Friday 10 March 2023

REVIEW: Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist (2023) - Starring Kevin Sorbo, Neal McDonough, Bailey Chase,Corbin Bernsen, Greg Perrow, Sarah FIsher, Sam Sorbo, Charles Sndrew Payn and Stafford Perry

Review by Jon Donnis
Every time I review a film, I always keep a few things in mind, the main ones being the budget and who the film is made for, and I will judge a film using these two parameters. For example, I am not going to directly compare a low-budget film with a Hollywood blockbuster from Marvel and their infinite budget. Instead, I will judge the film badly based on the limitations it has and if it overcomes them. I also won't judge a film badly if I am not the target audience, because that would be unfair.

Now, I come to Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist, a sequel to the 2014 Nick Cage film Left Behind. I will admit to not remembering the first film, but since this film has been made nearly 10 years later, I believe it is a film that can be seen without having seen the previous one. This film has a relatively low budget, and it is also a Christian film. Something that we rarely see in cinemas, mainly due to Hollywood's stranglehold on the industry and their hatred of anything and anyone that is openly Christian. I watch this film as an Atheist, but someone who not only can enjoy religious-based films but also seeks them out, as I want to experience all genres, especially ones where I am not the target audience.

It's worth mentioning that this film has quite the cast, with plenty of recognizable faces, which instantly will attract you to the characters.

Millions of people have vanished off the face of the Earth, think Thanos clicking his fingers, and you get the idea. But this isn't a Marvel film, and there is not a group of superheroes to figure things out.

Greg Parrow stars as Cameron "Buck" Williams, a late-night news host and journalist who is desperate to get to the bottom of what happened, but he is getting blocked by his own boss. Think Tucker Carlson trying to reveal things that will hurt the political establishment, and Rupert Murdoch trying to put the brakes on him.

Sarah Fisher stars as Chloe Steele, Buck's girlfriend. Along with her grieving dad Rayford (the legendary Kevin Sorbo), they are trying to deal with the terrible loss that has been called The Vanishing. Rayford's wife, Irene, and their son, Raymie, are gone seemingly forever, along with millions of people around the world, and no one knows why. The politicians, TV hosts, so-called experts all have different explanations, from aliens to man-made technology. But no one seems willing to call it the Rapture. The thing that is getting to Rayford is that Irene told him that this would happen. And that it was told in a book about 2000 years ago!

The world is dealing with the after-effects of the vanishing. Crime has skyrocketed everywhere. People are killing themselves and others. Banking institutes are collapsing, almost like real-world 2023 with Joe Biden leading us.

A savior of sorts comes in Jonathan Stonagal (Neal McDonough), think an Elon Musk type who has stepped up to help the world. Stonagal runs the biggest social media network in the world with 6 billion users. Partnering with a Jewish computer scientist, they will put forward a new worldwide digital banking system, which in turn will help ease the financial banking crisis and help people around the world. All that is stopping them is two countries who have yet to sign on to the plan: Israel and Romania, and they have conditions they want to be met.

Meanwhile, a second wave of Vanishings has apparently occurred, and our newsman Buck is not only suspicious but wants to get to the bottom of what is really going on. But will his investigations go too far into the deep state, and will he risk his life to find out the truth?

As mentioned earlier, this is a Christian film based largely on interpretations of Revelation and Rapture-based scriptures. The film is primarily directed towards Christians and lapsed Christians. However, even with that said, there is also a very good conspiracy-type thriller in here, and a lot of what the film talks about hits very close to home. For instance, the film delves into how billionaires make money during crises, how politicians will use any event to seize power from the people, enrich themselves, and find ways to control and manipulate people. Essentially, everything that has happened in the past two years and is coming out now is referenced in this film, but instead of a global pandemic, we have the Rapture.

The Good
I really enjoyed all of the conspiracy stuff, mainly because it is so close to what is really going on right now, and things that are coming out. There is a lot to compare to the real world, away from the religious based stuff. The cast is awesome, of course Kevin Sorbo is great, but it is also fantastic to see Neal McDonough who has been in absolutely everything, and Corbin Bernsen who I got to know from TV series Psych. All have strong performances.

The Bad
This is a Christian film, and it has a strong Christian message, and if that is not your thing then you might find that that will put you off. Also, if you are a far-left progressive type, then you will probably hate anything that attacks the Government or paints the Government in a bad light.

Putting this film into the context of how it was made, and who it was made for, then I am pretty impressed. The film has a low budget, that is plain to see, so the filmmakers have done something crazy, instead of relying on fancy visual effects, they have relied on a good story and talented actors! Who'd have thought that was even possible these days.

Although some aspects of the film were not for me, in general I enjoyed the story, and the strong performances.

I score Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist a strong 8.5/10. It is about time Christians got a film just for them that is actually pretty good.

In selected cinemas now, and on digital 13 March & DVD & Blu-ray 27 March -