Friday, October 3, 2014

Left Behind Movie Review

Nicolas Cage stars in Left Behind

Disaster with a Twist

It's too easy to pick apart Vic Armstrong's apocalyptic "thriller" Left Behind; so I plan on going in another, more uplifting direction. Onward and upward, right? Make no mistake, this isn't a good movie; but it is entertaining, and odds are, you'll be glued to your seat until it's (finally) over. And yes, Nicolas Cage makes everything (even this movie) a lot more awesome.

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: The most important event in the history of mankind is happening right now. In the blink of an eye, the biblical Rapture strikes the world. Millions of people disappear without a trace. All that remains are their clothes and belongings, and in an instant, terror and chaos spread around the world. The vanishings cause unmanned vehicles to crash and burn. Planes fall from the sky. Emergency forces everywhere are devastated. Gridlock, riots and looting overrun the cities. There is no one to help or provide answers. In a moment, the entire planet is plunged into darkness.

What’s Best: There's something hypnotic about the end of the world... even if it's not because of an asteroid, flood or (shudder) global warming. Injecting an airborne storyline to the mix is actually a great idea (think Airport meets Airplane! with a dash of Highway to Heaven for good measure.) Had the movie stayed "in the air," I'd probably bump it up a full letter grade. Cage is magical to watch, even when he's doling out lines like, 'I will be... as soon as I have time,' when asked by a flight attendant, if he's scared. I'm surprised he didn't repeat Jesse Ventura's classic, 'I don't have time to bleed' line from Predator (great movie alert!)

What’s Not: The religious "babble" gets annoying, especially in regards to Cage's on-screen wife (Lea Thompson) who's labeled as 'crazy,' 'nutty,' and 'whacko,' in addition to, 'Mom drank the Kool-Aid,' and the oh-so-endearing, 'I always feel she's trying to shove it (religion) down my throat.' Keep in mind, each insult comes from her own daughter, Chloe (played atrociously by Cassi Thomson.) Seems like someone forgot who carried her around in their womb for nine months. Now that's crazy.

The screenplay is dreadful, as is the mysterious disappearance of all the "good people." Why leave their clothes behind? Where's everyone's underwear; and why is it, that all children make it to Heaven? I know more than a handful of brats that deserve at least a century or two in Purgatory. American Idol alum Jordin Sparks gives Thomson a run for her money, as the film's worst actor; although Thomson pulls away with an impossible "save" at the end of the movie. Toss in ridiculously bad special effects (what do you expect from a $16 million budget?) and I can totally understand why almost everyone else has panned it.

Best Line: Why do I love Cage so much? Who else can deliver, 'If she's gonna run off with another man... It may as well be Jesus,' with a straight face? Cage is drifting dangerously close into Jean-Claude Van Damme/Steven Seagal territory; but don't forget... he still has an Oscar for Best Actor (Leaving Las Vegas) on his mantle. He's built up a stack of passes in my book. "Pray on" Nic!

Overall: Who's idea was it to name Sparks' character Shasta? "I want a pop, pop, pop! I want a Shhhhhhhhhhhasta, Shasta!" Probably the same one who decided to stick an angry midget, mysterious Muslim, Lady Gaga lookalike and a tech-savvy Asian in First Class (along with a forgetful old woman, who didn't get to join her equally old husband in Heaven.) Stereotypes rule the roost, with an "eye" for cleavage, cocaine and lots of other vices. So long as you don't take this too seriously (or at all) there's plenty of fun to go around. Lighten up, and let Captain Cage do all the flying: You never know... you may have half as much fun as I did.