Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Angelina Jolie is fucking hot. That's a given. But in the second episode of the Lara Croft franchise, Jolie gives at least a glimmer of what every action hero needs to make it past the first couple of flicks: personality. When the artifact-hunting babe first hit the big screen in 2001, Lara was just a video-game character, and Jolie played her like one: stiff, two-dimensional, and strictly visual in appeal. But in Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, Jolie loosens up just enough to carry what is otherwise a dumb but diverting actioner. A mad scientist (Ciarán Hinds) has designs on the Pandora's Box of ancient lore--something about destroying the world--and after he kills some flimsy but sympathetic characters who are supposed to be Croft's friends, she gives chase. Then it's nothing but balletic fight scenes, exotic James Bond-worthy stunts, and enough spark between Croft and her Irish mercenary helpmate (Gerard Butler) to keep things interesting. It's all a confection, but the plot is tight, Jolie is hot, and I'll probably see the next one, too.