The Book Of Eli
Directed By: The Hughes Brothers
Starring: Denzel Washington ("Eli), Mila Kunis ("Solara"), Gary Oldman ("Carnegie"), Malcolm McDowell ("Lombardi"), Michal Gambon ("George"), Jennifer Beals ("Claudia")
Rated: R for some brutal violence and language
Runtime: 118 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
The end of the world seems to be a popular theme these days. With the rotten economy, the never ending wars, and the general fear of change, Hollywood must feel a need to sensitize the masses with â€œworse case scenarioâ€ programming. First there was â€œ2012â€, then â€œThe Roadâ€ and now, arguably the best of the bunch, â€œThe Book of Eli.â€
Box office super trooper, Denzel Washington turns action warrior for his latest film, â€œThe Book of Eliâ€, a strange yet recognizable tale of a man on a mission. Eli ( Denzel Washington) travels solo, through the devastated dregs of a once thriving America, to save the last copy of the Bible.
Like David Carradine in the 1970â€™s television show Kung Fu, Washingtonâ€™s Eli is as peaceful as a monk, when he isnâ€™t beating up the bad guys. Eliâ€™s personality is a combination of the characters from â€œKung Fuâ€, â€œMad Maxâ€, â€œBladeâ€, and â€œThe Roadâ€ all rolled into one powerful force.
The energy and tone of the film â€œThe Book of Eliâ€ seems to originate from movies like â€œSin Cityâ€, â€œMad Maxâ€, â€œThe Roadâ€œ and â€œBladeâ€ to name just a few; which makes for a wild and wonderful walk down â€œthe clear influence of other moviesâ€ lane. Most every segment of â€œThe Book of Eliâ€ is a montage of familiarity ; a blatant reminder of films we know , and sometimes love.
Washington owns Eli, and is ruggedly handsome, cool and cunning as a man headed West. For most of the journey why Eli must head West is not clear, and it doesnâ€™t matter because travel in any direction of this wasteland of a landscape looks bleak. Along the way Eli encounters a host of low life survivors of the apocalyptic event that demolished the earth we know today. Few characters in the film have knowledge of â€œbeforeâ€; which evidently means â€œbefore the world was destroyed and reincarnated into a super hell.â€ Now the goal of the average human being is to attempt to survive the mayhem in this new land where people rob, rape, kill and eat each other for folly. Why, in these types of films, do only the indecent survive?
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Eli happens upon a town full of folks that look like extras in the film â€œEscape from New Yorkâ€ only dustier and has a â€œShowdown At The Okay Corralâ€ with several troublemaking ruffians. When various villains try to hijack Washington he fights just like Wesley Snipes in â€œBladeâ€. Eliâ€™s battle weapons consist mainly of very large, heavy, dangerous looking machete type knives. Eli battles groups of enemies with the grace and ease of a black belt in karate, making the action scenes in â€œThe Book of Eliâ€ fast, exciting and at times graphic and gory.
Carnegie played wickedly by Gary Oldman is the authority in the shanty town because of his access to water and thus, wealth. Beautiful and talented Jennifer Beals barely uses her theatrical skill sets as Claudia, Carnegieâ€™s blind, battered and abused female companion. Carnegieâ€™s makeshift army , a group of Neanderthal, illiterate, hoods for hire, are charged to search for a book (and whatever else they can take from the unsuspecting) that Carnegie believes he must possess in order to influence those who have survived. Claudiaâ€™s daughter, Solaris, is amazed with Eli and believes following him is the best way to escape her putrid life as one of Carnegieâ€™s minions.
The film has a dark hue, like the â€œThe Road,â€ and mostâ€ Batmanâ€ films. One too many attempted rapes and assault scenes serve up a â€œLast House on the Leftâ€ type evil, but not as graphic. And fortunately, â€œThe Book of Eliâ€ has a noble goal; survival for Eli, Solaris and the Bible.
The film is more mysterious than preachy, and action packed, in a quirky entertaining way. With a strong, moralistic finish, â€œThe Book of Eliâ€ is a solid action adventure, and worth the price of admission. But this is not to be mistaken as entertainment for the family or children , just because The Bible is the book in question. Denzel Washington fans should prepare to enjoy this character, the quest, and warfare for â€œThe Book of Eliâ€ is a â€œlarger than lifeâ€ made for the â€œbig screenâ€ affair. Amen.
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