Angelina Jolie might have been genetically engineered to portray action video game heroine Lara Croft onscreen, and the Tomb Raider film series arrives with a guaranteed audience, outgrowths of the wildly popular game that it is. These facts ensure that Paramount will be able to cover the films' catering costs. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), this also means that Tomb Raider and its sequel, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, can succeed simply by stringing together a Tyrolean traverse of explosions, fantastical locations, and boob shots. Hollywood Records' soundtrack to Cradle follows a similar formula, wrapping a cheesecake cover shot of Jolie around two classic clichés of its own -- the summer blockbuster soundtrack and the video game soundtrack. Thus, the album is a hodgepodge of alternative metal also-rans and up-and-comers on the Hollywood roster, locked in a spiked coffin with that blustery big beat electronica that now only seems to exist as the backbeat to sci-fi actioners, body count video games, and outsized advertisements for shaving cream or sports cars. Sloth and 3rd Strike turn in faceless P.O.D. impersonations, while P.O.D. itself gets the remix treatment with a Paul Oakenfolded version of "Satellite." Elsewhere, Alexandra Slate's "Bad Girl" is an ambitious yet unsatisfying slice of Aimee Mann-inspired adult alternative; its catty yet cerebral lyricisms have all been done before. The Baroque synth pop of the Dandy Warhols' "The Last High" just seems out of place, as do the film's two main themes, which are tacked onto the end of this vacuous soundtrack. Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life might appeal to the franchise's core audience, which has an appreciation for bombast. But its ballast is hard to ignore.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus