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TOMB RAIDER: 3 STARS. “generic story but Vikander carries the day.”

The last time we saw archaeologist-adventurer Lara Croft on the big screen she looked like Angelina Jolie and was seen dunking a bad guy into a pool of acid, dissolving him and saving the world in the process. A new film, simply titled “Tomb Raider,” takes us back. Back before the leather bodysuits and twin Heckler & Koch USP Match pistols, back to a time when Lara Croft was an emo twenty-one-year-old whose biggest adventure was navigating London’s busy streets as a bicycle courier. This time around she bears a striking resemblance to Swedish Oscar winner Alicia Vikander.

Although born and raised at the swanky Croft Manor, when we first meet Lara she is scraping by, studying MMA fighting, when she can afford the gym fees, and delivering food via bicycle. A fortune, courtesy of her late father Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), awaits but for seven years she has steadfastly refused to sign for her inheritance, fearing that if she does she will have to accept that papa, who disappeared without a trace somewhere in the Sea of Japan, is truly dead and gone.

“Your father is gone but you can pick up where he left off,” says Croft family executive Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas). “It’s in your blood.” “I’m sorry I’m not that kind of Croft,” replies Lara.

And yet, when she discovers a, “If you’re watching this tape I must be dead…” tape from dear old dad detailing his plan to find a remote Japanese island, home to a deadly ancient witch, the dutiful daughter sets off on a dangerous mission—to find the island and her father.

To do that she travels to Japan and recruits Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) who warns her of the danger ahead. “That’s right in the middle of the Devil’s Sea,” he says. “You may as well tie a rock to your leg and jump overboard.”

Armed with nothing more than a backpack and one of her father’s notebooks the pair find the island only to be met by a suspicious character named Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins). “You shouldn’t have come here,” he says. “But I’m glad that you did.”

“Tomb Raider” contains lots of backstory, mumbo jumbo about global genocide, Queen Himiko Witch of Death and supernatural organization that controls much of the world, but this is Lara’s journey from bike courier to international woman of mystery. At the beginning of the film she is nothing like the polished Croft of the Jolie films. She’s scrappier, undisciplined. Her two greatest powers are loyalty to her father and fearlessness. And jumping. Lots of jumping. As played by Vikander, Croft never met a chasm she couldn’t leap across and that skill sure comes in handy.

Unlike Jolie’s iconic, stylized take on the character, Vikander plays her as self assured and independent but directionless. A young person trying to make her way in the world, thirsty for life experience. It’s a nice reinvention of the character, although a post credit scene suggests she is headed toward Jolie territory should there be a “Tomb Raider 2: A Career in Ruins” next year. Still, she’s a spirited female action hero in a male dominated field.

There are big action sequences, but as the stunts get bigger they don’t necessarily get better. Vikander, flying through the streets of London, cutting through traffic while being chased by her courier friends, is as exciting as any of the CGI exploits that come later.

“Tomb Raider’s” story and action are fairly generic but Vikander carries the day, reshaping a character we already thought we knew.

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