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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Die Wiege des Lebens

UK / Germany / USA / Japan 2003
produced by
Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Jeremy Heath Smith (executive) for Paramount, Mutual Films, Eidos Interactive, BBC, Tele-München, Toho-Towa
directed by Jan De Bont
starring Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Ciarán Hinds, Noah Taylor, Chris Barrie, Simon Yam, Djimon Hounsou, Til Schweiger, Terence Yin, Daniel Caltagirone, Fabiano Martell, Jonathan Coyne, Robert Cavanah, Ronan Vibert, Lenny Juma, Raymond Ofula, Hezron Ajuala, Ace Yonamine
story by James V. Hart, Steven E. de Souza, screenplay by Dean Georgaris, based on a videogame character by Core Design, music by Alan Silvestri

Lara Croft

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) has found but lost a mysterious map - from here on called the Orb - to the Cradle of Life. This in itself doesn't sound too bad, but at this mysterious Cradle of Life, anyone who cares enough for such things could find Pandora's Box, in which there's a plague powerful enough to kill millions of people. Now that starts to sound disturbing, but there's more: the Orb was stolen by Chen Lo (Simon Yam) of the Shay Ling, who wants to sell it to big bad weapons' dealer Reiss (Ciarán Hinds), who naturally is not too picky whom to tresell it to, as long as the money is right.

So MI6 decides to hire Lara to retrieve the Orb, which  she naturally can't do alone, so she hires her ex Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), a soldier turned rogue, to help her ... even if she doesn't know how far she can trust him.

First stop, somewhere in mainland China, Lara & Terry Sheridan find the Shay Ling, but are naturally taken prisoner by them, but Chen Lo is not yet all sure if he wants to sell the Orb to Reiss, so he suggests that Lara makes him an offer ... soon, this leads to Lara & Chen Lo having a fight amidst terracotta warriors (hey, this is China, where else would they fight, & she kills Chen Lo ... but fails to retrieve the Orb.

Next stop is naturally Shanghai (no Oriental tour would be complete without it), where Lara & Terry Sheridan try to keep Reiss from getting the Orb, which he is supposed to be handed over by some Shay Ling guy. However, Reiss does get the Orb, & all Lara succeeds to do is to put a tracer on the Orb's crate.

The tracer leads her & Terry Sheridan to - you guessed it - Hong Kong, where Reiss has his secret lab ... inside a mall (what ?). After a dull shootout that doesn't make any use of the mall-locations (just think about the endless possibilities), Lara manages to retrieve the Orb, but loses a headset that leads Reiss right to the place where Lara's associates - computer expert Bryce (Noah Tyler) & the other guy (Chris Barrie) who was a butler in the first film but only sits around in this one - have their base of operations & help her decipher the meaning of the Orb. Of course, Reiss could have also guessed they are staying at Croft manor ...

Eventually, Lara, Bryce & the other guy manage to find out the meaning of the Orb & locate the Cradle of Life in Africa ... but what Bryce & the other guy know, Reiss knows as well, & to have something to blackmail Lara with, he just takes Bryce & the other guy prisoner.

Lara has meanwhile left Terry Sheridan behind in Hong Kong & has hooked up with the customary African native tribe who guard the secret of the Cradle of Life, when Reiss arrives to gun many of the natives down to force Lara to show him the way to the Cradle ... a way that leads to a wood inhabitated by wood monsters who for some reason kill off most of the baddies but none of the good guys, & in the end, besides a puddle of black acid amidst of which Pandora's Box swims, Lara & Reiss have their final showdown that ends with Reiss falling into the puddle, & the black acid is not good for his skin, or anything else for this matter ...

Then Terry Sheridan arrives , but since he has in the past betrayed his country once & is not quite cured from asshole-ism, he wants to keep the Orb, & eventually sell it. With tears in her eyes, Lara shoots him ... but at least she becomes hnorary member of the natives' tribe, & Pandora's Box remains in the Cradle of Life, let's hope for all lifetime.

By the way, Til Schweiger - a big star in Germany with a rather failed Hollywood career - plays the undemanding role of Reiss' right hand man.


For some reason, this sequel to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is considered an improvement over its predecessor ... & it totally eludes me why.

Let me get this straight, I didn't particularly like the first one, which was a movie of many flaws but was also occasionally entertaining.

This second part on the other hand is just shit: It takes an awful lot of screentime to kick into gear, only to totally lose pace after every action scene again. It's bnot at all helped by the fact that many action scenes are just thrown into the plot to show off a little, are only routine stuff beneath all the gloss with no imagination invested, & with no narrative motivation at all (like the scene where Lara drives a motorbike over the Chinese Wall ... neither the Wall nor the bike do appear later in the film or have any kind of meaning to later proceedings). Hard to believe actually that the director of this ill-timed effort was actually responsible for the incredibly well paced Speed (though most of De Bont's films after Speed failed to impress).

& instead of the charmingly stupid fantasy plot of the first part, this one relies more on a down to earth espionage story that could as easily be another James Bond-sequel. & even more so than the first movie, it does take itself WAY TOO SERIOUSLY - after all this is about a woman in skimpy attire with guns blazing pretending to be an archeologist  -, & Chris Barrie, whose comic talent shines through even here where he has nothing to do, is just relegated to sitting around (makes one wonder why he was employed in the first place). Additionally, Ciarán Hinds, given a role to rally camp up, is doing anincredibly lame job as main baddie.

... let's just hope there'll never be a third part.

My advice: Watch Misty Mundae, Mummy Raider instead (read review to find out why).


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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Ryan Hunter and
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out now on DVD