October 12, 2014
Just recently, I saw a film called "The Remaining" which was an overtly Christian film about the Biblical Rapture done in horror story style, complete with barely seen black beings swooping down to literally grab people off the streets. I did not expect to see another film about this Rapture so soon after that first one.
"Left Behind" is about the Steele family. Mother Irene becomes very deeply religious and active in church in recent years. Unfortunately, this caused spirited daughter Chloe, as well as her pilot husband Ray, to drift apart from her. When Chloe comes home to surprise her father for his birthday, he was called to fly a plane from New York to London, among his other ulterior motives. That same day, a distressing event occurs where millions of people simultaneously suddenly disappear, leaving their clothes and things behind. Those people left behind scramble to make sense of what happens, as Ray struggles to land his damaged plane safely back to New York.
Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage once again majorly disappoints with his hammy and florid performance in this film as Ray here. He had a moment in the end where some genuine emotion came through, but it felt too late and too brief. It was good to see '80s sweetheart Lea Thompson back on the big screen again as Irene, but she was barely there. Cassi Thompson did her best to carry the film on the ground as Chloe, but her efforts were negated by the lines she was made to say and the stunts she was made to do.
When the passengers were boarding the plane, I felt like I was watching a cheesy episode of the "Love Boat". Of course, there was going to be a sexy and flirtatious stewardess Hattie (Nicki Whelan). There was a hotshot TV journalist Buck Williams (so this is what Chad Michael Murray is up to nowadays), a Moslem guy, an angry midget guy, a sleazy businessman, a nerdy Asian (!) conspiracy theorist, a nervous drug addict lady, an even more nervous gun-toting mother (Why did you accept this role, Jordin Sparks?). I guess you can see the chaotic over-the-top acting circus.
In fact, this whole film had an 70s-80s TV movie look and feel about it. Even the opening credits looked from that era. If "The Remaining" had a horror approach to depicting the Rapture, "Left Behind" played like a bad B-action film, down to its fiery, explosive, down-the-wire, narrow-escape type finale.
The Christian agenda was obvious from the start, and I did not mind that. In fact, I was looking forward to seeing how they would tie it into the story. However, even as a Christian film, I felt this film did not do its job well at all. Oddly, it made Christians appear unnaturally nutty or weird. Worst of all, its evangelical message was lost in the confusion and the cheese. 2/10.