Assassin 33 AD (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

Ram Goldstein and several other genius scientists are working on a top secret project for a multimillionaire named Ahmed. At first, they’re completely cool with being locked in a room with armed guards patrolling the halls, but when they use their super hacking skills to discover that Ahmed is coordinating with government leaders from Muslim-controlled nations to create time travel, they begin to grow concerned. Ahmed intends to use the mystical power of time travel to return to the past and kill Jesus before He’s resurrected so that Christianity will cease to exist! However, time travel is a bit tricky, and when multiple timelines are created due to the tampering, many different versions of the same characters are apparently created. Also, if they don’t erase the extra timelines before it’s too late, they will all converge into an APOCALYPSE! Can Ram and his friends stop this wicked plot before it’s too late?!?!?

Production Quality (-3 points)

Even though it seems like there was a substantial budget spent on Assassin 33 AD, the funding didn’t pay off as it was wasted on extremely cheap CGI and ridiculous special effects that overtake and overpower all other production elements. They have direct connections to the sets, locations, and props and make it clear that this team had no idea what they were doing when they slapped this project together. While there are some notable positives in this production, they are covered up by the myriad concerns created by the CGI and special effects blunders. Also, the editing has a handful of issues, but this could easily be chalked up to having to deal with one of the worst plots in the history of Christian entertainment. Overall, the glaringly obvious negatives throughout this film overshadow any slightly good elements that could be noted.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-3 points)

Where to begin? Assassin 33 AD has achieved the unthinkable feat of being as incoherent and offensive as Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. This is not a title to be lightly delivered, but there plenty of ways Assassin goes further than even Timothy Chey has gone (yet). First of all, the entire premise behind Assassin is totally off-base from the get-go. Messing around with time travel and how it relates to Jesus is an absolute no-no when it comes to story-boarding, so there’s no reason to even broach the subject. Then, to take this a step further and actually make a purportedly Christian film about modern day soldiers being able to shoot Jesus with a pistol in the Garden of Gethsemane is borderline insanity. As if this isn’t enough, to create multiple timelines that both alter Scripture and try to twist biblical history into including the movie’s characters in the actual canon is just the end. I literally cannot comprehend the inanity of this proposition, which by no indication is being done in jest. Besides these glowing red flag problems that are part of the story’s very fabric, there are so many other movie faux pas committed in Assassin that space will likely not permit a full exploration. Nonetheless, here is a very quick rundown: characters are poorly developed via expository dialogue and unnatural lines that are designed to force the plot forward, key plot points are supported by unexplained “science” and convenient technical devices that lack basis in reality or logic, the villains basically stepped out of a conservative fever dream about Muslims taking over the world, wild time jumps are only supplanted by the maddening nature of the multiple timelines created by time travel, basically every character has a minimum of two different versions of themselves (“past” and “present”), some of these copy characters end up having conversations with each other, the protagonists can seemingly do whatever they want in a supposedly high-security facility with armed guards all around them, the Jesus character seems just as confused about what’s going on as the viewers are, etc., etc., etc. Did I mention that the writers took a crazily arrogant creative license to replace Biblical characters (like the thieves on the crosses beside Jesus and the man who fled the Garden of Gethsemane with no clothes on) with modern-day characters from the “future” timelines? This notion is only made complete by the scene where two copy characters (the same cast member) are discussing how the modern-day Bible is changing right before their eyes due to the timelines being altered in the past. Further, as if all of this wasn’t an epic trainwreck, the film’s epilogue completely turns everything on its ear by negating the “past” timeline that set the movie’s events into notion in the first place. Therefore, taking all of this evidence into account, this section is awarded the maximum negative score, and this also affects other aspects of the film.

Acting Quality (-3 points)

The horrid nature of the plot bleeds over into acting and causes this section to suffer even though it may not have been as bad if it were paired with a different narrative. Much of the line delivery is robotic and not earnest, and emotions are hard to believe. Some cast members, especially those who are portraying villains, overplay their roles while others seem bored or confused, which may have been justified. In the end, the major negatives at the core of the project drag the entire thing down into the depths of Christian entertainment.

