Fox Home Entertainment presents
The Final Inquiry (2006)
“So he’s alive, but in heaven. Very convenient.”- Taurus (Daniele Liotti)
Stars: Dolph Lundgren
Other Stars: Daniele Liotti, Monica Cruz, Max Von Sydow, F. Murray Abraham
Director: Giulio Base
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (violence)
Run Time: 01h:51m:16s
Release Date: 2008-02-19
DVD ReviewIn this season leading up to Easter, there are plenty of biblical epics competing for our DVD dollars. Until now, the top Bible comedy was Monty Python's Life of Brian. I give you the newest addition to the Biblical comedy canon, 2006's The Final Inquiry. There's a catch, though: this is meant to be a serious epic, when in reality it's full of more unintentional belly laughs then any recent "bad movie" out there. Plus, The Final Inquiry has one thing going for it that has to have all of the Pythons green with envy: He-Man, himself, Dolph Lundgren.
It's been three years since the death and resurrection of Jesus, but it still haunts the emperor Tiberius (Max von Sydow). To investigate the suspicious mysteries surrounding this event, Tiberius sends Taurus (Daniele Liotti) to find Christ's corpse. Along for the journey is a Nordic slave named Brixos (Dolph Lundgren), who serves as Taurus' protector, as an alleged cover-up is apparently underway, and there are those who will use any means necessary to stop this investigation. In between fact-finding and battling numerous enemies, this duo meets Tabitha (Monica Cruz), and it isn't long before she's in love with the Roman investigator, despite her overly angry father (F. Murray Abraham).
If there is one thing to be gained from enduring these 111 minutes of junk it's in discovering the origin of the phrase "laughingly bad." There's really no other way to describe this as, from beginning to end, there's no way it can be taken seriously. Pay close attention to the first battle sequence and you'll notice the swords are made out of rubber at best. I'm sure many films use similar props, but the filmmakers at least go to the trouble of creating the illusion that they are actual deadly. That's not the case here, as there seems to be no concern that every weapon here looks like it was stolen from the Saturday Night Live prop room.
The performers do pedestrian work as well, even though two of them are considered cinema legends. F. Murray Abraham is an Oscar-winner, which makes his extreme over-acting a sad spectacle to behold. The great Max Von Sydow still shows up in films from time to time, but his presence here just screams desperation. There's really no other explanation for why an actor of his caliber would choose to be a part of such a poorly made film, despite the religious message it's apparently trying to convey. We get what we expect from Lundgren, which is basically nothing as he hulks around just trying to look tough and burly, when what he's really doing is making us long for his days as Ivan Drago.
Thanks to this ridiculous and painful overacting, and the horrendous direction, this is a camp classic in the making. There's a fine line between unwatchable and the stuff that midnight screenings and drinking games are made of, and this endeavor is more than likely to fall in the realm of the latter distinction. The unintentional laughs begin when Taurus meets Brixos. You'll see for yourself, but the extended sequence of longing glances between the two bring about sexual undertones that can't possibly be intended to co-exist with the heavy-handed Christian undertones. This is laugh-out-loud stuff, and we don't need any pathetic dialogue this time out.
Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D+
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation looks good, but not great, with detailed images at times. Unfortunately, some softness makes such image clarity inconsistent, and the color scheme isn't as vivid as expected from such a recent project. Some grain and dirt rear their ugly heads on multiple occasions, but those are the only real print flaws to speak of.
Image Transfer Grade: C+
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is impressive at times, with liberal surround usage during the battle sequences. The dialogue is adequately crisp and clean, but there are some issues when it comes to the obvious dubbing of the foreign-speaking actors. The volume of this dubbing fluctuates erratically, and is often disproportionate to the actual location of the actors supposedly saying the lines.
Audio Transfer Grade: C
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Amazing Grace, Music Within, Thr3e
Packaging: Keep Case
Extras Review: The only extras are trailers for other Fox Home Video releases.
Extras Grade: D-
Final CommentsHoping to ride on its religious message, The Final Inquiry is a total mess of a biblical epic. While the movie is supposed to be taken seriously and generate some faith-based conversation during Lent, it does a better job making us laugh uncontrollably. Fox’s DVD is far from special, as the audio and video is average and there are no extras to speak of.
Chuck Aliaga 2008-02-19