Break Every Chain (Movie Review)

Break Every Chain (2021) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Jonathan Hickory lost his dad at an early age, so he tried to fill the void by becoming a cop. Jonathan was successful and soon settled into a simple life with his family. However, after developing and subsequently hiding PTSD as a result of his police work, Jonathan enters a downward spiral of substance abuse to cope with the pain. Will Jonathan find his way back before his family is destroyed?

Production Quality (2 points)

Break Every Chain is surprisingly one of the best productions ever crafted by the JC Films team. This includes good video and audio quality as well as an effective soundtrack. Despite some wild action camera work, the sets, locations, and props are professional. For the most part, editing is acceptable except for some lagging scenes. Nonetheless, this section is overall above average.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

Based on a true story and possessing no writing credits from Jason Campbell, Break Every Chain is an excellent look at how police officers are surrounded and affected by trauma every day without being properly prepared or supported. However, the protagonist’s trauma progression is a bit quick, sped up by time jumps as voiceover attempts to bridge these jumps in the timeline. Nonetheless, the writers did a great job with portraying how police officers are expected to push down all their inner turmoil, which can lead to substance abuse and other vices. To capture these concepts, the writers used artistic psychological scenes that are good but tend to isolate the viewer with an ethereal quality that lacks balance. Also, there is a lot of gloom and doom in this narrative without much positive, which is only compounded by a “wise” Christian character who is essentially sarcastic and condemning in the face of the protagonist, who’s struggling with trauma. These matters are not aided by the somewhat simplistic view of psychology that the writers possess. While dialogue is mostly effective at building characters, the extensive timeline stunts realistic character growth, leading to a somewhat empty and forced conclusion. However, there are enough strong points in this plot to justify a meager rating.

Acting Quality (2 points)

As a whole, the acting in this film is mostly average. At times, the performances are somewhat stilted and overly practiced. Emotions are inconsistent in some instances. Some cast members are more genuine than others, and the lead actor is a standout. throughout the screenplay, the acting improves with time, leading to an above-par score for this aspect of the movie.

Conclusion

In a stunning turn of events, the JC Films team actually produced a mostly acceptable film. It can’t be a coincidence that Jason Campbell had no hand in writing or directing Break Every Chain. Basing the screenplay off of a true story was a good way to present a mostly realistic narrative. Demonstrating the cause-and-effect relationship between police trauma and PTSD is an important conversation to have in the context of Christian entertainment. However, a number of issues held this movie back from being all that it could have been. As a result, Break Every Chain is yet another example of why it’s important to focus on quality over quantity.

Final Rating: 5 out of 10 points

Coronavirus: Perfect Storm (Movie Review)

Coronavirus: Perfect Storm (2020) - IMDb

Plot Summary

When a seeming miracles happens during a tornado in West Virginia, a New York reporter is compelled to brave the COVID-19 pandemic to get the scoop. However, what he finds there isn’t what he expected. The reporter will have to come face-to-face with what he truly believes about the afterlife.

Production Quality (0 points)

Between awful special effects and terrible audio quality, this production is a drag on the viewing experience. Loud background sounds, echoes, and annoying special effects are also problematic. Shaky camera work and tight shots are disorienting, and the lighting and video quality are inconsistent. Further, choppy editing ruins things, so all of these factors contribute to a score of zero for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

This nonsensical narrative is very trippy and confusing to the audience. The subplots are pointless and empty due to mindless dialogue and meandering conversations. Cardboard-cutout characters are impossible to connect with, and these characters are tossed along in a bizarre story-within-a-story twist that is very mind-bending and generally weird. Wacky afterlife theology is also laced throughout this strange tale. In general, this section contains a lot of outlandish content that contains no potential and thus yields no points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

To top everything else off, the acting in Coronavirus: Perfect Storm is uninspiring. However, the performances are not all bad as they are more vanilla than terrible. There is nothing majorly positive nor negative in this section whether it relates to emotions or line delivery. Thus, with just one point, this aspect of the film is the highest rated.

Conclusion

The JC Films team has also proven that they are willing to make a screenplay about anything in an attempt to harvest quick cash with little upfront investment. This movie is no exception to this tendency. Thus, with no end in sight to this nonsense, there’s little else to say here.