Conclusion

Assassin 33 AD also receives to honor of scoring a negative x-factor point to round out an effort that joins Saving Christmas as one of the worst films of all time. Whenever a creator sets out to make a movie about how biblical accounts and Jesus’ life on earth in general could be altered via time travel as well as how the Bible could be rewritten based on the changing of previous timelines, they are already way off the road and should entirely ditch the project. Going through with such a travesty raises some serious questions about the true motivation behind its creation. There’s literally no way to redeem this awful concept, so the best thing that can be done is to encourage audiences to stay away from it and to help future film makers avoid these types of monumental blunders.

Final Rating: -10 out of 10 points

The Job [2020] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

At one time, Lance Foster was a successful boxer who could have whatever he wanted, but when he accidentally killed a man in the ring, his life changed forever. He decided to dedicate his life to Christ, but the consequences that were set in motion prior to his conversion continued to haunt him. About to be evicted from his house and divorced by his wife, Lance suddenly finds himself at gunpoint being held up by a desperate man in search of valuables to fix his own mess. However, the two of then form an unlikely bond that leads them both to unexpected results.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

As a low-budget production, the creators of The Job did mostly well in making the most out of what they had. For instance, video quality is clear, and the soundtrack is quite good. There is some slightly shaky camera work, however, that needs more stability and consistency. For the most part, the sets, props, and locations are fine and are well-utilized despite their limitations. Moreover, there are some instances where the audio quality could be better, and the editing is simply passable. In the end, this is an average production that is a good start for this creative team.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

In a limited plot like this one, deep character development is essential, especially when the characters are confined to just a few sets. This can be done via non-narrated flashbacks and character-building conversations that show their motivations and personalities. However, this is not always done in The Job. for one, the main character is often portrayed as perfect and without flaws; he tends to lecture other characters on how to act without the audience understanding his struggles. While it’s good to explore hard topics and tough life circumstances, we need to see these issues through the eyes of more accessible characters rather than ones we cannot easily relate to. This can be accomplished through more showing than telling and through more personal dialogue and emotional connection than apologetics and witnessing talking points. Although the plot seems to get more interesting in the middle of it, the concept of holding a character hostage in order to witness to them is very difficult to portray in the right way. Some slight character motivations also surface near the end of the film, along with some interesting explorations of family systems, but the quick pace of storyline’s first half, as well as the wasted time near the beginning, reduce their impact. In the end, problems are too easily fixed, including some unrealistic notions about addictions; even though it seems like the writers meant well with this screenplay, there are still a few kinks to work out.

Acting Quality (2 points)

As a whole, the acting is likely the strongest section of the film. Though there are few cast members, they do the best they can with what they’ve been given and improve as the movie progresses. Despite being too earnest at times, they overall portray emotions as adequately as can be expected in the situations they’ve been put in. In the end, this rounds out a mostly middle-of-the-road effort.

Conclusion

Due to being a first-time production with a limited budget, The Job puts its best foot forward and is mostly acceptable. However, a more engaging plot made up of more accessible characters would have taken it to the next level. The key is to portray people in a way that demonstrates a familiarity with human tendencies; only then will the Christian message have its fullest impact. This is definitely something to note for future projects.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

Home Sweet Home (May 2020)

Coming May 1, 2020 from 5×5 Productions and Purple Crayon Pictures

Writer(s): Lesley Ann McDaniel

Director(s): Juan Mas

Producer(s): J.D. DeWitt, Robin McLain, Suzanne Niles

Cast: Natasha Bure, Ben Elliott, Krista Kalmus, Saint Lorenzo, Sarah Kim, Chauncy Jones, John Reddy, Gabriel Cortez Jr., Josphine Keefe,

Plot summary: Bored with her social butterfly lifestyle, Victoria Tremont longs to find that special someone. Naturally, when a handsome stranger walks into the coffee shop where she works, she turns on the charm. But when he fails to respond to her flirting the way men usually do, she’s perplexed. She finds out that he runs a ministry that builds affordable housing, and sees that if she wants to get his attention, all she has to do is volunteer. So what if it’s a faith-based ministry. Pretending to be a “church person” isn’t any different than pretending to like sports or a guy’s friends, right?

