The Final Inquiry
by Phil Boatwright

The story begins three years after the crucifixion of Jesus.  Rumors that He is a prophet who has risen from the dead are inciting the people to rebel against the Roman empire.  In an effort to control the unrest, the Roman Emperor recruits a formerly exiled, clever and disenchanted investigator to disprove the story.  As the search is aided by a beautiful, young Israeli woman and hampered by Governor Pontius Pilate, a proud, honest Roman hero is drawn deeply into a deep realm of love, honor and spiritual understanding.

PREVIEW REVIEW:  Epic sword & sandal movies need an epic budget in order to give the action sequences a potent effect.  Here the Final Inquiry loses the battle.  The sword fighting scenes looks like rehearsals, with the actors moving like kids at their first dance.  That said, the filmmakers still manage to make it look excessively violent.  But the bloodletting skirmishes fail to give either a realistic or arm-grabbing effect.  This is one area where filmmakers attempting to declare Jesus as the Savior fail miserably. Their production values often disappoint.

That’s the bad part.  There are positives.  The acting is sincere and the production causes viewers to think.  It answers questions such as; “was there a cover-up?”  and “did the disciples steal Jesus’ body after the crucifixion?”  Ultimately, the film presents a profound declaration of who Jesus is and the effect He has on friends and foes.

Directed by Guillio Base, starring F. Murray Abraham, Daniele Liotti, Dolph Lundgren, Max von Sydow, and Monica Cruz, the DVD from Fox Home Entertainment includes a making-of featurette.

DVD Alternative:  The Robe. Based on the Lloyd C. Douglas novel about a Roman centurion who wins Christ's robe in a dice game.  Soon his life and that of his slave are changed as they discover Jesus to be the Savior of the world.  We see Jesus through the use of long shots and camera angles that focus the attention not on an actor portraying Christ, but on the people who came into His presence.  This method was effectively used, giving the story a great dignity.  Richard Burton was nominated for an Oscar, but Victor Mature steals the picture with a moving performance as the converted slave, Demetrius.  The depiction of the early church and the life-changing power of our Lord make this film worth viewing.  Other well-made productions on the life of Christ:  Ben Hur, Jesus of Nazareth, The Passion of the Christ (R-rated, not for kids or the squeamish, but a detailed look at what Christ physically underwent on our behalf), Cotton Patch Gospel (a musical comedy/drama placing the Gospel of Matthew in modern-day Georgia; ask your Christian bookstore to order it from the Bridgestone Production Group).