Denzel Washington is typically good, even when the movie is bad. This movie leaves you with not much more than indifference, so I guess its one of his bad ones.
In a post apocalyptic future, Eli (Washington) walks the road, heading west looking for a better place. The future is sepia toned and grim. There are road gangs, cannibalism, water is scarce and the typical feeling that humanity is fading.
Eli is a sword wielding, kung fu fighting, road warrior disciple, who believes his mission is to carry the last copy of a certain book, to a place where it can be used for good.
He’s been walking west across America for 30 years since the war. The guy must be doubling back or something, because it really shouldn’t take 30 years to make that trek.
That peaks the interest of Carnege (Gary Oldman,) the self appointed overlord of a town of survivors. He just happens to be in search of the book in Eli’s possession. He believes the masses will follow the written word, and follow him as their leader. Trouble arises when both boys start fighting over who should be the rightful owner.
Washington is a great actor, but an awkward action hero. You expect him to deliver dialogue with a profound sense of understanding, but you don’t expect him to round house kick his opponent and cut his arm off.
There is a promise of hope, and you get a little twist at the end of the film, but reflecting on it…it didn’t click as a ground shaking reveal. In a way, the story is digestible, but if all there’s left in the word to eat are bald cats….yuck.