“Left Behind” should have been left behind.
This execrable reboot of the film series — no critical darling itself — is based on the bestselling, faith-based novels. It’s a shoo-in to clean up at the next Razzie Awards.
The movie also has the distinction of featuring perhaps the worst big-screen performance by an Academy Award winner: Nicolas Cage. To say he sleepwalks through this one would be an insult to sleepwalkers.
“Left Behind” is also an insult to anyone hoping for any sort of credible theological discussion. The film’s religious elements are shoehorned in and woefully tossed off. Worse, it’s hard to fathom where director Vic Armstrong and screenwriters Paul Lalonde and John Patus stand — if anywhere — on spiritual matters.
Reinvented as a quasi-disaster movie, the hackneyed plot finds Cage as Rayford Steele, a shifty airline pilot flying from New York to London when the Rapture hits. The children on the plane and several crew members suddenly disappear, leaving behind only their clothes. Spooky.
Those remaining, including a laughably motley group of first-class passengers and a sexy flight attendant (Nicky Whelan), all go a tad nuts. Only an investigative journalist (Chad Michael Murray) stays calm because, y’know, that’s what those guys do.
Much of the ensuing action takes place in the air as Steele must land the plane amid myriad fakey obstacles. He breaks seemingly every other rule in the aviation handbook.
Meanwhile, on the ground, Steele’s born-again Christian wife (Lea Thompson) and nerdy young son (Major Dodson) have vanished, leaving his college-age daughter (Cassi Thomson) to navigate an emptied-out New York. Note: When the Rapture occurs, cell service will be really spotty.
Cheesy visual effects, flat shooting, slack directing and pacing, risible dialogue and characterization, lots of crummy acting, plus a painfully dull first act make this anything but a rapturous experience.
“Left Behind.” MPAA rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, violence, peril, brief drug content. Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes. In general release.