Vic Armstrong is a name that, I believe should be a household one by now. He, for the uninitiated, is an award-winning stuntman who has stood in for such legends as Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movie, Christopher Reeve in the first two Superman , George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and, uh, Timothy Dalton in his supporting role in Flash Gordon.
What you are likely less than aware of is that Armstrong has also directed a couple of movies. One was released way back in 1993, a little-know, probably terrible Dolph Lundgren movie named Joshua Tree. His second movie was released in 2014, and was a reboot of a series of movies based on a bunch of faith-based novels known as the Left Behind series. Does the legendary stuntman’s success translate into directorial gold?
Well, you could watch the movie and find out! Or, preferably, you could snort a metric ton of anthrax. At least the latter guarantees that you never have to think about this movie ever again.
Directed by: Vic Armstrong
Produced by: Michael Walker, Paul LaLonde
Written by: Paul LaLonde, John Patus
Genre: Disaster (How appropriate)
Based on: Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Chad Michael Murray, Cassi Thomson, Nicky Whelan, Jordin Sparks
Music by: Jack Lenz
Plot: Nicolas Cage plays a pilot who is being unfaithful to his wife, who he, along with his daughter (Cassi Thomson) has been growing apart from after her conversion to Christianity. One day, while Cage is piloting the plane with a motley crew of passengers, as his daughter hangs out with her mom, a sudden event occurs in which people all over the world, including Nicolas Cage’s wife, vanish into thin air. As Cage attempts to safely land a plane full of super confused people , his daughter runs around the city screaming for her mom and brother. Enthralling entertainment, isn’t it?
Now, I’m going to be upfront: I am not a religious person. I don’t think I ever bought into religion, even as a kid (I was more into worshiping Spider-Man and Pokemon), and no form of religion has done even a passable job of swaying me to their side. However, i also believe that personal beliefs should be set aside when objectively reviewing movies, so, after setting aside my atheism, I watched this movie, and what did I think?
This movie is the cinematic equivalent of a dumpster fire.
I like to start these reviews with something positive, however miniscule it may be (Unintentional hilarity doesn’t really count). To date, the only movie that I haven’t been able to find anything positive in was Movie 43. It may have company. The only thing that I can think of in this movie that isn’t totally awful is the fact that at one point, after what seems like years, it ends. Hell, even Movie 43 looks like it has the production value of a bona fide movie, even if it was put to the worst use possible. This movie is not only terrible, it looks terrible. Somehow, a movie with a budget of sixteen million dollars ended up looking worse than a goddamn Hallmark movie. The direction is terribly bland, and the cinematography is incredibly dull and unpleasant to look at. The soundtrack is one of the laziest I’ve ever heard (Imagine a stripped-down instrumental adult pop rock song. Now quarter its already nonexistent quality) and the special effects are just plain bad.
So, aesthetically, Left Behind is nothing to be proud of. How about the writing. Surely, the writers were invested in at least injecting some semblance of a solid plot into their Evangelical propaganda (Which this movie very openly is, by the way. The original book was written by Reverend Tim LaHaye, for fuck’s sake.)?
Surprise!!! The writing in this movie makes George Lucas’s love scenes look like something Quentin Tarantino might’ve written. The dialogue is unlistenably awkward and clumsy, and the characters are all unimaginative stereotypes. Nicolas Cage is the good-hearted heathen. His daughter is the atheist who is angry at the world and just needed a push in the right direction. Chad Michael Murray is the jaded, worldly journalist who has seen too much (Fun fact: That character was played by Kirk Cameron in the original Left Behind movie. Go figure). And if you think that the main characters are the worst part of the movie… Well, they are, but the supporting characters (AKA The heretics on board the airplane) are awful too. Off the top of my head, I can name “Little Person With a Napoleon Complex”, “Greedy, Capitalistic Texan” and “Drug-Addled Basket Case”. The Transformers franchise has better characters than this movie, and those movies have a presumably drug addled John Turturro, annoying stoner parents, a pedophilie that we’re supposed to root for and racist robots.
Terribly conceived characters are one thing, but if the actors at least deliver, it could at least make up for the shortcomings in the writing. Unfortunately, nobody delivers. The supporting actors bring absolutely nothing to the table. Chad Michael Murray (Of One Tree Hill and A Madea Christmas “fame”) is boring and brings nothing to the character. Cassi Thomson is fucking annoying. Her brother literally vanishes into midair and she spends literally half the movie looking for him, screaming “RAYMIE!!!!!!!” the entire fucking time. The only hope this movie had was Nicolas Cage, and all the batshit insanity that comes with him. And what does he do? Scream about nonsense? Light himself on fire? Do an awesome Adam West impression?
No. Nothing. He is SO. FUCKING. BORING, you guys. He clearly has absolutely no desire to be in this movie (Imagine that, a bad movie Nic Cage doesn’t want to be him), more or less sleepwalking through the whole movie.
Also, the movie is not only terrible, it’s fucking insulting. Specifically, the minute, the fucking MINUTE that all the super-devout Christians were raptured, society absolutely collapses. Because god forbid that society is left with a bunch of liberal Christians, atheists, and people of different faiths. It’s not like people of mostly non-devout backgrounds have ever made an advanced civilization for themselves. It’s not like Japan exists, or something.
If this movie was really trying to say that society would immediately devolve into chaos if devout Christians were taken out of the picture, and not even try to make something entertaining out of it, well then, fuck this movie. Fuck it. Nobody involved in this movie is worthy of your respect. Nicolas Cage has tarnished any good thing (Or so bad it’s good thing) that he’s ever done. I can never watch the Indiana Jones trilogy again without thinking “Oh, that stuntman directed Left Behind.”
You’ve done it Left Behind. You are actually the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Worse than The Room. Worse than The Last Airbender. Worse than Movie 43, even. Hell, it’s so bad, it has broken my beloved review scale.
Dear god people, do not support this movie. Just don’t.
Overall: I hope every copy of this movie, online or otherwise, spontaneously combusts.