Movie Review: The Final Inquiry (aka The Inquiry)

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Well, now here’s a cast to write home about:

Dolph Lundgren!

Max von Sydow!

Penelope Cruz’ sister Mónica Cruz!

Max von Sydow’s wife’s son Cedric Brelet von Sydow (who just stole his stepfathers name to make a career)!

…And F. Murray Abraham. And besides this, the score is composed by Ennio Morricone’s son; Andrea Morricone!So, what is this?

The Inquiry turns out to be a big budget, Italian drama about Christ; behind it are among others RAI in co-operation with the American B-movie company NU Image.Von Sydow – the real one – plays emperor Tiberius, who spends most of the time in bed. He’s heard rumors of a new, powerful leader in Judea; a guy who just must be Jesus – whom Tiberius had crucified and killed several years before. How the hell did he return from the dead? Magic? So Tiberius sends his best soldier Tito Valerius Tauros (Daniele Liotti) to Judea to find Jesus.

Just before he gets his mission, Taurus has been battling some German barbarians who were hanging out in some tree-tops, and Taurus captured the giant barbarian Brixos (Dolph), who becomes Taurus’ sidekick and mainly says “Yes, master”.

In Judea, Taurus meets a pop-tart called Tabitha (Cruz, who’s prettier and has a smaller nose than her sister) and for some reason, they fall in love. Tabitha’s dad, F. Murray Abraham, is an evil guy and in the beginning, he orders a woman stoned to death, a scene that made me laugh, even if it wasn’t supposed to. I was of course waiting for somebody to yell “Who said Jehovah?”.

More evil guys show up every now and then, so Brixos gets to wield his big battle axe, but the fights are rather badly staged and choreographed. Jesus himself has disappeared, but his followers are still there and Taurus suddenly turns religious and joins the Christians, after Brixos gets himself killed by a shitload of arrows, Tabitha’s been resurrected from the dead and Tiberius murdered by Caligula (Yes! My favorite Roman emperor is in the movie!).

Dolph is good as a gigantic barbarian, he was born for the part. But otherwise, The Inquiry is pretty lame. It’s way too uneven and moves with a limp. And most of the actors in this Euro pudding are dubbed into English. Since I don’t know what he looks like, I couldn’t find the younger von Sydow, but apparently he plays “The informer”.

In a flashback, we get to see the Roman soldier who shoves a spear into Jesus. Wait a second! We who know our pop culture history, know that that soldier was Casca – the hero of Barry Sadler’s pulp novels – who’s punishment for holding the spear was becoming immortal and experience every war on Earth.

The Inquiry was originally a two part mini-series for TV, lasting 100 minutes per episodes. This theatrical version is edited down to 107 minutes, which explains several painfully strange jumps in the story.

Well, well. Fun cast, shame about the movie.

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