Peace River (coming in 2020)

Coming in 2020 from FaithWorks Pictures

Writer(s): Benjamin M. Jones

Director(s): Douglas James Vail

Producer(s): Benjamin M. Jones, Margaret B. Jones, Douglas James Vail

Cast: Cazzey Cereghino, Sabastian Neudeck, Virginia Tucker, January Loomis, Trace Carper

Plot summary: Peace River is the story of a young, modern, champion rodeo cowboy and Special Ops soldier who is crushed by war and personal loss and must draw on the cowboy way and a profound faith in Christ to recover the will to live and love of his life.

Princess Cut 2: Hearts on Fire (Spring 2020?)

Coming soon from Watchmen Pictures

Writer(s): Paul Munger, Sheila Munger, D. B. Hansen, Elizabeth E. Hansen

Director(s): Paul Munger

Producer(s): Paul Munger, Sheila Munger

Starring: Ashley Bratcher, Joseph Gray, Kendra Carelli, Brett Varvel, Kate MacCallum, Ella Dane Morgan, Bill Barrett, Sheilah Munger, Martin Peña, Giselle Torres, Chandler Macocha, Sterling Hurst, Mimi Sagadin, Jeannie Garcia, Joe Bunner, Rusty Martin Sr.?, Rusty Martin Jr.?

Plot Synopsis: Two expectant couples that are best friends face crushing upheavals in their lives which force them to make life-altering choices.

Irena Sendler (2020)

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Coming in 2020 from Pilot Wave; currently in pre-production

Writer(s): Justine Juel Gillmer, Agatha Dominik, Stuart Hazeldine, Rachel Long, Brian Pittman

Director(s): Stuart Hazeldine

Producer(s): Christopher Lemole, Jeff Most, Ewa Puszczynska, Jeff Rice,
Jaron Varsano, Gal Gadot, Gareth Wiley, Tim Zajaros, Marc Platt

Cast: Gal Gadot, more TBA

Plot Summary: This film tells the true story of Irena Sendler, a social worker who also headed the children’s section of Żegota, the Polish Council to Aid Jews. Sendler used her role to enter the Warsaw Ghetto — created by Nazi Germany for the city’s Jewish population — and helped children escape.

A Week Away (coming in 2020)

Coming to theaters in 2020

Writer(s): TBA

Director(s): Roman White

Producer(s): Alan Powell, Steve Barnett, Gabriel Vasquez

Cast: Sherri Shepherd, Bailee Madison, Kevin Quinn, David Koechner, Jahbril Cook, Iain Tucker, Kat Conner Sterling, more TBA

Plot summary: With nowhere left to go, Will Hawkins finds himself at camp for the first time. His instinct is to run, but he finds a friend, a father figure and even a girl who awakens his heart. Most of all, he finally finds a home.

Lost Heart (coming in 2020)

Shane Hagedorn and Melissa Anschutz in Lost Heart (2020)
Victoria Jackson in Lost Heart (2020)

Coming to select theaters and streaming services in 2020 from Collective Development Incorporated

Writer(s): DJ Perry

Director(s): Jesse Low

Producer(s): Melissa Anschutz, Debbie Thomey Bennett, David Gries Shane Hagedorn, Anthony Hornus, Rebecca Lawlor, Jesse Low, John Mashni
DJ Perry, Nathan K. Robertson, Dean Teaster

Starring: Melissa Anschutz, Shane Hagedorn, Victoria Jackson, DJ Perry, Josh Perry, Don Most, Christine Marie, Dean Teaster, Anthony Hornus, Melissa Anschutz, Lauren LaStrada, Michael Rene Walton, Abigail Mason, Greg Mason, Tonya Hawkins, David Gries

Plot summary: Hannah, a burnt out, mega-music star, returns to her small Northern Michigan hometown of Lost Heart, for her estranged father’s funeral. There she will confront the ghosts of her past and perhaps find her peace and balance once again.

