eli.jpgThe words on this promo poster say it all!

Proving that there are plenty of bad film ideas to go around, Denzel Washington hacks his way through post-apocalyptic America armed only with a machete, four or five semi-automatic weapons and a big, sacred book that is somehow going to salvage what remains of Mankind.

The Book of Eli, co-produced by Washington and “directed” by two guys billed as “The Hughes Brothers,” answers the burning question: “What ever happened to Jennifer ‘Fame’ Beals?” Well she turns up at the kept woman of Gary Oldman (who is so severely tic-ridden as to erase all memory of his former cinematic brilliance). Oldman is the honcho of a frontier town that resembles a cross between the cast party of Road Warrior and a Hells Angels convention.

Packs of very dirty men dressed in leather roam what’s left of the world after a nuclear something has destroyed civilization. These bad men rob, rape, pillage, steal and then laugh about it, before returning to Oldman and giving him their ill-gotten gains in exchange for his protection.

But what Oldman really wants is – oh, but you’re already ahead of me, aren’t you?

The book of Eli, of course.  Before the obvious finale (I won’t even dignify the last moments of the film with the word “climax), we watch Denzel dismember dozens of bad guys, recite a few badly-written lines of dialogue, and then trudge toward the west coast followed by bad guys and accompanied by an eager young woman who represents Generation Tweet.

For the life of me I cannot understand why the Academy Award-winner made this film. Love or money is all I can figure. It can’t hold a candle to The Road which it blatantly parallels. Nor does the desaturated sepia tone of the cinematography make up for utter lack of intrigue.

Let me say again, Oldman is less an actor here than a writhing cry for attention. Without any actual plot or direction, he was just turned loose to reprise his greatest over-the-top moments as a screen villain. Truly pathetic.

Send the price of the ticket to Haiti instead!