Film Review © 2001 by Trip Reynolds


Directed by Simon West; Screenplay by Simon West, John Zinman, and Patrick Massett from a story by Michael Colleary and Mike Werb. Produced by Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, and Colin Wilson. Executive Produced by Chris Kenny, Boby Klein, Stuart Baird, and Jeremy Heath-Smith.

Starring Angelina Jolie (as video-game-brought-to-life super heroine, Lara Croft ), Jon Voight (as reclusive Lord Croft, Lara's father), Noah Taylor (as Bryce), Iain Glen (as the perfunctory villain, Manfred Powell), Daniel Craig (as Alex West), and Chris Barrie (as Hillary), Julian Rhind-Tutt (as Mr. Pimms), Richard Johnson (as a "Distinguished Gentleman"), and Leslie Phillips (as Wilson).

Angelina Jolie should not have been cast as the video-game-brought-to-life super heroine, Lara Croft. Pamela Anderson is a better choice. Jolie approaches the role with a deadpan, stoic delivery and with absolutely no personality or sexuality. Academy Award ® winner Jolie (Best Supporting Actress in 2000 for "Girl, Interrupted") is not particularly suited for this film genré and, unless she get's "in character" she should stay clear. If Lara Croft's producers had looked more closely and objectively at Anderson's 1996 film "Barb Wire," they should have seen an immediate comparison to Lara Croft. All Anderson needs is a quick hair die and she could easily walk in Croft's shoes, tote Croft's twin guns and, yes, adequately fill Croft's bra.

Film begins with a rather rousing scene in one of the training rooms at Croft's mansion and then goes down hill from there. Yes, film includes the usual cadre of special effects but nothing that creates any sense of wonder or interest in the film's plot. Plot? Oh, yeah, as the estrogen pumping female Indiana Jones, Croft searches the planet for an ancient relic which, of course, has power over life, death and even time. Been there, done that.

Surprisingly, film also featured a cameo with Jolie's estranged real-life father, Jon Voight, as Lord Croft, keeper of secret information vital to Lara's search to the relic. This father and daughter paring produced no on-screen sparks. However, film immediately became more interesting with Voight's appearance and less interesting in the wake of his cameo. Ha, there's this ridiculous scene leading directly to the film's conclusion. Croft, who's now in the arctic, is en route to the relic but in the custody of the film's villain. While all other characters have their coats buttoned and are grimacing from the cold, Jolie is strutting around with her coat completely unbuttoned with her blatantly padded buxom clearly lifted and separated. Give us a break.

The bad guy in this film, Powell, played by Iain Glen, is completely perfunctory.

Film is directed laboriously by Simon West.

Film has a uneven running length of 100 minutes.

Recommendation: See it only on cable or, instead, rent "Barb Wire!"