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After being tortured and beaten within an inch of his life, ex-preacher Jacob Divine returns to his hometown in hopes of starting a new life. He soon finds comfort in the loving arms of his new wife and a rekindled relationship with his father…but this peace is short lived. Confronted with the hostile resentment of his older brother and the violent attacks of a local drug dealer, Jacob must come to terms with his dark past or risk losing everything again.
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Top Customer Reviews
He did an outstanding job with the stunts and martial arts work. No, the film is not perfect, but I like the way he added the
story Jesus told of the Prodigal son and made this the movie's central theme. (Luke 15: 11-32) The camera work could have been
a little better in terms of clean lenses and shakiness, and it had a video look, but overall, a great achievement. I thought the
acting was fine and I look forward to him making more action / martial arts films, as Mr. Jackson's martial art work are first rate!
The story: years after preacher-turned-Special Ops soldier Jake (Jackson, Eternal Gangstas) left his life of killing behind for the sake of a woman (Danya Wilson, "The Changers"), he's unexpectedly caught up in a drug deal being led by an old rival (Jefro Hoskins). Targeted by killers both amateur and professional, he will need to fall back on his martial talents to protect his family and himself.
Literally the only highlight the film possesses is its main star, so let's consider his strengths. For one thing, D.A. Jackson can do a great scowl, and does it in almost every scene of the movie. Just look at the DVD cover; wouldn't that face even intimidate the devil? So he's got that down. More importantly, he's a great martial artist and stuntman. I have no knowledge regarding his real-life experience, but at his best, the man's up there with Matt Mullins and Marko Zaror for raw prowess in both forms and acrobatics. In terms of stuntwork, he's even more notable. At one point, he climbs on top of a moving car and jumps onto another - twice. Earlier, he does the standard run-over-a-car-speeding-at-me but finishes it with a friggin' cartwheel off the trunk of the vehicle. In addition to his flying kicks and flipping, his eight fight scenes occasionally display a kind of brutal efficiency that reminds me of earlier Steven Seagal films - not always showy but almost always well-choreographed when it comes to individual moves. It's a shame that, like much of the rest of the movie, the fights are unsurely shot, over-edited, and have very little ebb or flow to them so they eventually begin to drag until you just wish it would end.
Jackson's good enough at supplying the kicks, but considering that he's also the film's writer and director, he's not very good at holding the audiences' attentions. The movie is divided into artsy "verses," but the placement of these is pretty random. The opening scenes in which Jake's past is explored are collectively five times longer than they should be, and the rest of the picture moves at a schizophrenic's pace - speeding forth at breakneck speeds, backing up at random, and slamming on the breaks at will. The ease of editing that digital film offers filmmakers these days gives rise to a lot of amateurish spur-of-the-moment inserts, like repetitive musical clips and a plethora of voiceovers more obvious than in any recent Seagal movie. The cinematography and filming quality is poor: it's all that the cameramen didn't just ditch their tripods and freehand it. Some of the characters are plain weird, like Jeff Hoskins' villain who gets upset because Jake is reading the Bible instead of drinking at one of their after-assignments parties. The film goes into total high-on-acid mode when, to escape a gang of murderous rednecks, Jake hops a fence and winds up in the middle of a backyard wrestling match being filmed by several masked weirdoes, who immediately jump him, and he eventually needs to defend himself against a tall guy with a wobbly belly who swings a pair of nunchukas. You'd think something like that would at least be interesting in an absurdist sense, right?
If he were snatched up by a big studio and took some acting lessons, D.A. Jackson could conceivably replace Wesley Snipes in Hollywood's action department. However, as things stand now, this is hands-down one of the worst martial arts films I've ever seen played with a straight face. I haven't read Jackson's Triduanus, but the man better stick to writing novels for now because it can't possibly be as bad as this movie.