Starring: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Ciaran Hinds, Chris Barrie Director: Jan de Bont Category: IIA From the very first moment that Angelina Jolie jet-skis on to the screen, wearing a wicked smile and little else, there is never any doubt that she has found a near-perfect fit in the role of cyber-babe Lara Croft. She so obviously relishes the opportunity to let her hair down that there's every chance you'll get swept away with her. While this is a far-improved effort from the first in the Tomb Raider series, it still leaves you wishing there is a little more to it. Granted, there are some spectacular set pieces. None more so than when Lara and her partner in crime, Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), skydive from Hong Kong's Two IFC building. It's breathtaking. And the fact that there is a series of Hong Kong scenes will no doubt have audiences here cheering along. Or laughing along as the case may be - especially when Lara boards a fishing boat in Aberdeen and chats - in Putonghua - with a family who rather fortunately boast state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. These scenes take up a good part of the film's duration so time does fly pretty quickly. It's the rest of the film that becomes a bit muddled. This time around, Lara is in search of an orb that can open the legendary Pandora's Box. There are bad guys after it too - among them Hong Kong actors Simon Yam Tat-wah and Terrence Yin - and the baddest of them all, Dr Jonathan Reiss (Ciaran Hinds), wants to use it to destroy most of humanity. While director Jan de Bont (Speed) ups the action ratio from the original, it's as though at times he realises the audience will become lost among the explosions - so he turns to a script often bogged down by exposition. Just when things become a tad murky, the action stops and a characters will go to great lengths to explain where we are with things. It makes it all a fairly stop/start affair. The problem with this franchise seems to be that the first film tried to develop a bit of character, and it didn't really work (despite what box office figures may say), and the second dispenses with character development for full-on thrills and spills - and it doesn't really work. But does anyone really care? Maybe with Lara, all we should ever expect is a little 'wham, bam thank-you, ma'am''. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life opens today.