03 February 2013

Movie Review: "Jerusalem Countdown"

Rated: PG-13 for violence
Starring: David A. R. White, Lee Majors, and Jaci Velasquez
Released: August 26, 2011 (theaters); April 17, 2012 (DVD/Blu-Ray)
Synopsis: Shane and Eve are two longtime federal agents who have uncovered a doozy of a plot.  A potential terrorist has been captured, but he does nothing except repeat the entire book of Revelation again and again.  Eve's father, a preacher, believes that what's coming was prophesied in the Bible, and that it's a sign that the end is near...but Shane and Eve simply can't believe that.  Suffice it to say, the entire FBI, CIA, and the entire world are likely in for a huge surprise...

(There are potential spoilers below; be warned.)

Story: 4/5
Whether or not you agree with the Rapture theology presented in Jerusalem Countdown, you can't help but be engrossed by the film's story.  With all the twists and turns--there's one twist two minutes before the credits roll that really shocked me!--it's definitely a gripping one.

Production Values: 4/5
The acting, action sequences, and special effects are much improved over other Christian films I've previously seen.  There was one scene with hokey-looking flames, but, other than that, this is definitely not the schlock that was C Me Dance.  However, the lagging SDHs--which seems to be a problem that plagues all of PureFlix's DVDs--will likely be a bit of an annoyance to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as ESL/ESOL students who use them to better understand films.

Moral Content: "PG-13 for violence" is about right, as there's little else offensive in this film; though there's plenty of guns, explosions, hits, kicks, and other violent acts, as objectionable as it gets otherwise is a mention of drinking vodka.  Still, the violence and the convoluted plot make this inappropriate for youngsters; not only would the shootings and such scare them, but they likely wouldn't really understand what's going on.  It might be okay for preteens, though; you'd probably want to screen it before showing it to them.

Conclusion: It's hard to give a film like this an unbiased review.  No, I didn't have anything to do with making Jerusalem Countdown; I've simply been clamoring to see it for at least a year, but had to wait until I was able to request it from my local library, since I am unable to use Redbox, and didn't want to pay fifteen or twenty bucks to purchase it.  I'll admit: After finally watching it tonight--on Super Bowl Sunday, too! Yeah, I despise sports!--it does feel slightly lackluster.  In a way, the ending gives it a television pilot feel; it leaves some threads hanging that, given the poor reception the movie received in theaters, are likely to stay unresolved.  Not only that, but, even though there was action, at least a third of this eighty-five-minute movie involved people sitting around talking.  Of course, any cinephile knows that the story has to be set up before the action can start, but, in the case of this film, it starts off with a bang, and then spends the next seventy minutes explaining what led up to it.  I don't care for such a story-telling device.  Don't get me wrong; Jerusalem Countdown is an enjoyable, if not perfect or amazing, piece of film.  To be frank, I think my expectations were just too high; after all the anticipation that built up after I first saw the trailer online, it could have been as good as October Baby, my favorite movie I saw last year, or Spider-Man 2, which is my favorite movie of all-time, and I still would have been let down.  So, to sum it up: I recommend this one to fans of Christian cinema...with reservations.

Score: 3.6/5 

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