I should have known better. When I saw the title ‘Left Behind” I immediately thought of this over the top Jesus flick by Kirk Cameron. But I was like, “no way would someone make a movie that terrible twice.” Boy was I wrong.
The movie starts off at the beginning of the Rapture. If you are Catholic, you will know the Rapture is the reason you don’t eat ham sandwiches on Lent, because you don’t want to be…ahem…left behind. In this movie, our hero is a decidedly puffy looking Nicholas Cage, who is an airline pilot and possibly the last person on earth (aside from his wacky assortment of clichéd passengers). The whole time you’re watching, you pray for this guy to crash the damn plane into a mountain just to get the movie over with.
This film is a shoo-win for the Golden Raspberry, the pinnacle of badness when it comes to movies. Not since Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls have I seen such one dimensional characters and flat acting pasted against a violent background.
Nicholas Cage, an Academy Award winner, pretty much sleepwalks his way through the movie. This is clearly a case of him phoning it in to make a quick buck. To which I say, why not make yet another movie about you going on a treasure hunt based on clues on the back of a dollar bill? At least those were fun.
Never has a movie not made me want to go to heaven, but this one does its job. Seriously, if I have to spend my afterlife with a born again Lea Thompson, I think I’d rather just go to hell. Preachy, judgmental and overtly religious, I started to wonder if this movie was funded by Kirk Cameron.
If you‘re one of those people who isn’t very religious, but thinks if you’re a good enough person, no benevolent god would punish you, you’re in the wrong movie. This god doesn’t care about behavior, as long as you tithe 1/3 and spend 20 hours a week praying.
One of the big plot points is landing the plane. Because all air traffic controllers are apparently good, there are none left to help and the hero is forced to rely on plucky young reported Buck Williams to help him out of the sky. Have the writers of this plot point ever met an air traffic controller? They pretty much come standard with hair trigger tempers and amphetamine addictions.
Luckily, it’s super easy to learn how to become an air traffic controller. I’m sure it’s like getting a heating and refrigeration certificate, with 18 hours of school required. So of course Williams is easily able to navigate the system.
There’s also a side plot with Chloe (Cassie Thompson), the hero’s daughter, as she wanders the streets of an empty New York and fights with women over bags of designer merchandize. If the world is ending, you at least want to have your Prada, right? Chloe really added nothing to the movie and shaving her out would have shaved a good half an hour off this jumbled mess.
For a movie about the end of the world, it wasn’t very exciting. Actually, it was about as exciting as watching Nicholas Cage doing his taxes. He probably made a movie about that anyway.
I’ve found that as an actor, Cage lacks the intensity to play a deep roll about the question of morality versus religion. He should really just stick to blowing things up and hunting treasure.
If you’re looking for a good action flick this week, you’re better off leaving behind the Left Behind.
WE GAVE IT: 1 Star