After a twist of fate throws a collection of strangers together, trapped in a Thailand resort during a storm, strange things begin to happen. A wanted international criminal and his sidekick and wife, the two owners of the resort, and a ‘drug enforcement’ agent are all faced with the reality of their lives as they meet Jesus Christ face to face. They are all forced to ruminate on the choices they have made in the past in order to determine how they are going to move forward. Will they cling to their bitterness, rage, and vices, or will they turn to Jesus and accept the free gift He offers to each one of them, regardless of their pasts?
Production Quality (2 points)
In a change from the norm, The Encounter 2: Paradise Lost boasts above-average production quality. The camera work is professionally presented and the video quality is better than not. The audio quality is consistent across the board. The sets and locations are diverse and fairly realistic, with a few exceptions. The surroundings have an interesting feel, but it seems like more could have been done here, especially since many scenes seem borrowed from Escape. On the down side, David A. R. White brings with him to this film a cheesy action feel that includes waste-of-time sequences and unrealistic elements. Furthermore, the editing of Encounter 2 is all off. The film begins with a time lapse presentation and then randomly abandons it. The passage of time in general is hard to follow and a lot of content is crammed into a small window of opportunity that is squeezed out by philosophical monologues and unrealistic fight scenes. But in the end, this is definitely an improvement for PureFlix and shows what they can do, even though it also shows what they could be doing better.
Plot and Storyline Quality (2 points)
As mentioned before, too much is shoved into the nearly 110-minute runtime, thus isolating the important aspects. The few main characters that are presented are given a lot of screen time, yet by the end, we only see half of them. By the end of the film that focuses on the struggles of five key characters through the use of flashbacks and philosophical dialogue, we should feel like they are real people, but this is not completely true of this film’s core characters. There’s nothing wrong with having a small cast of characters, but they need to be deep, complex, and realistic. The Encounter 2 doesn’t make it all the way on this front. Yet there are many interesting and creative elements to this storyline. The flashbacks, as mentioned, are a good touch. The issues presented are believable, but some of the ‘solutions’ to the issues are not. Some ambiguity exists in the plot, but not enough. Bruce Marciano’s philosophical monologues are better this time around, but they still can become draining. The spiritual elements that underlie the plot are very intriguing and commendable, but the totally-not-obvious Satan character is over the top. In the end, the plot of The Encounter 2 is a mixed bag with a creative ending, but it doesn’t do quite enough to lift this film out of average-ness.
Acting Quality (1.5 points)
Robert Miano demonstrates in this film that he has the ability to be an excellent villain, which does not explain why he acted so mysterious and lofty in his Biblical roles, The Book of Esther and The Book of Daniel. Yet Miano is the best actor in this cast. Bruce Marciano is always fine, but at some point, his roles become extremely predictable. Elsewhere, David A. R. White is his usual cheesy action hero self and other actors and actresses either overplay or underplay emotions. Line delivery is overall inconsistent, but costuming is fine. Overall, the acting work is just average.
The Encounter 2: Paradise Lost is a huge improvement on The Encounter. The creative idea of having Jesus show up in the flesh in the middle of a hostage situation is very commendable. The psychological\spiritual elements throughout are also noteworthy. But this film is tripped up by its large amount of content and low amount of overall quality. The plot is spread too thin and the characters are too shallow for the time spent on them. In the end, this is an enjoyable film, but it’s also another one of those frustrating movies that we wish could be remade.
Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points