Angels Everywhere (coming in 2020)

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R: Hey Della look! A dove! D: Well look at that sugar! Hey where’s that guy we hang around with?
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D: Oh there he is. Random guy: Anyone else feel awkward? R: When can I stop smiling like this? Its exhausting! D: What is this I’m wearing? A curtain?

Currently being filmed in a galaxy far, far away

Writer(s): Debbie Macomber, Roma Downey

Director(s): TBA (probs Mark Burnett)

Producer(s): Roma Downey

Starring: Roma Downey, hologram of Della Reese, more TBA

Plot Synopsis: This series will adapt Debbie Macomber’s book series of the same name for the big screen. According to Roma, Fans of Touched by an Angel will love seeing Surely Shirley, Goodness and Mercy come to life on screen. The real question is, will Della Reese’s angel make a surprise appearance on set?

Washington’s Armor (2020?)

Coming in 2020 from Capernaum Studios and Tammy Lane Productions

Writer(s): Andrew Librizzi

Director(s): Tammy Lane

Producer(s): Theresa Hayes, Tammy Lane, Aaron Burns

Cast: Stephen A. Elkins, Ashley Bratcher, Alex Ryan Brown, Nick Caldwell, David Dittmeier, Amanda Joy Erickson, Andrew Flagg, Jeremy Gauna, Eddie T. Gomez, Jourin Hannah, Micah Lynn Hanson, Ryan T. Johnson, Wayne Matychuk, Willie Mellina, Nathan D. Myers, Jeff Pearson, Darrell Philip, Sophie Proctor, William Row, Nicolas Shook, Todd Terry, Kevin Toy, Colton Vaughn, Kimberly Gail Williams, Tim Ross

Plot summary: Follows the trajectory of George Washington as a boy and a young man as he develops his relationships and ideals.

The Shift (expected in 2020)

Currently being written, soon to be in pre-production from VidAngel studios

Writer(s): Brock Heasley

Director(s): Brock Heasley

Producer(s): Orlando J. Gomez

Cast: TBA

Plot summary: This film is an allegory about the book of Job and will be a film about choice. In this case, the choices made by Kevin Garner, a man who is approached by Satan himself and offered fame and wealth in exchange for doing the devil’s bidding.

Pardoned by Grace (coming in 2020)

Movie about the life of a Michigan City priest films in the Region, Porter County Jail

Coming to select theaters in 2020 from Graham Family Films

Writer(s): TBA

Director(s): Kevan Otto

Producer(s): Ben Graham

Starring: Joey Lawrence, Michael W. Smith, more TBA

Plot Synopsis: This biopic film tells the true story of Scott Highberger, a man who was in and out of jail for a big part of his life. Based on his memoir, the film will cover his 35 arrests, eight felony convictions, five prison sentences, and his path to drug addiction and personal turmoil. The film will end with his new life as an outreach pastor at Road to Life Church’s Michigan City campus who ministers to inmates at Westville Correctional Center.

Quantum (coming in 2020)

Coming to select theaters in 2020

Writer(s): Ralph Strean?

Director(s): Ralph Strean

Producer(s): Ralph Strean, more TBA

Starring: TBA

Plot Synopsis: This crowdfunded series will take viewers back in time to Biblical events in history from the perspective of a time-traveling pair from the dystopian future.

M.B.F. (coming in 2020)

Coming in 2020 from Collective Development Incorporated

Writer(s): DJ Perry

Director(s): Anthony Hornus

Producer(s): Melissa Anschutz, Debbie Thomey Bennett, Deborah Bennett
David Gries, Shane Hagedorn, Anthony Hornus, Rebecca Lawlor, John Mashni, DJ Perry, Nathan K. Robertson, Dean Teaster

Starring: Don Most, Tim Abell, DJ Perry, Melissa Anschutz, Christine Marie Dean Teaster, Garry Nation, Kimberly Harsch, Shane Hagedorn, Sammy A. Publes, Robert Henline, John DeMarco, David Gries, Lauren LaStrada
David Michael Reardon, Austin Two Feathers, Walker Fairbanks
Robert Bradley, Greg Mason, Anthony Hornus

Plot summary: An engaging tale that shows the parallels between the treatment of wounded military veterans and ‘last chance’ shelter dogs.