24 August 2013

Movie Review: "The Mark"

Rated: Not Rated (awarded Dove "Faith-Based" seal with caution for violence)
Starring: Craig Sheffer, Eric Roberts, and Sonia Couling
Released: October 16, 2012 (DVD)
Synopsis: War veteran Chad Turner (Craig Sheffer) was guarding a top secret project involving a microchip that is inserted into and powered by the human body...when, out of nowhere, he gets the chip injected into himself! Cooper (veteran actor Eric Roberts, In the Blink of an Eye) visits him in the hospital and informs him that they must immediately fly to Berlin for the G20 Summit to introduce the new chip. Though Chad immediately makes friends with airline stewardess Dao (Sonia Couling) and journalist Jodi upon boarding the flight, it seems that there are terrorists aboard who will stop at nothing to get their hands on that new microchip! Chad remembers what his brother, who was a Christian, told him: Every life has a purpose. The soldier knows what it is, and what he must do...but it's easier said than done when not only do you have terrorists after you, but you're thousands of feet in the air!
Produced by Pure Flix, makers of What If...?, The Imposter, and Jerusalem Countdown.

Artistic Merit

Plot: 4/5
"End times" movies usually seem to have weird plots that make me wonder whether or not the end will happen anywhere close to the way they say it will, but this one seems a bit more grounded in reality.  Though the film is a bit slow for the first third, after that, things really pick up! It's as intense as an old-school movie serial, no question! However, the cliffhanger ending will make you want to get the sequel ASAP, which might prove hard unless you already have it.

Production Values: 4.25/5
Other than one set that looked like something from a high school play, and the fact that the SDHs (subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing) have a couple of typos and don't even appear during a crucial part of the movie--though, thankfully, they don't lag anymore! Yay!--the movie is quite well-produced, and is not the kind of schlock-fest that C Me Dance was.  The action sequences and acting were especially impressive.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 4.5/5
The main moral of this story is that every life has a purpose (Psalm 139:14), which is an important lesson regardless of your beliefs about the "end times".  Also, as you'd expect, faith in God is respected (Psalm 14:1; John 14:6), and at least one character who didn't believe at the start of the film finds salvation by the time the credits roll (James 5:19-20).  A flashback shows someone giving up his own life for that of his sibling (John 15:13).

Sex: 5/5

Nudity: 4.5/5
A unnamed, non-speaking female character appears briefly in a somewhat short skirt with slits on the sides that reveal even more.

Language: 4.5/5
One usage of the British profanity "b-----ks".

Violence: 1.25/5
When the Dove Foundation can't even give it their approval for ages twelve and up, you know you're dealing with a rather violent film.  Though there is absolutely zero gore, several people get killed--including some innocent ones--and blood stains are quite prevalent.  We see quite a few fisticuffs, guns blaze more than once, and someone's dead body is even sent down a chute.  I can't see how the MPAA would not have rated this "PG-13"; the only reason they didn't was because the studio never submitted it for a rating.

Drugs: 4/5
Alcoholic beverages are consumed by the villains, and you can see what appears to be wine bottles in the background in one or two scenes.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 0.5/5
Along with what I described under "Violence," even the opening title sequence, which describes stock markets plummeting and other worldly perils, are a bit scary.  Later in the film, it is reported that natural disasters are hitting the entire planet, and the movie ends with a scene implying a city is on fire.  Even the fact that the whole movie revolves around a plane being hijacked may be too reminiscent of 9/11 for some folks.  This is definitely not for the VeggieTales crowd.

Conclusion: What a riveting movie.  If you think Christian movies are all dry Biblical epics or boring family dramas, you should definitely check this out; it's better-produced than usual for a Christian film.  However, I would think twice before renting this for a family movie night or an elementary school lock-in; the themes, intensity, violence, and all-around dark tone makes this inappropriate for the younger set.  It may not sound right for a Christian movie to be "for mature audiences only," but even the Bible isn't all kid stuff.  Based on what I've said above, you should know whether this if for you/your kid(s) or not.

Score: 4/5

No comments:

Post a Comment