Thursday, October 2, 2014

Left Behind

Releases October 3rd, 2014
1 hr 45 mins
Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy


Director: Vic Armstrong


Nicolas Cage as Rayford Steele
Chad Michael Murray as Cameron "Buck" Williams
Cassi Thomson as Chloe Steele
Lea Thompson as Irene Steele
Jordin Sparks as Shasta Carvell
Nicky Whelan as Hattie Durham
Lance E. Nichols as Bruce Barnes
William Ragsdale as Chris Smith
Martin Klebba as Melvin Weir
Quinton Aaron as Simon
Judd Lormand as Jim

Lolo Jones as Lori

Review by Stephen M.

Nicholas Cage plays the unfaithful (in several ways) pilot Rayford Steele in the remake of Left Behind that is based on the bestselling novel.  Despite being a pre-apocalyptic film, one would have hoped for more death and destruction.  But instead the emphasis is on the variety of individuals "left behind" as they cope with understanding just what is going as their plane travels across the Atlantic Ocean.  Rayford and his daughter Chloe (Cassi Thomson) finally realize what their "wacko" mom has been trying to tell them all along.  That the end days are here.

I have never watched the earlier films with Kirk Cameron or read the books, but the film was more or less what I expected.  As with these type of films, the anticipation for something to happen, which in this case being the Rapture, takes awhile to come along as they build up the characters in the film.  They, more or less, paint those who believe in Christ as loons, until that point in the film where if they were still on Earth they could say "see!"  As far as following what's in the actual book being the Bible, the movie takes certain liberties.  For example, in the movie all children and babies are raptured.

Regarding the acting, I enjoyed the performances by each of the actors, especially the three main leads, Nicholas Cage, Chad Michael Murray and Cassi Thomson.  Nicholas's performance is such a huge improvement over his last direct to video film "Rage."  Chad Michael Murray plays a famous investigative journalist, Buck, who happens to run into Chloe and clicks with her and then board the flight that Rayford happens to be flying.  I particularly enjoyed his scene where he tries to calm down Jordin Sparks as Shasta Carvell, whose child has disappeared during the Rapture.

Overall, I would wait for this on Netflix or if you must watch, catch it as a matinee.  While I enjoy the acting, there is just not enough action to grab the mainstream audience.  The lack of destruction that you would expect from a million or so people missing from Earth is sorely lacking.  The film doesn't try to be overly preachy which is good, but hurts itself in having too simplistic of a plot that is lacking real substance.  Trying to include all walks of life as being "left behind" is a bit too obvious with a dwarf (Martin Klebba) as comic relief and a pastor (Lance E. Nichols).  Despite all this, I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to this just to see Nicholas Cage back in action again.


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