Body, The

sleeping dog

PG13
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Olivia Williams, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel
Director: Jonas McCord
Writer: Jonas McCord – based on the novel by Richard Ben Sapir

Good premise, miserable execution, results in a lousy B-movie. The best thing about it is a fully committed Antonio Banderas as a Roman Catholic priest caught up in an archaeological thriller set in Israel.

Is the ancient skeleton bearing crucifixion markings and found in a cave as described by the Bible recounting the death of Jesus Christ really Christ’s bones or someone else’s. And if they really are Christ’s, what does that do to Catholicism’s belief in the resurrection? Well for one thing, it frightens the bejesus out of the Vatican and sends everyone else scurrying to find the truth and manipulate it for their own agenda.

Banderas plays Father Matt Gutierrez whom the Vatican sends to investigate with the proviso that he disprove any relation to Christ. Ah, the Catholic Church, always so open-minded. First on the scene, however, is archeologist Sharon Golban (Olivia Williams) who is convinced that her find is the real thing. Her character is an absurd creation. She’s a hot-headed idiot who likes to drive her jeep 100 mph while doing everything but watching the road. She’s a fanatic for security at the cave site but nonchalantly sends all the security guards away then bitches when things get stolen. She tries to light a cigarette in a laboratory doing crucial carbon testing of artifacts. Does this woman have any brains at all?

During their investigation, Gutierrez and Golban fight orthodox Jews, rampaging Palestinians and an oblivious police chief. The holy war heats up; there’s a kidnapping thrown in and we get a bunch of stupid shootouts and explosions while having to stomach dumb security guards looking foolish as they talk into their lapels.

Lotta says: The Body needs a head with brains.

Reviewed 7/10/01