From the desk of The Movie Snob
The Final Inquiry (D). I’m a fan of the swords-and-sandals genre, so I was curious when I saw an ad for this movie in the Dallas Morning News. The ad promised that it would be here for only one week, in only one theater, and though it opened on Friday there was no movie review in the paper — or anywhere else that I could find. It wasn’t even listed on Metacritic.com. But the premise sounded promising enough — the aging Roman emperor Tiberius (played by none other than Max von Sydow, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) is curious about the growing cult of Jesus of Nazareth, so he sends a trusted general, Titus, to Jerusalem to investigate. Apparently this is some sort of Italian production being released here by the “Fox Faith” arm of the Fox empire, and although the website bills this as a cross between CSI and Gladiator, it lacks the quality and production values of those programs. In fact, it’s just not very good. Titus’s investigation is hindered at every turn by Pontius Pilate (played Hristo Shopov, the same actor who played Pilate in The Passion of the Christ!), who is in full CYA mode. Titus falls in love with a Jewish Christian named Tabitha (played by Penelope Cruz’s kid sister Monica). Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV) plays Titus’s faithful German slave Brixos. It’s a pious effort, but, as I say, it’s just not very well done.