Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Movie Poster Image
A bit better than original; lots of graphic violence.
  • PG-13
  • 2003
  • 116 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

An argument could be made that Lara Croft is a strong female lead character in action movies -- a genre that traditionally has made the men exclusively strong and heroic while the women are usually damsels in distress.


(Warning: Some spoilers.) Intense peril, sometimes graphic, characters killed. Disturbing demonic imagery in which monstrous forms take shape and bite off the heads and torsos of various characters. Lead antagonist dies in a pool of black acid; he screams and writhes in agony as he dies. Characters fight with machine guns, guns, knives, spear guns, spears, and muskets; when those aren't around, punches and kicks. Character stabbed in the foot with a musket. Croft fights a shark. An earthquake causes an avalanche. 


Lara and the male lead start to kiss passionately in one scene, then Lara is on top of him while they're on the floor, seemingly on the verge of having sex. She then takes out handcuffs and cuffs him to the bed because she doesn't trust him; he reacts to the handcuffs by saying, "Not what I had in mind, but..." Revealing, skintight outfits on Croft, with nipples clearly seen. 


"S--t," "piss," "ass," "hell."


Based on the popular video game. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine drinking at a wedding. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is the 2003 sequel in the movie franchise based on the video game. There's very graphic violence -- and lots of it. Characters are hurt and killed with a vast array of weaponry --everything from spear guns to spears to machine guns and axes -- and when weapons aren't readily available, characters punch and kick. Spoiler alert: The lead antagonist dies in a pool of black acid that burns off his skin as he writhes and screams in pain. Demonic monsters come to life and bite off the heads and torsos of various soldiers. Croft and the male lead character are on the verge of having sex when she takes out her handcuffs and cuffs him to the bed; his reaction is innuendo about how he thinks it's part of their impending lovemaking, but she leaves him there because she doesn't trust him. Croft's nipples show through her skintight outfit. Croft fights a shark. A character is stabbed in the foot with a musket. Language includes "s--t," "piss," "ass," and "hell."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byrachel4missions May 17, 2009

I do love Tomb Raider, but...

While I really enjoy the Tomb Raider Franchise and I did enjoy this movie (moreso the second time around!), there are some things to be aware of. SPOILERS ahea... Continue reading
Adult Written bycalneta April 9, 2008
Teen, 17 years old Written byAGClyde July 5, 2021

All There for the Imagery

I've seen the first movie of this over a year ago, and I didn't think it was absolutely amazing, and this one is just a little better than the first.... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byBps 20999 October 19, 2018

What's the story?

Angelina Jolie plays Lady Lara Croft, archeologist/adventurer. Off the coast of Santorini, she discovers an ancient sunken library. Just as she reaches for a glowing yellow orb, the bad guys arrive. The orb is a map to Pandora's Box. This Pandora's Box contains virulent biological agents that will unleash a plague on the world. Jonathan Reiss (Ciaran Hinds), a former Nobel Prize winner turned international dealer in biological weapons, wants what's in the box and Lara, at the request of the Queen, wants to stop him.

Is it any good?

It has a better plot, better characters, and better acting than the first movie, but let's be honest: No one is going to see this movie for the plot, characters, and acting. The audience for this movie wants to see the movie version of the popular computer game, with Angelina Jolie in very tight clothes decking, kicking, and shooting as many bad guys as possible. All of that is there, and the distractions of plot, character, and acting barely get in the way.

Director Jan de Bont (TwisterSpeed) knows how to stage action, and there are some genuine thrills, especially when Lara and Terry don flying suits that have them soaring through the air like Rocky the Flying Squirrel. Jolie is always fun to watch. But the computer-game origins of the movie are replicated in the staged level-style series of action sequences, and that removes any narrative momentum.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Lara decides what's important to her. Is she a good role model? Why or why not?

  • Did the violence seem necessary to the story, or did it seem gratuitous and perhaps intended to reflect the violence of the video game? 

  • How were different cultures represented in the movie? Did it seem accurate and respectful of these cultures, or did it seem to resort to stereotyping? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and adventure

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