nstead of talking about "Apocalypse 2:
Revelation", which is a mildly entertaining film at best, let me dabble in
this growing genre called Christian Movies. I will admit that I am by no means
an expert on the subject, but from what I can glean, Christian Movies started
gathering steam in the late '90s, with the "Left
Behind" franchise, and before that, the "Apocalypse" series
(of which "Revelation" is the second part of). You could also add
the list, although it's a completely different movie, storyline-wise.
The one thing all of these films have in common is, of
course, the Bible. "Left Behind" and "Apocalypse" focused on
an "end of the world" scenario that uses the rapture as their central
piece. For those who don't know, the rapture is an event when God takes all the
"believers" to Heaven, and leaves the rest of us to rot on Earth.
Post-rapture, the Anti-Christ is supposed to appear and unite the world under
one banner of peace, but of course he's got sinister motives. The "Left
Behind" movies used the real-life U.N. as the source of evil, while the
"Apocalypse" series used a fictional world organization called O.N.E.
Both franchises had an Anti-Christ figure rising to power
in their respective world organizations, and both had lowly mortals running an
underground resistance while the world is swept up in a sudden rise in violent
anti-Christianity feelings and a Gestapo regime on the prowl for martyrs. Kirk
Cameron headlines "Left
Behind" as the resistance leader, while the
"Apocalypse" movies seem to take another approach. The series uses two
recurring characters, Leigh Lewis as reporter turned resistance leader, and Nick
Mancuso as the Anti-Christ, to host a revolving leading cast that changes with
The two franchises are essentially identical, and in fact
they even share the same writers. Siblings Peter and Paul Lalonde are regular
screenwriters for both franchises, a fact that is made even more awkward because
the franchises are being produced and released simultaneously. As I type this,
"Apocalypse" has released a 4th installment, and "Left
Behind" is working on parts 3 and 4. Of the two series, it's obvious the
folks at "Left Behind" have a more coherent, and better, product.
While the original "Left
Behind" was a bit lacking, "Left
Behind 2" grew by leaps and bounds. The screenplay was more focused,
the characters better examined, and the acting much stronger.
Another trademark of Christian Movies, at least for the
moment, is their relatively small budget. Although I don't know the exact
numbers, I'm willing to bet we're not talking about tens of millions here. A
million, maybe two, would be my best guess, even though I'm inclined to believe
even that guess is a bit much. It's also interesting to note that, for the most
part, Christian Movies have been attacked for being too "preachy".
This seems to be a rather silly complaint, and easily traced back to an inherent
bias against all things Christian. Isn't it interesting that the people who
declare themselves to be the most open-minded (by way of their disregard for all
established religions) always seem to turn out to be the most close-minded
(concerning said established religions)?
And now, back to our current movie.
"Apocalypse 2: Revelation" is not a very good
movie. Lead Jeff Fahey pretty much sleepwalks through the whole film looking
either stoned or very bored. Not having seen the first film in the series, I
didn't know enough about Leigh Lewis' Helen Hannah to care about her, or
understand why she's doing what she's doing. Ex-supermodel Carol Alt plays a
blind woman, and Tony Nappo is the film's only bright spot. Nappo plays the
wheelchair-bound Willie, a computer hacker with a knack for cracking jokes at
the most inopportune time. I would say that Nappo saves the film, only
"Revelation" isn't nearly good enough to deserve being saved.
As for Nick Mancuso, he shows up just long enough to
embarrass himself. The direction by Andre van Heerden is too flat and lacks
energy, which only adds to lead Jeff Fahey's dead man walking impersonation. The
screenplay by the Lalonde brothers is uninteresting, and it seems as if they
might have used up all their good stuff for the "Left Behind" series.
If "Revelation" is any indication, I will most
likely be skipping this series. One "Fight the Anti-Christ" franchise
is more than enough for me, thank you very much.