Michael Steele, a major movie star, slowly finds his life changing and being turned upside down as he tries to live the way he feels a Christian should live. Nothing seems to work out and things only seem to get harder as he tries more to do what Jesus would do. As his friends and coworkers call him crazy and shake their heads at what he is trying to do, Michael Steele finds himself wavering at times. Will God really help him endure what he is going through?
Production Quality (.5 point)
If one good thing can be said for this unusual production, it’s that time and money were definitely spent on the sets, locations, and props. However, not much else positive can be highlighted. Camera work is quite shaky and video quality is quite grainy. The soundtrack is bad enough without forcing us to listen to Randy Travis attempt to sing. Also, there are a number of annoyingly bizzare special effects throughout, including constant flashing that seems to be unfriendly to the epileptic. Finally, editing is poorly done, thus leaving the film too choppy and punctuated. In the end, to be a film of this profile, production should have been far better than this.
Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)
Based on a novel by Bill Myers, this really is not the best book plot that could have been chosen to be placed on the big screen. The plot structure is quite unusual and includes confusing flashbacks that don’t serve much purpose. There is not real plot content as the story hops from one thing to the next. The characters therein are very one-dimensional. Unfortunately, this includes a strawman portrayal of non-Christian characters and a squeaky clean portrayal of Christian characters. While there is some semblance of a good message lost in translation, all the problems of this story are fixed far too easily, thus making it all seem very trite and plastic. In short, this movie was written for a vague idea that never materialized.
Acting Quality (1 point)
After watching The Wager, one has to wonder why Randy Travis is ever cast in a movie. What exactly good acting qualities does he bring to the table. But hey, on the bright side, this film contains Candace Cameron Bure’s best role to date, surprisingly enough. Other cast members, such as Nancy Stafford, are not all that bad, but there is a lot of negative here that detracts from the positive—mostly pertaining to Randy Travis.
What is to be accomplished by these sorts of films? With half-efforts evident in all three categories, what did the creators expect? Do people expect that they can just barely try to put a movie together and then it will just be fine since it’s a Christian movie? Thankfully, we are seeing less and less of these types of films today, so films like The Wager can provide a major lesson to today’s film makers: ‘big name’ cast members and writers do not automatically make for a great movie. Great Christian movies take true effort and care and are unfortunately hard to come by.
Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points