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The Book of Eli

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Allen and Albert Hughes' fourth film, The Book of Eli, centers on the Christianity that was at the margins of their previous films (Dead Presidents, Menace II Society). As in The Road, The End has terminally desaturated the world's palette. Only a few tattered product placements have managed to survive.  On the road, Denzel Washington's Eli has become an expert at using his wickedly quick machete arm to ward off roving bands of highwaymen from his precious cargo: the last copy of the Bible. The other copies have been destroyed as taboo because religious conflict inspired the nuclear holocaust. That's not impossible to believe, though it taxes credulity that a fragmented society unable to dig freshwater wells has managed to destroy every other copy of the most ubiquitous book in the Western world. Eventually, Eli strolls into a saloon owned by Gary Oldman, a repopulated ghost town's corroded, lizardlike first citizen, who is interested in resurrecting lost forms of mass mind control. It's with cynical messianic intent that he has been scouring the countryside for a Good Book, which sets up a showdown with true-believer Eli. It remains to be seen how the clergy will receive this gory simony. The Book of Eli's plastic parable isn't much more advanced than Insane Clown Posse theology. And our hero is mostly an Old Testament smiter of the wicked, finally.

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