21 January 2014

Movie Review: "The Mark 2: Redemption"

Rated: Not Rated (Dove approved for ages twelve and up)
Starring: Craig Sheffer, Sonia Couling, and Eric Roberts
Released: May 7, 2013 (DVD/Blu-Ray)
Synopsis: In this sequel to 2012's The Mark, expert soldier and marksman Chad Turner (Craig Sheffer) is trying to protect his flight attendant friend Dao (Sonia Couling) while on the run from people who only want him dead.  With the mass disappearances of the Rapture, people all over the planet are in a state of panic...and Phillyp Turk (Iván Kamarás) is taking the world by storm with his message of peace and unity in such desperate times.  The "end times" story continues with plenty of action and even a few surprises...

Artistic Merit

Plot: 4/5
Though not the greatest storyline, the film's version of the "end times" is more believable than what Jenkins and LaHaye gave us.  It kept me interested until the end, and that's actually saying something.

Production Values: 3.5/5
The acting was great, especially from veteran actor Eric Roberts, who appeared in the prequel and in a previous Christian movie, In the Blink of an Eye.  However, the scenes with burning buildings look a bit fake, and one song used on the soundtrack is rather annoying.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 4/5
Chad, Dao, and others show courage in the face of adversity, and risk their lives for each other.  More than one character gains a belief in God by the film's end; one even shares her new beliefs with her friends.

Sex: 4.5/5
Prostitution is referenced, but only briefly.

Nudity: 4.5/5
Part of a guy's chest is seen.

Violence: 2/5
The first film in this series was given a caution for violence by the Dove Foundation.  While this one isn't quite as violent, it still isn't for the VeggieTales crowd.  Several people are shot dead, including one who is seen with multiple bloody gunshot wounds; one character is shot in the arm, though it isn't fatal; two guys get into a brawl that ends in one's death; two scenes involve a guy getting hit with a large object; a boat is shot at and explodes; a man is seen with blood on his face several times; some flashback scenes from the first film show people with blood on their clothes; and, buildings are seen on fire at least four or five times.  Like most other end-times movies (Jerusalem Countdown, Left Behind: World at War), this one would likely have gotten a "PG-13 for violence" from the MPAA.

Language: 4/5
Only one profanity: the Australian crudity "bu---r".

Drugs: 3.75/5
Smoking cigarettes is both seen and talked about; drinking wine is only seen.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 1/5
Not only is there plenty of violence, but the whole bleak, dark tone of the movie may be too much for some viewers.  Also, one scene involves a father paying for a gambling debt by giving his daughter to some unsavory characters.

Other: 4/5
Some may have a problem with the fact that a group of women only stand nearby when the protagonist fights one of the villains.

Final Score: 4/5
I likely won't be watching either of the films in this duology again, but, for what they were, they were entertaining and well-made.  Having professional talent--not just Eric Roberts--seems to be to this film's benefit, as you don't have any cringe-inducing scenes in this one.  In years past, Christian movies paled in comparison to their secular counterparts; now, they're higher in quality and more successful than they have ever been.  Obviously, the first one in this series sold well, or they wouldn't have bothered making a sequel.  I doubt that we'll be seeing The Mark 3--if they were going to produce it, I'm sure we would have heard about it by now--but these are definitely worth watching.  Just borrow or rent it before you shell out the bucks for a full purchase.

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