- Category: Reviews
- Written by Remo D.
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"Send down your plagues... pour out your bowls of wrath upon the earth... BRING IT ON!!!"
So speaks the Antichrist (Michael York) in this not-really-a-sequel to THE OMEGA CODE (the subtitle OMEGA CODE 2 is on the publicity but not on the film itself) that just hit "select" theatres. While everyone else was seeing FROM HELL, I opted for the one that I suspected wouldn't be around nearly as long...
Okay--when Twentieth Century-Fox makes OMEN movies, they're called horror. But when a Christian outfit with the unwieldy name of "Gener8Xion Entertainment" makes Antichrist movies, they shy away from the horror label--they want to be called "Christian films" or "prophecy films" or "end-time films." Sorry, but it's the same deal (albeit on a PG-13 level), and this one pulls all the same tricks out of the bag. Yeah, Meggido is a real place, but remember where the seven daggers that could slay Damien came from? Bingo.
You can't get off to a more disturbing start than with the spectacle of a six-year-old Antichrist attempting to burn his baby brother alive in his crib. He doesn't get away with it (and no way in hell would the filmmakers have, either... by the way, we're dealing with Brian Trenchard-Smith of such films as ESCAPE 2000 and LEPRECHAUN 3 and 4 here)--because baby has to grow up to become Michael Biehn (and eventually President, once York (as Antichrist Stone Alexander) slips the whammy to Chief Executive R. Lee Ermey). In the meantime, Stone grows up in a military academy (there's that OMEN influence again, no?) and eventually rises to take over most of the world... after he pitches his father (David Hedison) over a balcony and takes over his media empire. (The attacks on the mainstream media come non-stop here.)
As Christian horror films go, this one has the biggest budget and the most effects--some fun, some ridiculous. One guy absorbs all the paint from a paintball attack into his body and starts spewing it out of his mouth--those silly CGI dust-bunny demons from the original OMEGA CODE come along for the ride again (though the stories really can't be made to connect)--and York finally morphs into a giant CGI Satan-Beast before God shows up in a shower of light and kicks his ass (oh, did I blow something for you?).
Did I mention that Udo Kier is on hand as Stone's main assistant/minister? That the film revels in showing the hell being blown out of Jerusalem and various Mideast locales? In fairness, this film was completed well before September, but oh, what beautiful timing for this baby! (I understand that NYC disaster footage was utilized in certain promotions for this movie, though I haven't seen that for myself.)
The other major computer set-piece (and oh, are there plenty) is God's destruction of the Colosseum. Gotta go that GLADIATOR one better, eh?
I've got nothing against Christians (being one myself), but I've got to agree that the fact that they're downplaying the Christian aspects of this movie indicates some understanding about the public-at-large's reaction to the term "Christianity." The Bible is interpreted for convenience (this end-time movie completely leaves out the "rapture" phenomena so crucial to most of the others, for instance)--and doesn't even mention the names "Jesus" or "Christ!" Or "Antichrist," for that matter--I just used it myself, while characters in the film just say things like "I know who you are." Stone rails at the "Nazarene" just like Damien did in the third OMEN film (yep, again), and the word "Christ" does make it on screen at the very end in the context of a Bible verse.
Hey, they try--and this is a horror film, no two ways about it. It also contains more action than all four Wacky Mac films (the Cloud Ten productions with Nick Mancuso as Antichrist Franco Maccalousso) put together. And the Christian Right complains about violent Hollywood films?!
I know--this one wants to be a deep, meaningful... TRUTHFUL experience to bring out the Christian supposedly hiding within each of us. The problem is, believe in the end-times prophecies or not, any dramatization is still going to be judged as an entertainment. So it's still an Antichrist film. And if THE OMEN is a horror film, then so is MEGGIDO. And though I can't take it seriously, I'll still take it over VALENTINE. 'Nuff said?