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Shadow Guardian

Tomb Raider 2
by Shocka

Tomb Raider 2 was an appalling, appalling film. How hard can it be to make a good Tomb Raider movie, anyway? You take Angelina Jolie, her airbags and put them in a pyramid or something in which there are traps, CGI monsters, some vague storyline about treasure and a lot of cock-tease, and boom, you have an excellent popcorn movie.

Apparently this is too hard for the filmmakers, who made the most boring, lifeless piece of junk this year. I suffered a lot of crap this year in a cinema, but I think The Cradle of Life was probably the most painful. I'm appalled at just how boring this movie was, let alone stupid. The fact that Roger Ebert gave this three stars further warrants his execution, no matter how much I love watching his flabby ass argue with Roeper, who's one of the biggest jackasses on the planet (yet even he gave this film Thumbs Down).

Shadow Guardian Even the coolest part of this movie, the Shadow Guardians, ended up biting ass. For those fortunate enough to miss the movie, it basically had some lame-ass plot about going to the Cradle of Life, a mythological (read: nonsensical) place to get a magical box. Anyway, before you can enter the Cradle of Life, you have to go through the deadzone, or something, which was basically a place with a whole bunch of dead trees. Terror!

So, we have a big crowd of the soldiers, Angelina Jolie, a few token "evil" characters and a bunch of trees, and there's a big build-up. Something is going to jump out from the trees, and something does - the big, monstrous Shadow Guardians, some kind of Giger-ish mix of Aliens and large gorillas, or a "stealth" variant of a Quake Shambler. Problem is, the Shadow Creatures are so poorly animated that they're laughable, and because they're unstoppable there's no suspense. Everyone dies except for Angelina Jolie and her breasts. There's no explanation for that either. Nothing in this film makes any sense. Down in Hell, they play The Cradle of Life over and over while Eminem performs in the background.

["Comedy" racism here removed, to demonstrate growth --ed.]

The crappy action figure based on the Shadow Guardians is actually much better than the movie, although not much. A picture perfect sculpt is almost ruined by a series of poor choices by the toymakers, who should be led into a darkened room and forced to listen to rappers over and over.

World's Worst Penis Standing just under 7" tall - if you can actually get it to stand - the Shadow Guardian shares the same excellent sculpt as the ludicrous CGI monsters from the movie. Actually more threatening than the tar bumpkins themselves, the toy captures a spectacular aggressiveness. The toy is made out of lovely translucent plastic, blackened and nasty with gigantic claws and a horribly twisted mouth - it's pretty impressive. That's where the impressiveness ends, though - pretty much everything else about the toy is horrid.

The Smoke Gorilla is articulated at the legs, midsection and balljointed shoulders and neck. This movement is nice but limited - the elbows and wrists of the toys were clearly intended to be articulated, but aren't. In a completely idiotic move, each big, clawed hand is a separate piece from the arm, and a space exists between them that looks like a joint. Of course, it isn't, so when you try to move it, the toy breaks. Congratulations, SOTA! A simple customization of the broken toy, in which you sand down the peg which held the claws on to make it a moveable joint isn't hard, but why should we have to do it in the first place?

curse you, gravity! Next, we have the fact that the Dark Lumberjack won't stand. Anyone who did simple physics knows that a large object needs a large base that supports the center of gravity. Well, our good friend here has tiny tiny little feet to support itself, and loose leg articulation that GUARANTEES he'll always fall over and knock other toys off your shelf. Great job, geniuses!

The toy does have a few good points amongst all the bad ones. It doesn't explode in your hands, for example, and buying it is a perfect way to punish your kids. Also, love that groin. But still, it doesn't make sense that the Lara figures in this series should be so articulated compared to this junk. Both Ms. Crofts are a big improvement from the previous series, but the Shadow Guardian is a step backwards. Buy this guy only on clearance, and if possible, set fire to anyone at all responsible for making the film. Not a jury in the world will convict you.

-- 01/05/04

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