Last year, Seth Rogen and friends offered moviegoers a comedic spin on the premise of the End of Days/Rapture with This Is the End, while this summer Damon Lindelof – of Lost and Prometheus fame/infamy – is creating a more dramatic variation on the concept, with his HBO TV series The Leftovers. Next in line in the suddenly-popular Rapture sub-genre? Left Behind, the upcoming movie that stars Oscar-winner (don’t forget that) Nicolas Cage, as a man struggling to make his way in a world that has descended into chaos, following the sudden disappearance of millions of people around the world.
Left Behind, as it were, is actually a reboot of the Left Behind film trilogy, a Christian based movie series that got started in 2000 and starred Kirk Cameron; the latter went on to headline all three chapters in the original Left Behind movie saga.
This newer, shinier, take on the same concept was directed by Vic Armstrong: a stunt coordinator with nearly fifty years of experience, who was a stunt performer/double in a handful of 1960s/70s-era James Bond films (among other ’60s/early ’70s titles) – before serving as stunt coordinator on Superman: The Movie, Conan the Destroyer, Starship Troopers, I Am Legend, Thor, and many, many more pop genre movies. Screenwriters on the Cage reboot include Paul Lalonde and John Patus (both writers on the original Left Behind trilogy), drawing again from the book series written by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye.
Ignoring the history behind the Left Behind brand, this new cinematic installment – based on the teaser trailer – pretty much looks to be your average glorified direct-to-video, Nicolas Cage B-movie thriller, complete with either B/C-list supporting cast members and/or actors who are normally background players (Chad Michael Murray, Lea Thompson, Nicky Whalen, etc.). It’s a shame, too, since earlier this year Cage once again reminded everyone that he can deliver good performances, with his turn as the eponymous character in the indie drama Joe.
Whether or not Cage really qualifies as a “good actor” and why he works on so many films drawn from highly questionable script material (besides $$$, that is), is a debate that rages on. We’re going to bet that Left Behind won’t be changing the direction of that conversation, either.
Left Behind opens in U.S. theaters on October 3rd, 2014.