Tomb Raider 2. La cuna de la vida

Boxoffice online | Michael Tunison **
The nice thing about video games is that no matter how horribly you fail, you just hit a button and the whole thing starts over again. Applying the same principle to filmmaking, the folks behind the dreadful 2001 game adaptation "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" are back for another try. With veteran action director Jan De Bont ("Speed") at the controls this time around, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider--The Cradle of Life" is at least a bit more comprehensible than its predecessor--say, a second-rate Indiana Jones rip-off instead of a third-rate Indiana Jones rip-off--though it would be overly charitable to say this series has made it to the next level.

Philadelphia Inquirer | Steven Rea (2,5/4)
A big-budget, wide-screen stuntfest (deep-sea shark boxing, high-altitude skyscraper leaping, Great Wall motocrossing), Cradle of Life nonetheless lacks a certain essential momentum. There are spectacular set pieces, and a couple of spectacular sets, too, but things screech to a virtual halt as B-grade thespians deliver stock palaver and Ciar?n Hinds, playing a Nobel Prize-winning bioterrorist (rest assured: He won the Nobel before turning evil), behaves badly and kills a lot of people.
De Bont, who directed Speed and who's been accelerating, career-wise, downhill ever since, accords his cinemagenic star the attention she certainly deserves. But, really, something should be done about these scripts: Both Tomb Raiders suffer from rampant action-adventure cliches and the sort of lumbering dialogue that harks back to the Saturday morning serials of yore. Or to a George Lucas movie, which is the same thing except it costs a lot more.
"So this is the cradle of life!" Hinds' putatively brainy bad guy exclaims, after traipsing up an African mountain and battling some Dark Continent version of Tolkien's tree creatures, the ents.
Yes, stupid, this is the cradle of life. Cut to Lara Croft rolling her eyes - and oh what eyes they are!

Arizona Republic | Bill Muller
This is another movie that Americanizes the whole world. When Lara shows up in a far-flung Asian prison to fetch hunky but untrustworthy assistant Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), the guard greets her with the line, "Welcome to Fantasy Island." I'm glad they get TV Land in Kazakhstan.
In any case, the Cradle ostensibly holds the mythical Pandora's Box. According to legend, when opened, the box releases all kinds of maladies into the world.
Like, for instance, really bad movie sequels.

The Mercury News | Glen Lovell
Well, the keepers of the franchise -- Paramount Pictures, plus a consortium of British, German and Japanese backers -- have heard your pain, Croft cultists. ``Cradle of Life,'' directed by ``Speed'' demon Jan De Bont, is the antithesis of the first installment. It contains lengthy blocks of dialogue, drawn-out gun battles a la John Woo, and the bare minimum of digital effects, glimpsed at the beginning and end, as Croft and company do battle with oversize trolls.
And oh yes, there's lots more Jolie for the mostly male, mostly juvenile core audience. The undeniably stunning star poses blankly for about two-thirds of this adventure, as if waiting for cues to ``action!'' that never come. We haven't seen this kind of commitment to cheeky pulchritude since Raquel Welch's heyday in ``One Million Years B.C.'' and ``Fathom,'' a sort of Mod-era precursor to Jolie's freelance Brit agent.

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