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points

Don’t Give Up [2021] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Amy Samuel is drowning in depression due to everything that’s happened to her in life. She just wants to give up and leave her life behind. However, a set of circumstances prevents her from ending it all. As a result, Amy is forced to face her past in order to pick up the pieces and move on.

Production Quality (1 point)

Despite this production having fine video quality and okay camera work, there are a number of concerns to contend with. For instance, the audio is quite bad, including background echoes and a loud soundtrack. Special effects are very cheap. Also, sets, locations, and props are a bit limited. Further, editing is quite choppy. Thus, these missteps all lead to another below-average production for JC Films.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Although the narrative is based on a true story, Don’t Give Up is a train-wreck of a film. Voiceover bridges time gaps and guides the viewer through the plot in a very heavy-handed manner. Sensationalism crowds out interesting psychological elements that provide the story with a small amount of potential. Some content is unnecessarily edgy, and expository dialogue short-circuits the sliver of potential that the characters had. Implied off-screen content makes for a confusing watch, and too many elements are unexplained as it seems like that the writers expected the audience to read a lot into various things. The time jumps create vacuums of information and a general atmosphere of random ideas being strung together with no clear focus or purpose. The flashbacks are slightly interesting since they make attempts to establish character motives, but the protagonist is fixed way too easily. It’s implied that getting saved will automatically fix clinical depression, and the story has a generally rushed conclusion. Therefore, though there is some potential in this section, only a small score can be awarded.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, the acting in this screenplay is average despite the fact that the performances are just average. Some cast members are way too dramatic in their acting, but they are balanced out by other cast members who are more even-keeled. Line deliver is mostly okay throughout the movie although some emotions are forced. While better coaching was definitely in order here, the performances overall improve with time. However, this section’s rating isn’t enough to save the movie from itself.

Conclusion

It’s commendable that Jason Campbell and his team continue to make films that are based on true stories. However, their flooding-the-market approach is still a detriment to Christian entertainment. Other production companies have tried this method in the past but have ultimately failed. At this rate, it’s hard to see how JC Films doesn’t end up with the same fate.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

Dispatched [2020] (Movie Review)

Watch Dispatched | Prime Video

Plot Summary

Carl Thomas is an embattled police officer being questioned about his past actions. Thus, Carl relates why he made the choices that he did and how he’s now a different man. Will his interrogators believe his story before it’s too late?

Production Quality (.5 point)

Unfortunately, the past production transgressions of JC Films have not been atoned for. Dispatched has all the same problems of past films created by this team, such as loud background sounds and echoes, not to mention the generally grainy audio quality. Despite moments of a surprisingly good soundtrack, many aspects of the score don’t always fit the mood of the scenes. Elsewhere, lighting is inconsistent, and camera work is incredibly random, including weird angles. Video quality is acceptable, but editing is quite choppy. Thus, with a tiny amount of potential, this section receives a small score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

One of the main strength areas of Dispatched is its shockingly honest portrayal of the complexity behind police problems. In this endeavor, authentic flashbacks are used to build character motive and personality. However, it all goes downhill from there as convenient and random things happen when the writers need them to occur. Similarly, obvious dialogue steers the plot in the direction that the creators want it to go rather than letting events develop naturally. The interesting exploration of the protagonist’s backstory is overshadowed by the contrived nature of the narrative. Part of this trumped-up premise is the assumption that one spiritual experience will magically make someone the most perfect Christian who ever lived. These steep character arcs are impossible to relate to, and these concerns make for very cheap messaging. Christian platitudes are used in place of meaningful lessons, thus leading to an empty conclusion. Therefore, with only a small dose of potential, this section is awarded a meager rating.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Although the acting of this screenplay leaves much to be desired, it’s still the strongest aspect of the movie. Emotions are forceful, such as cast members trying too hard to be angry. Line delivery often lacks conviction and natural register. However, the acting generally improves with time to the point where an average score is warranted.

Conclusion

When will the JC Films team ever learn? The last thing that the Christian entertainment field needs is more quantity to full up our streaming services and further turn people off to the genre. Just imagine if the budgets and efforts for each individual film were bundled together into one or two screenplays. Less is always more, so one day, we’ll hopefully see this play out in Christian entertainment.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points