Book of Eli, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +1

Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Frances de la Tour, Michael Gambon, Evan Jones, Joe Pingue, Tom Waits. Written by Gary Whitta. Directed by the Hughes Brothers.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In the not-too-distant post apocalyptic future, across the wasteland of what was once America, a lone warrior must fight to protect and deliver a sacred object that will be the key to rebuilding civilization and teaching redemption.

PREVIEW REVIEW: A solitary man walking across the wasteland that was once America – filmgoers have seen this tableaux more often than Will Ferrell without his pants. The ‘70s gave us a slew of Armageddon actioneers aimed at the drive-in crowd. Mad Max fought the baddies in a post-apocalyptic world throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, and this new millennium shows no signs of ignoring the genre. Last year alone we were given District 9, 2012, The Road, 9, Battle for Terra, Terminator Salvation, and Zombieland. Even independent religious film companies followed suit: In the Blink of an Eye and Six: The Mark Unleashed to mention two. (I sense a trend.) And on the 15th of January, The Book of Eli offers a new chapter for the genre: a major film studio presents the gospel amid martial arts battles and baddies with bazookas.

It’s an interesting premise: Mad Max meets the Messiah. While the brutal end-time battles between a lone wolf and several bands of crust-covered cretins should satisfy the action-adventure crowd, the daring incorporation of biblical precepts may cause some folks to actually investigate the Book. Now wouldn’t that be something?

Along with the recitation of the 23rd Psalm, and a simple prayer that passes on to a younger generation, the film contains another valuable lesson – a reminder to appreciate what is truly precious: the day, our blessings and those we love. Smartly written, a sincere performance by its star, and unlike most other apocalyptic films of late, it has a pretty girl to look at. Sounds good to me. Indeed, I was glued to my seat, because this good vs. evil parable makes room for spiritual aspects while completely entertaining us. Yes, the premise is a bit silly: a maniacal warlord wants the sacred book because he thinks he can enslave the world with it. The Bible is about freedom and truth, not enslavement. What’s more, the thought that God would allow mankind to sink to cannibalism before His Son’s return seems farfetched. But as I said, it is meant as an action-fueled parable and there is an ethereal cherry on top: it might cause some non-churchgoers to examine mankind’s future by reading the Bible.

Of course, this is a Hollywood film, it’s not meant for church rentals. So, it gets the R-rating treatment with objectionable language, including the evil dude profaning God’s name once. Then there are all those well-choreographed combats. A gentle man until his words “I don’t want any trouble,” go unbelieved, Eli suddenly produces a machete, a pistol, a sawed-off shotgun or lightning-fast karate moves that would widen the eyes of Jackie Chan, introducing many a menacing bit player to another world. I’d advise you to check out the content section of this review before attending. Though the Christian community is being courted by this film’s studio, some of you may be unnerved by the amounts of brutality.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: One or two crude sexual comments as one thug demands to own the young female lead in exchange for his services.

Obscene Language: Around twenty obscenities, mostly the f-word.

Profanity: One profanity – GD.

Violence: Several brutal battles, including martial arts skirmishes; weapons such as machetes, pistols, automatic rifles and explosives are used to kill people and destroy chasing vehicles; a couple of scenes have men trying to rape a young woman. Blood: Some blood.

Sex: No sexual situations other than villains trying to rape a woman.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Brief drinking in a barroom.

Other: None

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and above

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.