If you keep a copy of The Passion in your video collection, you get different reactions from baby boomers.
One time it went like this:
“This was a movie, first of all, not a church service, and needs to be considered in the arena of movies and not religious experience.
With that in mind, The Passion reminded me of the old movies with Jason and the Argonauts, the ones with the freaky skeletons popping up with swords to attack invaders.
“The Passion has legendary elements of the supernatural but most everything is overshadowed by the sheer volume of butt kicking delivered on Jesus.
“Take all the Rocky fights, the Rambo tortures, the Indiana Jones freeze, Spartacus nailed to a cross, Russell Crowe’s family getting burned in Gladiator, every war movie and holocaust movie, take all the butt kicking from all movies and that’s what you see in The Passion.
“It’s the ultimate beat down by drunken Romans.
“It is a party to the Romans, a day at the office with an extra quart of booze to keep the mood going. Caning, whipping, stoning, punching, kicking, stabbing, hammering, biting, pecking, spitting, The Passion has it all.
“The actor playing Jesus was a big guy, big arms and legs shredded to ribbons by a cat o’ nine tails with spiked ends that rips him up.
“The Romans knew their business to the point where you have to think Jesus was a routine beating. The special instructions from the boss were to give it to him but keep him alive. They pounded him with implements until he collapsed, then rolled him over to get the other side.
“Very thorough. Very bad to the bone.
“Then he carries a huge hard wood cross through town and up a hill. The other two guys with him just had to carry their transom, but Jesus had to pack the whole rig after the pounding. This was one tough guy.
“All through the streets he gets attacked and hit with rocks and keeps going. He falls over and the cross lands on him and he gets up. This all happens after he is captured and endures a forced bungee jump where he is tossed off a bridge with chains instead of elastic and snaps to a stop instead of bouncing back up.
“Things go from bad to worse for J even when he gets to the top of the hill. The Romans are still drunk on their twelve hour binge and they screw up the installation so not only does Jesus get pegged, he’s off center and has to be stretched to the point of a bone snapping arm pull.
“They couldn’t just put the cross in a hole and call it good either. Oh, no. They have to flop it over and bend the nail points over so they wouldn’t pull out, which racks J again.
“In the end I’m thinking about Mel’s road warrior movies and how beat up everyone in those got, and the movies of a German guy named Herzog who whips his actors pretty bad.
“But nothing compares to The Passion.
“I give it five strands of gold barbed wire, the ultimate whip movie award. It tops Mandingo, the whippingest movie up to this point where men and women got the belt and paddle, one guy while hanging upside down.
“The Passion is the all time champion of whip movies, and so much more.”