“You’re supposed to get so caught up in the struggle between good and evil while watching The Book of Eli (Warner Bros., 1.15),” writes Marshall Fine. “But the evil is pretty generic in this film, and the good is pretty bland as well. And the supposed mind-blowing revelations left my mind distinctly unblown.
Directed by the Hughes brothers and starring Denzel Washington, the film “has the washed-out look that’s all the rage for dystopian fantasies these days. Apparently, one of the first victims of nuclear war is color.
“There are huge continuity flaws and gaps of logic in the script. At one point early in the film, Eli takes on a gang of killers and dispatches them all with his scimitar, leaving alive only their female decoy, who’s dressed as Madonna circa Desperately Seeking Susan. An hour or so later, Eli’s newly acquired sidekick, played by Mila Kunis, walks into a trap that appears to involve the same woman and two of the killers Eli so easily filleted in the earlier scene.
“I could be wrong, of course. Most of the male characters in this film are dressed so much alike that they apparently bought their clothes off-the-rack at the same Grunge Bikerworld outlet. Except, of course, for Denzel’s Eli, who has an endless supply of clean T-shirts and sweatshirts.
“But the other leaps this film takes seem almost random, the kind of revelations that are supposed to make you go, ‘Oh, wow’ but really just force you to say, ‘Wait a minute.’
“At one point, it is revealed that Eli has, in fact, been walking west for 30 years — but, again, there’s no back story offered to explain why it’s taken him so long. (It’s roughly 3,000 miles coast to coast, so if you walked 10 miles a day…) It’s one of those mysteries you’re supposed to swallow whole, like the way it takes Amy Adams three days to traverse Ireland in Leap Year.”