Simply put, The Book of Eli is just not very good. The general idea of the movie actually lends itself to the possibility of a pretty cool film. It tells the story of a man (Denzel Washington's Eli) traveling west through post-acopalyptic America, and he carries with him the last Bible in existence. The world has been scorched by the sun due to holes in our atmosphere. Water is scarce, and simple things like chap stick and wet naps are incredibly valuable. As the man travels, he encounters roaming bands of thugs but is able to easily dispatch them because he's basically the baddest mother still living. He eventually comes across a makeshift town (led by Gary Oldman's Carnegie) where he ends up fighting with the locals to protect his Bible and picks up a girl (Mila Kunis) to journey with him and run from the rest of the locals who will stop at nothing to get the book.
You might hear that and think, "Hey. That could be a pretty cool movie." I did (even though most critics had bashed it). And I guess a couple of the fight scenes were pretty cool. But, other than that, the final product is very flawed in many areas. I won't go into a lengthy review of this one because there really isn't that much to say. To start with, the Hughes brothers (directors of the movie) really need to take their foot off the slow-motion-intro-gas-pedal. Within about ten to fifteen minutes of the movie, Denzel had already made about four or five slow motion entrances. And they continued to the point where it actually became annoying. The dialogue was pretty dull and lacked any real creativity or wit. I can actually only think of one conversation in the entire movie (between Denzel and a shopkeeper pretty early on in the film) that made me chuckle or smile at all.
Gary Oldman, an actor I generally like, was not a very good villain. One of the few people alive who can still read, his obsession with obtaining the Bible to help his people seemed very odd considering his character basically stood for everything the Bible preaches against. Mila Kunis was just alright. And Denzel was only average at best. Nobody in the movie really stood out as giving a great performance. You won't find yourself invested in any of the characters. And, by the end, the movie feels as if it has dragged on for about fifteen or twenty minutes too long. The ending, by the way, has a pretty hilariously absurd twist to it. You may find it shocking and cool, but you'll probably just think it's stupid.
Bottom line: I've definitely seen worse movies, but I still can't recommend that anyone go see this. (D+)
Here's the trailer: