A couple years back, I'd thought of trying to come up with a concept for an End Times story where the main character WASN'T a new journalist. Though I got the concept (and it would be a children's story, believe it or not), someone beat me to actually getting the story done.
Introducing Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End
First off, I'd like to mention that a part of me was hesitant on seeing this film because of the last film from Pure|Flix I saw, Saving Winston, which ended up being a Christian movie full of Christian tropes and cliches that bored me. Not only that, I'd noticed people on amazon.com hated this movie because of its violence (makes me wonder how they'd react to Jesus when He comes back in full Terminator mode like He's described in the Book of Revelations?)
(Possible spoilers ahead)
Josh is a travelling salesman on his way back to his wife and daughter and on the phone with her when two strange things happen. One is a bizarre lightning storm. Just lightning. Constant. The other, as he's pulled over when his car dies down, is some guy bumping into his car, then yells at him as if he was the one that ruined his truck. As Josh points out the error of what the guy's saying, things just about get out of control when a bike gang (who, in the initial scene, have already beaten up a federal agent and the leader says something really insightful on how backwards the world is when it comes to who's to fear and who's not) comes by. After the nonviolent skirmish, the bike gang goes off.
Josh goes into a convenience store to try another try at selling what he's selling. Then comes straightforward questions from the man he's trying to sell to. Not long after, the salesman who's "not on speaking terms" with God protects the store's owner and his granddaughter from 3 of the bike gang. From there, things get intense. And not just the constant lightning storm from nowhere, either.
Normally, when it comes to indie-made Christian flicks, I'd get really hesitant on trying them out because of the tendency to have little variety. It was only because the people expressed disdain because of the violence that I decided to try it out. Now I'm glad.
You have a trouble-making biker gang, straightforward talk about Jesus (luckily, nothing too cheesy for me to handle and it definitely hit home on a couple points about God's character), and the biker gang is as hardcore as they come (of course, there's no swearing, and in only one instance did the swearless talk come off as slightly cheesy) with their leather getups and crazy helmets. And it turns out the leader has a somewhat ambiguous relationship with one of the women (not sexual, it's hinted they're related, like father-daughter, but his crude talk shows disgust toward her).
So, basically, the bikers represent how the world is toward Christians, and accurately as well.
The violence is what would make this film PG-13 if it were rated (that and one woman mentioning that she's a drug junkie). A couple shootouts, blood mists sprays, but certainly nothing as extreme as, say, The Book of Eli (there was no dismemberment, full-framed headshots, decapitations, bloody arrow shots, etc. in this movie), but when vioelence happens, it's immediately clear what's going on.
And some of the violence is contextually clear as protecting one's family.
There are people who've shown how legalistic they are on terms with the objectionable content of this film, but I guess they miss the overall picture with an erroneous reading of the Bible.
There are moments when Josh has clear struggles with who he is (though it's never fully explained what his past was like, that's going to be shown in the sequel), and when one woman mocks him and asks "What? You found Jesus?" when he explains that he's not who he was, he says a stunner for him and explains about his wife. And the way he talks about her, it's blatantly clear how much he loves her and is not willing to compromise for anything. In that one scene, the woman throws out realistic questions that one really normally wouldn't hear in the world about how nothing in the world can change who someone really is, no matter what. After a brief fight with the woman's friend (couldn't tell if he was her boyfriend or client consider how she hints about herself), he begins to realize something about himself and, while on the phone with his wife, something weird happens.
I won't get into what happens, but if you've seen all the other End Times movies, you can figure it out easily.
When the store owner's granddaughter manages to escape from the clutches of the biker gang, she runs into an unexpected character (if you've seen The Encounter, you'll recognize him), and he performs one crazy miracle for her to let her know who he is.
If there was anything that did annoy me about this film, it would be the lighting effects from the constant lightning strikes, for they were overprocessed to the point of being obviously fake. Some of the script tended to go overboard (though not much) that showed it wasn't a major production.
Ocassionally, some stylized shots just seemed to come out nowhere. Most of them helped out with the stylizing of the action, but others simply seemed pointless.
Beyond these technical reasonings, I actually enjoyed this movie quite well.
Now to wait for the sequel.