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observation notes: Countdown:Jerusalem(Armageddon)

Don't let the headline confuse you: most often this film goes by its proper name, Countdown: Jerusalem, although on occasion, especially when a part of a multi-pack DVD, it can be found as Countdown: Armageddon. The name change is the only difference between the two. 

Another in the Faith Films line, this one opens with a montage of news footage beginning with the creation of the State of Israel in the late 1940's, and progressing from there forward through the decades, tracing natural, climatological, economical and social disasters right up until the present day, our modern era, when, as a stunning miracle to oppose all the horror we've just seen unfold, that ever-elusive Peace in the Middle East has just been declared. As though commentary on the improbability of this pax, instantly there begins from every corner of the globe earthquakes, tornadoes, explosions, mass destruction and carnage. Caught in the middle of this inexplicable, cataclysmic turmoil is TV reporter Allison (Kim Little). When her young daughter Mary (Ms. Little's real-life daughter Audrey Latt) disappears from a single-entrance bathroom following a sonic boom of sorts, escalating catastrophes worldwide lead her to Israel and the discovery of an apocryphal conspiracy set to eradicate all of humankind, a.k.a. the end of days.

Kim Little as the lead - arguably her biggest role since Killers 2, and certainly since Supercroc - plays her as highly-motivated, equal parts workaholic divorcee and devoted mother, driven and concerned; the result is the portrait of a skilled professional with an emotional impetus to get to the truth. Ms. Little here reminds us why she's the original Queen B and the First Lady of The Asylum: she's emotionally versatile, intelligently formidable, erudite and utterly relatable. 

Another notable in the cast is Clint Browning (Street Racer, The Terminators, Mega Piranha), who plays a sort of holy warrior; that is, a man with a fighter's disposition but a faithful soul. As a guardian figure of sorts to Ms. Little's character, he's an almost-angelic figure. I half expected him to sprout wings at a point, so effective was Mr. Browning's portrayal, an effective juggling of soft-spokenness and unflinching capability. Also handing in a convincing performance is Russell Reynolds (Dragonquest, The Terminators) as the head of an Israeli underground sort-of spiritual brigade, more military than CB, a nice balance in the spectrum of fervency to the other actor's position of thoughtful warrior.

Overall, I found this to be an intense, interesting film, part political thriller, part religious disaster flick woven into a winding plot with twists both secular and holy, creative an effective adventure rife with a multitude of massive FX courtesy of Tiny Juggernaut that include seas turning to blood, a slew of natural disasters, helicopters, crumbling buildings, mass panic and all sorts of other goodies. The tornadoes were especially impressive.

C:J(A) was directed by A.F. Silver, whose only other credit comes as the cinematographer of Sherlock Holmes (which leads me to believe it could be a nom de plume), and written by Jose Prendes (Haunting of Winchester House) from a story by David Michael Latt. The former gentleman's use of light and exquisite framing really elevates this above your run-of-the-mill direct-to-DVD actioners, while the latter gentleman's delicate handling of the script manages to turn in a religious film whose message, while apparent, isn't too heavy-handed, and in fact comes across no different from any other hero's personal philosophy in any other action film - e.g. Bruce Willis' die-hard devotion to a wife he isn't with anymore, Spiderman's great power/great responsibility spiel - only with, you know, 2,000 years of context backing it up. Make no mistakes, whatever the title, this is definitely a religious film; its enjoyability, however, is not exclusive to religious viewers.  

Countdown: Whichever You Call It is built upon a layered story expertly brought to life by a competent and impassioned cast and all overseen by a sharp direction that ties it all together. Definitely worth a watch.

1 comment:

  1. Overall I also really enjoyed this flick. Kind of Asylum's take on the Left Behind idea, although the ending did leave me a tad confused and scratching my head a bit.