Moria calls it "awkward" and says it suffers from an identity crisis. Wired.com at least has a spoiler alert and calls it "a deft, dire addition to Hollywood’s weirdly vibrant “Earth is dying” genre." SF Gate describes it as "a dynamic story, sprinkled with some interesting ideas about the preciousness of culture and how societies might rebuild themselves" and praises Oldman and Washington. The Christian Science Monitor describes it as "like a video-game mash-up of American and spaghetti westerns and Japanese samurai flicks" and gives it a B-. EW doesn't like it, giving it a D and calling it "a ponderous dystopian bummer". Roger Ebert starts off with this:
I'm at a loss for words, so let me say these right away: "The Book of Eli" is very watchable. You won't be sorry you went. It grips your attention, and then at the end throws in several WTF! Moments, which are a bonus.Rotten Tomatoes gives it 48%.