Remake Rumble: Tomb Raider Edition

The Matchup: 2001’s LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER starring Angelina Jolie as the eponymous leading lady of one of the most successful video game franchises in history squares off against the Alicia Vikander helmed 2018 reboot, TOMB RAIDER.

THE HEROINES: Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) vs Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander)

Angelina Jolie was a larger than life super-hero who filled the screen in every scene. Her Lara Croft was effortlessly believable as an action hero. I also liked that Jolie’s Croft did everything with a twinkle in her eye and a devilish grin on her face. To her life was one big adventure and she was enjoying the hell out of every second of it.
Now I get that in TOMB RAIDER we were getting basically “Lara Croft: Year One” and Alicia Vikander was good in the role that was presented to her. My issue was that nothing about this Croft made me confident at all that she could be the globe-trotting tomb raiding adventurer that the Jolie Croft was. Vikander’s Croft didn’t strike me as all that great a fighter, strategizer, or anything else to be honest. So when she becomes this total ass-kicker by the end of the movie I was not convinced at all.
Advantage: LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (2001)

THE LEADING MEN: Alex West (Daniel Craig) vs Lu Ren (Daniel Wu)

Daniel Craig was fine as the Lara Croft’s roguish rival tomb raider. He had decent chemistry with Jolie and very effectively sold the “mercenary with a heart of gold” aspects of Alex West. He was basically the Catwoman to Jolie’s Batman in this film. My only problem with him, and it was a huge one, is the dodgy American accent he was forced to use for some reason. There was no good reason to have him not be a Brit and use his natural accent. Compared to Jolie’s serviceable go at a British accent, Craig sounded ridiculous.
As heroic and hard drinking ship captain Lu Ren, Daniel Wu delivered in his action scenes (for what they were) and showed the spark of romantic chemistry with Vikander but the character was so under-developed that a spark was about all we got from Lu Ren in the entire movie. Wu is so killer as the butt-kicking star of the AMC martial arts series INTO THE BADLANDS but in TOMB RAIDER he didn’t get to show off his martial arts prowess at all. Maybe a lot of his scenes were left on the cutting room floor or something but I would have liked to have seen him given more to do.
Advantage: LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (2001)

THE DADS: Lord Richard Croft (Jon Voight) vs Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West)

Maybe I have read too many gossipy accounts of the tense relationship between Angelina Jolie and her dad Jon Voight but, man, when the two of them were in scenes together Jolie looked like she was not being paid nearly enough to be in the same space as dear old dad. On the flip side Alicia Vikander and Dominic West had a very believable daughter/father bond and I bought that Lord Richard would do anything to protect his “Sprout” and Lara would do anything to find her missing father.
I didn’t buy that Voight’s Lord Richard wouldn’t sell his kid out to the first tabloid that came calling.
Advantage: TOMB RAIDER (2018)

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