There have always been films that focused on the scenario of a seemingly hopeless apocalypse. In hindsight, apocalyptic concepts provide unique, horrifying, intense and authentic perspectives of a hypothetical circumstance surrounding the end of the world.
The overall theme of the apocalypse simply fits the art of telling stories whether in cinema, video games, literature or even music. Having been raised in a Christian household myself, I have some basic familiarity with Bible Scriptures. One of the main portions of the Bible that a significant number of people in the world are familiar with are the final pages of Revelations.
Revelations serves as obvious inspiration of a series of books titled "Left Behind," a Christian-based suspense thriller that has a collection of 16 novels that present a hypothetical action-based scenario of the world experiencing the end times of Biblical proportions. Such circumstances involve the creation of a one-world government and currency, vanishings and a seemingly peaceful leader that is the Antichrist. Actor Kevin Sorbo, who gained fame from appearing in "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Andromeda," spearheaded a new project titled "Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist," which received a limited theatrical release.
Serving as a direct sequel to the 2014 film titled "Left Behind," this continuation of the story features an entirely new cast with Kevin Sorbo, Neal McDonough, Corbin Bernsen and Chase Bailey. The film explores the world reacting to the events of the Rapture and how the government and media use the vanishings as a means of creating new and horrifying stories, shepherding new economic policies and how society is forced to examine itself in ways which weren't thought possible in a mental or spiritual sense.
Sorbo portrays Rayford Steele, a pilot who remains haunted after several passengers on his plane have vanished. Remembering the words of his wife, who along with their son was taken during the Rapture, he is forced to accept what he initially shrugged off as sensationalized stories. From the onset, this film begins full throttle and remains captivating for the viewer.
The interesting details are how there are certain events that coincide with similar parallels that have occurred in the past and are occurring in the present. Forms of dark imagery intertwining with actual real-life events and tragedies intentionally create thought-provoking details for those witnessing the unfolding of the story itself. Despite having never read the novels or watched the previous films, I must admit that being part of this experience has me very interested in reading the novelizations when the chance arrives.
"Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist" was a surprise for me on many levels. Admittedly, I haven't watched many Christian-based films throughout my life. Only ones of remembrance were "The Omega Code" and "The Omega Code II: Meggido," both of which present a similar scenario involving Revelations. What's fascinating is how Sorbo, even with his born-again Christian beliefs, manages to present a film that serves as an inspirational tale of hope, unity and belief, whereas the story can be appealing to an audience not familiar with the original story. Being able to carefully tread that line without being overly political, preachy or patronizing often tends to be tricky for storytellers in the cinema world. He successfully brought to life an entertaining presentation that can, will and should appeal to both audiences.
The dialogue is meticulously written with intelligence and complexity, and the acting is authentic, organic and impactful with the actors and actresses involved displaying sincere emotions of hope, sadness, confusion, fear and determination in surviving the horrors transpiring before their eyes. Once again, all credit goes to Sorbo for bringing to life a story that won't alienate any portion of the audience.
Given his limited amount of screen time, Bailey portrays Nicholae Carpathia, the Antichrist from biblical prophecy. He provides the perfect amount of charm, calmness, morbid humor and sinister nature of his agenda, making his performance all the more terrifying. One of the key elements of a remarkable actor is being able to perfectly carry out simmering, silent rage. As I sat there completely captivated by his performance, it dawned on me the absolute realization of how talented of an actor Bailey is. Most actors tend to overact to the point of chewing scenery, and while that works in some stories, at some point being overly dramatic and humorous tends to lose the true intention in presenting a calm, collected source of an individual with terrifying intentions.
He carries himself with the impeccable amount of the audience immediately understanding there's a presence about Nicholae that's not admirable under any circumstances. Every scene builds upon the next without becoming boring. Most religious-inspired films become bogged in the details, whereas "Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist" doesn't exhibit any of those issues.
There's suspense, horror, action, comedy and messages of hope, unity and victory in uncertain dark times that can leave a person, community or the entire world in a helpless and reprobate state. I found "Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist" to be one of the more organic, honest and realistic perspectives of what the world could become if the Apocalypse were to occur now. One of the most powerful and exciting adventures in my experience. Highly recommended. I hope Fathom Events extends its theatrical run, as it's required viewing in my eyes.
"Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist" receives a 10/10 and two-thumbs-up verdict from me. Find a way to watch this film. My next review is going to focus on the thriller titled "A Knock At The Cabin."
Isaiah Ridley works at Beacon Cinemas in Sumter. To watch his movie reviews online, find him @Izzy's Cinematic Escape on YouTube.
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