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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.27%
Worth A Look43.64%
Average: 30.91%
Pretty Bad: 14.55%
Total Crap: 3.64%

6 reviews, 19 user ratings

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Book of Eli, The
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by William Goss

"A Man and His God"
3 stars

In a cinematic tradition that ranges from 'The Road Warrior' to 'The Road,' one man treks across a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland. This time around, in the Hughes Brothersí 'The Book of Eli,' the mystery man as played by Denzel Washington speaks softly and carries a big machete, and heís not about to let anyone get their mitts on that book of his.

It would seem a spoiler to reveal just what the book is and why itís so important, although anyone who has given the marketing half a glance shouldnít be terribly surprised. Along the lines, itís pertinent to point out that Eli is a film about faith that asks viewers for increasing leaps of it between fights and explosions. Itís compelling in the sense that Denzel makes for a mighty cool badass, and that the Hughes Brothers (who havenít been behind the camera since 2001ís From Hell) are keen on milking both him and the stark landscape for all theyíre worth, framing their lead in silhouette for his first brawl and keeping the camera roving as he fluidly dispatches many more foes to follow.

Itís mighty derivative, though, happy to wear its influences on its sleeve but reluctant to fully engage the considerable ideas that it brings to the table. Eli is our force for good, protecting what is presumed to be the last known copy of Text X, and more than anyone, literate local leader Carnegie (Gary Oldman) wants to get his hands on it and allow its message to do his bidding (although, so far as things are established, heís not having any trouble controlling people with fresh water as it is). Still, we need a baddie, and one can do worse than hire Oldman; mind you, heís also done better, but thereís only so much to work with here.

Once Carnegieís stepdaughter, Solara (Mila Kunis, sincere but so clean), decides to tag along with Eli on his crusade, Carnegie and his second-in-command (Ray Stevenson) give chase, and what started out as something mysterious grows a bit more monotonous, and even a lively assault on a once-picturesque home canít prevent the filmís climax from running out of steam just when stakes should be at their highest and then unleashing a series of twists that left me a little surprised and a lot skeptical.

'The Book of Eli' does have an admirable conviction to its beliefs, though, a rare quality to see in any big-budget actioner. But itís more ambiguous than it is important, armed with ideas but afraid to use them. So far as post-apocalyptic westerns go, this oneís pretty watchable, but when our hero laments a bygone time when ďwe had more than we needed,Ē you wonder if he really even has enough to stand out in this crowded subgenre of desolation and determination.

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originally posted: 01/16/10 15:58:09
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell pretty good 4 stars
4/06/11 sean4 Go its hooks in me and i cldnt take my eyes off of it. 4 stars
1/15/11 Peter North Solear was bonerific. Should have been 40 dead cats! 4 stars
1/10/11 Edler Bad casting - female lead sounds like a spoiled princess 3 stars
11/20/10 mr.mike More like "The Postman" than "Mad Max". 3 stars
9/22/10 The Stick that Slaps Very good movie. 5 stars
9/06/10 millersxing walking in the valley of the shadow of death...gripping 5 stars
8/30/10 daveyt less bleak than 'the road' but very similar. Enjoyable though 4 stars
6/19/10 action movie fan slow sluggish walking through futuristic ruins-little stoyr 2 stars
6/18/10 othree Oldman no Dracula, Eli was blind? wth ...right... 2 stars
6/17/10 gc Plot keeps you involved throughout, great ending, overall a very original film 5 stars
2/04/10 DEMISLITELMUS GReat movie 5 star! dont care what anyone says 5 stars
1/30/10 Man Out 6 Bucks Sequel Ezekiel 4:12 Eat shit, drink piss or burn in hell 1 stars
1/30/10 damalc "Minus one * for the cat violence," but 40 dead people is ok? 4 stars
1/26/10 John Foster This film is absolute trip. Wish i didn't bother. 1 stars
1/22/10 Ming Denzel did a good job as Eli..The plot is kind of week 3 stars
1/18/10 Jeff Wilder Denzel's good, cinematography good, plot twists a little too much. 4 stars
1/18/10 KingNeutron Minus one * for the cat violence, otherwise a fairly strong movie - good to see Denzel 3 stars
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  15-Jan-2010 (R)
  DVD: 15-Jun-2010

  15-Jan-2010 (15)

  15-Apr-2010 (MA)
  DVD: 15-Jun-2010

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