Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is a 2003 action-adventure film based on the popular Tomb Raider video game series and stars Angelina Jolie as the titular Lara Croft character with supporting roles done by Gerard Butler, Ciarán Hinds, Chris Barrie, Noah Taylor, Til Schweiger, Djimon Hounsou, and Simon Yam. The film was directed by Jan de Bont and is a sequel to the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Like the first film, the film received mostly negative reviews, though critics noted an improvement on its predecessor particularly in the action sequences and continued to praise Jolie's performance as Lara Croft. Despite the film's critical improvement over its predecessor, it did not repeat its financial success, grossing $156 million compared to the previous installment's $274 million. It is Jan de Bont's final film.
On Santorini island, Greece, a strong earthquake uncovers the Luna Temple. The temple was built by Alexander the Great to house his most prized treasures. Among these treasures is a glowing orb with a pattern resembling a code etched into it. Lara (Angelina Jolie) finds this orb; but crime lord Chen Lo (Simon Yam) attacks her group, kill her two companions and takes the orb. Lara escapes with a strange medallion. MI6 approaches Lara with information of Pandora's Box. It is an object from ancient legends that supposedly contains a deadly plague (the companion to the origin of life itself). They need to get it before Jonathan Reiss (Ciarán Hinds) - Nobel Prize winning scientist turned bio-terrorist - does. The box, hidden in the mysterious Cradle of Life, can only be found with a magical sphere that serves as a map. The same sphere was stolen by Chen Lo, who plans to sell the sphere to Reiss.
Lara agrees to help them, with the condition that they release her old flame Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), who has knowledge of Chen Lo's criminal operation. Together, Terry and Lara infiltrate Chen Lo's lair, where he is smuggling Terracotta Soldiers. Lara defeats him in a fight and learns the location of the orb. Lara and Terry then meet up with Kosa (Djimon Hounsou), an African friend. They question a local tribe about the Cradle of Life. The tribe's Chief states that the Cradle of Life is in a crater protected by the "Shadow Guardians". As they set out on an expedition, Reiss' men ambush them and kill the tribesmen. Outnumbered, Lara surrenders.
Using her companions as hostages, Reiss forces Lara to lead him to the Cradle of Life. At the crater, they encounter the Shadow Guardians, humanoid creatures that appear in and out of wet patches on dead trees. The creatures kill most of Reiss' men. Lara manages to find the "key hole" and drops the Orb in it. The Guardians disintegrate and the entrance to the Cradle of Life opens. Lara and Reiss are drawn into the Cradle, a labyrinth made of a strange crystalline substance. Inside, they find a pool of highly corrosive black acid (linking back to one of the myths about Pandora's Box), in which the box floats. Normal laws of physics seem not to apply, as Lara and Reiss are able to walk (upside down) along the ceiling of the cave. Terry arrives, frees the hostages and catches up to Lara.
Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft
Gerard Butler as Terry Sheridan
Ciarán Hinds as Jonathan Reiss
Daniel Craig as Alex West
Chris Barrie as Hillary
Noah Taylor as Bryce
Djimon Hounsou as Kosa
Til Schweiger as Sean
Simon Yam as Chen Lo
Terence Yin as Xien
Directed by Jan de Bont
Distributed by Paramount Pictures