Three weeks ago I reviewed the first of the Left Behind series. As promised,, this is the other one I found streaming on Amazon Prime Video. It’s Left Behind: World at War, also based on the Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins novels. Details are from Wikipedia. Here is the cast.
- Louis Gossett Jr.: President Gerald Fitzhugh
- Kirk Cameron: Buck Williams
- Brad Johnson: Rayford Steele
- Jessica Steen: Carolyn Miller
- Gordon Currie: Nicolae Carpathia
- Janaya Stephens: Chloe Steele
- Chelsea Noble: Hattie Durham
- Arnold Pinnock: Bruce Barnes
- Charles Martin Smith: Vice President John Mallory
- David Eisner: Chief of Staff Allan Campbell
- Richard Fitzpatrick: Major Kent
This is the third of the movies based on the LaHaye and Jenkins books, and apparently the last. Sorry, but I don’t have number two to review. Just so you are sure what you’re watching:
The plot rolls. We see trucks entering a restricted area. We know it’s a restricted area, because the sign on the gate says “Restricted Area By Order Of The Global Community.” Casual viewers may not get the significance of that wording, but the word combination “Global Community” has a lot of meaning to the intended audience—right wing Christian evangelicals. My impression is these people lean deeply toward nationalistic, and any reference to “global” is anathema.
Hooded figures load boxes into the trucks. Then security forces approach. There is gunfire. One member of the intruders goes down, and the others jump into the trucks and flee. The woman cries out they can’t just leave him. The driver says it’s more important they get the bibles out. People are dying to steal truckloads of bibles. This is the mindset of the intended audience.
A gunman points his pistol at the head of the wounded man on the ground. He demands, “Last chance. Who do you work for?” The wounded man gasps out his final declaration of defiance: “God Almighty.” That’s the wrong answer. The gunman fires into the wounded man’s head.
More gunfire. The scene switches immediately to the president and vice president shooting targets at a lake. They discuss the world situation.
Leaving the outing, the presidential caravan is attacked by a militia group with RPGs and automatic weapons. The vice president is killed. Then two young people wearing ski masks ride up on dirt bikes and open up on the militia with their own weapons, wiping them out. One of the shooters, a girl, assures the president that the VP was a good man.
In the first movie we saw all true believers in Jesus Christ disappearing in an instant as Jesus called them home to his arms. Among those not called (backsliders all) were airline pilot Rayford Steele, his daughter Chloe, ace reporter Buck Williams, and apparently this other woman in the image below. Since Mr. Steele is now without a wife, he is here taking a new one, and young Buck is taking Chloe as his bride. At a Christian marriage ceremony they all affirm their dedication to their lord and savior Jesus Christ. This is aimed right at the heart of evangelical Christians.
We see again Nicolae Carpathia, installed in the first movie as leader of the Global Community. He is clean-cut and charming, reminding today’s viewers of presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner. He is evil personified.
A government agent alerts the president, and together they set off in the night on a mission. Yes, I said it. The President of the United States and a woman agent leave the White House on their own without the Secret Service, and they infiltrate a secret lab where bibles are being doused with a deadly virus.
The president whips out his binoculars and gets a closer look. Shortly after, he engages in a gunfight as agents of the underground militia come hunting the pair.
Lots of stuff happens, which I will not detail. Things come to a crux as President Fitzhugh decides it’s up to him to eliminate Carpathia. He goes to a meeting, smuggling a ceramic gun that gets past the metal detectors. To no avail. He empties the magazine into Carpathia, but it has no effect. Carpathia is, as I have said, the embodiment of evil. Carpathia turns the tables, and the president’s on hands begin to strangle him. Then an unseen force expels him backward through a window, and he falls far below, landing on the roof of a parked car. He survives. Jesus is taking notice, apparently.
But the infected bibles are having their effect. In the Christian underground people are dying, including Chloe and the pastor who performed the wedding ceremony. Steele and his new wife pass around a cup of ceremonial red wine, and that does the trick. Red wine is the cure for the virus.
Glory to Jesus and the Lord on High, because now I am a true believer. Anybody who can convince me that drinking red wine will save my life, I will follow them to the gates of Hell.
But the president must wipe out the control center of the plotters who are about to launch a strike to kill millions. He once again goes to confront Carpathia, this time with a locater to make the meeting place the first target. A satellite swivels around and prepares to launch.
At the last instant Carpathia glances out the window and sees the incoming missile. The command center is obliterated, but Carpathia walks out unscathed. He is evil personified.
And that is the end of the movie.
All right, let’s get past the major choking points and highlight some technical flaws. The presidential caravan is attacked by militants firing RPGs. We see cars blown into the air. No. An RPG warhead does not contain enough explosive charge to flip a car, let alone an armored Secret Service car.
We see the Bible as the salvation of so many. It is the true book that will point the way to righteousness and everlasting life. This book.
And a satellite is turned to point to a target on the ground, and apparently it fires a missile. No. That is not the way satellite targeting works. You don’t hoist a missile all the way into space just to fire it back at a target on the ground. Missiles are launched from the ground. And targeting satellites do not have to pivot to locate targets on the ground. In fact, satellites do not do any of the locating. Ask me for details.
Hey! This plot feature of somebody falling from high up onto a parked car is getting a bit over-worked. I don’t know where it was first used, but here are a few places.
Elliot Ness gets tired of mobster Frank Nitti’s shit and shoves him off the roof of a courthouse. Nitti lands on the roof of a taxi in The Untouchables.
New York City cop John McClane kills some of the criminal gang come to rob Nakatomi Tower in Die Hard, and he throws one of the bodies out a window and onto a police patrol car, to get attention.
Hard case Michael Knox disrupts a terror attack on a football game in London and kills a bunch of the bad guys in Final Score. To catch the attention of the authorities he tosses one of the bodies from an upper level onto the roof of a police car.
I cannot wait to see this plot device invoked again in a future movie.