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     " Of course…there’s the bouncing. Lots and lots and lots of bouncing. "

      Title: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider- The Movie by Paramount Pictures

      Format: Major Motion Picture

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: Whoever the genius was that realized that any male 21 and younger would go nuts for a female Indian Jones with impossible measurements has finally seen the ultimate evolution of his dream- a high budget live action flick from Paramount. Still, video games do not often good movies make…Especially ones with as *ahem* sketchy a plot as the Tomb Raider games tend to have. So, how’d they do? Read on, my Monkeys…Read on.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Story: Fah. You did not; will not, should not go see any movie touting a video game heroine with dimensions that make Barbie feel inadequate for the plot. And, needless to say, you’d be disappointed if you did. The story…And I use that term fairly loosely…is that Lara’s dad has disappeared and she- in one of the most classic Electra complexes of all time, has pined for him since. But, turns out that daddy didn’t just go walkabout without telling her…He got involved in some real end of the world type stuff and decided that, before he bought the big one, he’d bequeath her some toys from antiquity that will give her the power to rule the universe if she wants. ‘Course, all she wants to do is get daddy back…which is just plain creepy. 2.5 out of 5

      Acting: Action movies, much like porno, have union rules about how good an actor can be in the flick before they get kicked out. If they made it too good, then it would creep out of action movie and into drama and thus guarantee that any kid under 14 will never see it. So, true to form, you’ll suffer the indignities of both dramatically over and massively under acting at all the wrong times. Still, despite a villain less believable than the "Weekly World News" and some absolutely ridiculous supporting players, there are a couple of shining stars. First off is Rimmer. No, that’s not his real name- his real name is Chris Barrie but he’s best known as the lovably pathetic hologram from Red Dwarf. And, though the character they gave him has all the depth of a kiddy’s wading pool, he plays it kick ass. The butler not afraid to strap on some kevlar, hoist a 12 gauge, and kick some tail. Sweet. Also of true note worthiness is Angelina Jolie’s performance as the title character Lara Croft. While, as you may guess, the character makes a still photo look 3 dimensional, Jolie really nails the character…to a double D Tee. Powerful, breathless, tough, and oozing royal lady sexiness- she really does bring all the best of what Lara could have to offer to the big screen. And, though I’ve never been an Angelina Jolie fan…I can certainly look forward to seeing much more of Lara Croft. 3 out of 5

      Action: You know, I haven’t bothered to check…and I probably should…but instead I’ll just say if there were no production connections between this and the Mortal Kombat movie I’d be very surprised. Not so much in quality of the fight scenes (Mortal Kombat leaves this long in the dust) but in the style. Lots of MTV-esque scene cuts, quick and brutal kick boxing, and random…Almost pointless gunfire (more on this in a second) keep your pupils in a constant state of quivering dilation. Which, I suppose, is all good. What’s also good is that the action manages to pretty well capture that elusive "video game feel" that Hollywood is convinced we want in a video game adapted movie without sucking entirely. She jump fights on bungie cords, uses a racing motorcycle as a melee weapon, and flips around the room with complete impunity. The downer on this, of course, is that means you’re putting up with typically outlandish BS that pushes you way beyond any normal suspension of disbelief. Still, all in all, I found myself smiling more than shouting "What the hell?!?" so I guess it did pretty well. The only other major note, which for some reason pissed me off a lot more than it should, is that she never shoots anyone. Ever. Sure, she shoots AT them, AROUND them, and NEAR them…but never manages to score a single hit. For that matter, the only time she kills is in the climactic fight scene against the head villain at the end. And, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why? Other people shoot each other. Many, many people die. It’s just when it comes to Laura that she wastes a full magazine pointed right at the bad guy but then runs up to kick him in the head for the KO. Very strange, very unrealistic, and downright annoying. Especially when you think that shooting the shit out of people is most of what you do in the games. Hmm…Maybe Laura’s just a much worse shot than we thought. 3 out of 5

      Visuals and Directing: Normally, I absolutely despise low grade theatrics and overly kitche fight scenes…However, Tomb Raider manages to go just enough over the top and so deep into the whole campy video game feel that it absolutely works. Fast, MTV-esque fight scenes, just shy of ludicrous stunts, lots of fun toys, and some decent CGI help keep your eyes from letting your mind realize exactly how bad the plot is. And, of course…there’s the bouncing. Lots and lots and lots of bouncing. 4 out of 5

      Sound Track: Techno rap and lots of it. And, though Paramount definitely wants this to be a "go buy me" sound track (which, personally, I don’t think it is) they don’t shove it in your face so much that it gets annoying. I pretty much just tuned out everything except the hard line back beat. Oh and…One more odd thing…Lara Croft’s favorite song is one that keeps saying her name over, and over, and over again. Creepy? I think so. Oh well…better that than daddy’s name I guess. 3.5 out of 5

      Value vs. Admission: Matinee. Definitely matinee. But, with that in mind, I don’t think you’ll feel ripped off. Hell, it’s almost worth 5 bucks just for the bouncing. Oh…the bouncing. 3 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       The sad truth is that I’ve seen this movie twice, once with Cornelius and once with Cheetah and two little cousins of mine. Both times I enjoyed it far more than I should have. It’s simple, cheesy, and way, way too campy…But you know what? Wrap it all together and you’ve got just a good ole’ fun movie and I had a good time watching it.

      The Good: Lots of action and Lara Croft is uber sexy.

      The Bad: It’s a movie based on a video game…that can never be good.

      The Overall Ugly: Cheesy, campy, action packed, and fun…you should catch this on a matinee after a full meal and a few beers.

      What it's Worth: Matinee

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