Author, speaker, lunatic, and part time atheist, Gillen Lane, leaves his one dimensional wife to join Stone Alexander, who might as well have “Antichrist” tattooed on his forehead. Stone, and his psychotic sidekick, Father Dominic, have stolen The Omega Code, which lets them read the secret prophesies hidden in the Torah as a computer 3-D graphic. Naturally, Stone builds temples and brokers peace in the Middle East; it’s what the son of Satan would do. Nothing’s more evil than temples and peace. Oh, if only, if only!, Gillen would give himself to Jesus, then he could stop all these evil plans, although I thought The Bible said The Devil won till the Second Coming. Eh. What does The Bible have to do with a Christian missionary flick anyway?
You have to love a film produced by a Christian network for the purpose of preaching the Gospels of the Lord, that is filled with heresy. That’s just…cool. Now, I don’t claim to be a Biblical scholar, but I’m pretty sure that Christians aren’t suppose to take the The Good Book as a puzzle, in which all those stories of who begat who, and who got smited when, are nothing more than window dressing to hide the secret message of when Lady Diana was going to snuff it. Now I like that concept, but then I don’t worry about the eternal truth of God’s word. I’m also pretty sure that the ending of the movie is heretical as well, but who hasn’t wanted to make the end of days into a happy time?
The story is the same nutso gibberish that extreme rightwing Christians have been babbling for years, filled to overflowing with paranoia. Armageddon is coming, and coming fast. (Does it scare anyone else that a large group of people think the world is about to end, and vote and support policies based on that?) The Antichrist is a European liberal who will use the U.N. or the European Union to take control of the world. (You can tell he’s evil because of all the liberal causes he supports and the way that he helps the world. Obviously anyone who wants peace and supports diplomatic solutions to the world’s problems is evil.) Jews, Catholics, and everyone of any religion besides some brand of narrowly defined Christianity, are either evil or stupid and will be duped by the Antichrist. As for atheists, they will be chanting along with The Devil. (Apparently, there are a lot of us too. Do fundamentalists really believe that the world is dominated by atheists? It’s always bizarre to see a majority cling to the notion that they are an oppressed minority.)
This rendition of the fight between the few true believers and the Antichrist starts with surprising signs of competency. For a few moments, the thriller plot has the merest suggestion of being thrilling. There’s more money on the screen than in similar confused fantasies like 1990’s Apocalypse and 2000’s Left Behind. (8 million, not bad for the Christian specialty market). The cast is recognizable, and many even have SAG cards. Michael York and Michael Ironside are bigger names and have more talent than those who normally take these kinds of parts, and Casper Van Dien, well, he’s a bigger name.
But things go horribly, dare I say, apocalyptically wrong quickly, when we get the full brunt of Van Dien’s ACTING!, and recovers only slightly when York appears. Not that he, or even Van Dien, are given any help from the script. Poor York does his best to insert humor into his delivery, but he has nothing to work with. Ironside is there just for the paycheck, which still makes him the second best thing about the film. The dialog is unintentionally funny, and the story gives out early and is replaced with poorly shot chases that have the drama of an Alka-Seltzer commercial, and lots of chatting. Since the funds were used for a few run-of-the-mill explosions and a couple of crowd scenes, most of the film looks cheap and surprisingly deserted. Apparently, the Antichrist will rule the world with one gun-toting sidekick, a PR man, one computer expert, and a sleazy girl. That’s it.
It doesn’t help that the main character is irrelevant. Yes, he finds Jesus (who shows up when called to sweep away bad memories and smoke), and yes, he spends time hanging around pertinent people, but he’s neither the protagonist nor the antagonist; he’s just that guy who talks too much.
Bottom-line: this mess is only for the faithful, and they should be embarrassed. It doesn’t even have a message for them, besides, perhaps, Christian filmmakers have no imagination. Those whose religious fervor is on a lower boil will be insulted. As for atheists, there isn’t enough here to make fun of at a drunken party.