean cache of Alexander the Great’s plunder, the bikini-clad Lara discovers the watery grave of thousands of artifacts, including a glowing orb (why is it that all important pieces of the world-takeover pie left behind by our ancestors emit an orange or yellow glow? I’m sure there’s some Icarus metaphor in there somewhere) coveted by nasty bioweapons creator Dr. Jonathan Reiss (Ciarán Hinds). Chinese black marketeers planning to get rich off Reiss’ megalomania snatch the orb away from Lara just as the underwater tomb collapses, forcing our heroine to hitch a ride on a shark to the surface and then head back to the Far East to find the artifact and Reiss and, of course, save the world.

Along the way Lara picks up Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), a cranky, hairy Scotsman who may or may not be a double agent and who definitely wants to get in Lara’s hip-huggers. The problem here is not that Sheridan is a cranky, hairy Scotsman, but the very idea that Lady Croft would open her legs for anyone. Part of the allure of Lara Croft is that she’s too busy saving the world and too intimidatingly high-minded for sex; she’s content to be a fuck fantasy for all those she comes in contact with. It’s a sort of twisted radical feminism, since nobody as brutally hot as Lara Croft (or Angelina Jolie, for that matter) should withhold herself from the world’s male population. But Lara has never needed anyone — other than dearest, deadest Daddy, but let’s not go there — and there’s no reason she should change just to suit Hollywood storytellers. For the most part she resists Sheridan’s gruff advances, but there are scattered moments where she gives in and parts her lips for a little makeout time. Maybe the next artifact Lara goes searching for should be a vibrator.

Erin Podolsky writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].

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