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LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE

Buffed but restless archaeologist Lara Croft takes a big dip and happens upon not only a sunken temple, but Pandora’s Box as well. But then a Chinese evildoer steals the box from under Lara and threatens to use it as a weapon of mass destruction.

CAST: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Chris Barrie, Ciaran Hinds, Noah Taylor, Til Schweiger, Djimon Hounsou, Simon Yam, Terence Yin, Ronan Vibert

DIRECTOR: Jan de Bont

"‘Cradle’ is just one more addition to this summer's stretch of plastic, bombastic studio sequels…Competent in the extreme, the talented Jolie would make a great Jane Bond. But mired in this joyless orgy of preposterousness, her biggest challenge is simply keeping a straight face…How could something so expensive, so loud and so frenetic simultaneously be so mindnumbingly boring?" --Elizabeth Weitzman, The New York Daily News

"‘Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life’ emerges as just one more formulaic action film as the title character bounces around the globe in a deadly treasure hunt…lopes from one action set-piece to the next without developing any real rhythm or drive. Too many of the stunts are too obviously digitally enhanced to carry much sense of danger." --Dave Kehr, The New York Times

"Jolie brings an arctic cool to her portrayal of the title character…in a summer of surprisingly self-serious comic book movies, she stands out as being particularly humorless…it makes for a grim two-hour sit…another sequel cashing in on its pre-sold audience without providing anything by way of sparkle, wit or originality." --Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

"Angelina Jolie focuses her wild energy into outlandish heroics, and emerges with more attractiveness and credibility than all three of those silly Charlie's Angels combined. She brings a natural gusto and an otherworldly flair to her artificial character -- a red-blooded blue blood from a video game…the murky climax takes a plunge into the supernatural that's more like a desperate nosedive. The filmmakers should realize they don't need monster-movie effects. They have a real live wonder woman in Jolie." --Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun

"What's relevant to Lara and her legions of fans are her fantastically pneumatic breasts, her awesomely phallic weaponry and the way those breasts and weapons conspire to create a polymorphic fantasy…The story pivots on the world's toughest chick, but nearly everyone else with lines in the movie is a man, most of whom — when not trying to kill her — are anxiously tending to her every action-adventure need…the newest Lara Croft vehicle signals a distinct if distinctly minor improvement on the first." --Manohla Dargis, The Los Angeles Times

"Director Jan De Bont (‘Speed,’ ‘Twister’) does yeoman work in engineering the action sequences. But after a while, you stop speculating how Croft will wriggle out of each fine mess and start checking your watch." --Gene Seymour, Newsday

"Its faults — banal dialogue, ludicrous and uninspired plotting, dull but vicious fight scenes — make you realize just how much the summer action movie has declined in the last few years…the story line — crudely concocted by a trio of remarkably tone-deaf writers to justify a series of action set pieces — contains so little drama…many of the fight scenes are speeded up until they look jarringly fake." --Jonathan Foreman, The New York Post

"Jolie is perhaps the most interesting actress with the least interesting resume working today; she has yet to make a really good movie. But she exhibits a huge screen presence, and she puts everything into Lara Croft, from her delicate English accent to her cunning eyes. But no one else, from the scriptwriters (whose combined work includes ‘Hook,’ ‘The Flintstones’ and ‘Judge Dredd’) on down, gives her a hand…I worked hard to lose myself in this movie, but the movie did not respond. I tried hard. I really did. It's just that the filmmakers did not try at all." --Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner

"Director Jan De Bont thinks the stunts will distract us from the cliched script; he thought the same about ‘Speed 2.’ Gerard Butler, the Scottish hunk who'll play the lead in the film of ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ does spark with Jolie. To no avail. Even sex can't save a film that produces instant narcolepsy." --Peter Travers, Rolling Stone