Judgment


Judgment

aka Apocalypse IV: Judgment

2001
Directed by André van Heerden

Apocalypse IV Judgment
God’s calling. He wants to know if our fridge is running…

Judgment is not a film I would normally watch, because my recent film watching days have been filled with more obscure stuff from around the globe, and the time I’ve spent on direct to video fun has been limited at best. But thanks to my affiliation as a member of the Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit (aka M.O.S.S.), we did a Secret Santa where I was gifted this awesome DVD from Carol at The Cultural Gutter. And if you don’t read The Cultural Gutter, you are missing out. You should probably read it almost as much as you read this site! Other M.O.S.S. Secret Santa adventures can be found at this link. Go there to read and listen as M.O.S.S. members get sent things they wouldn’t normally review.

Christian rapture cinema has a not very long history, but has left behind a collection of films of various quality. I have watched a fair number of these from around a decade ago, when they were all over the local video stores. I can say that Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 is awesome. It’s everything you want your Rapture Cinema to be. Even the big guns like the Left Behind series of films (starring Kirk Cameron and from the same production company as the Apocalypse series) pale in comparison. Judgment is the fourth film in the Apocalypse series, and I have not seen the others. With the advent of digital cameras, the amount of Christian films have exploded in recent years, as have the amount of Rapture films. But beyond the few that make interesting trailers on YouTube, the films are largely ignored by the general movie going public, though a few breakout recent Christian films include C Me Dance, Three, and Suing the Devil.

Apocalypse IV Judgment
We may be poor, but we got lots of lightbulbs on strings!

The continuity of the Apocalypse series is suspect at best. By the end of the previous film, former journalist Helen Hannah was executed but also released tapes of the Antichrist saying all his followers are idiots who will burn in Hell, and they begin to protest against him. All that protest stuff is forgotten, the people still love Franco Macalousso with only the few Christian rebels left to offer any resistance. Helen Hannah is saved from death for the trial plot.

I know it is not this movie’s purpose to be a deep philosophical source of arguments for or against the existence of God, but the trial format and the actual arguments introduced on both sides force a comparison of the arguments. To be fair, the arguments presented by both sides are largely shallow, targeting strawmen or misquotes, and some arguments aren’t even addressed or just dismissed without reason. The popcorn philosophy does have to be mentioned, even if it’s in a popcorn website response, because we got better things to do than to turn this site into a scholarly religious website. So microwave some popcorn before you read on. We’ll wait. Doo-do-do-do-dooo-do-dooo…. Got your snack food? Let’s begin!

Apocalypse IV Judgment
The People’s Court: The Next Generation

Mitch Kendrick (Corbin Bernsen) – Embittered lawyer who looks out for Number One, and I don’t mean Will Riker. Blackmailed into defending Helen Hannah at the Trial of the Century. Doesn’t buy into that Jesus stuff, and also doesn’t buy into that Anti-Christ stuff. I like to think this is Corbin Bernsen’s character from L.A. Law, because that would be cool.
Victoria Thorne (Jessica Steen) – The prosecuting attorney on the case Humankind vs. Hannah and Jesus. The kind of prosecutor that would let OJ Simpson walk.
Helen Hannah (Leigh Lewis) – Former reporter and Christian resistance member who has been captured by Franco Macalousso and will be used in his latest scheme, a goofy show trial!
J.T. Quincy (Mr. T) – A Christian trying to live under the tyrannical rule of Franco Macalousso, and a man of action. Violent action! Mr. T is freaking awesome, and I pity the fools who don’t like Mr. T. Because they are stupid.
Franco Macalousso (Nick Mancuso) – OMG it’s Lucifer! The most evil world leader ever. How this guy is so charismatic he controls the world, I’ll never know. But then, a lot of evil politicians have massive support in real life, so maybe it’s like that.
Apocalypse IV Judgment
Could God make a creek so full of crap even he couldn’t be up it without a paddle? We’ve just prove God is fake, hail Satan!

One more thing, Kate Mulgrew is supposed to be in this film as an extra, but try as I might, I can’t find her at all! If anyone knows where she is, give us a comment! I think she’s probably in one of the trial crowds.

Franco Macalousso has united the world in a one world government called One Nation Earth (O.N.E.). Because he’s the Anti-Christ! Seriously. The first film in the series had the Rapture happen, and since then we’ve gone all book of Revelations. They even call him Lucifer occasionally, though I’m not sure why.

Apocalypse IV Judgment
There has got to be a better way to cut fingernails…

Christians who are still around are branded Haters, because they are said to hate mankind. Exactly why they are persecuted I am not sure, because they don’t seem to be doing much of anything. It’s just because Macalousso is a jerk and a cartoon villain. All he needs is a big mustache to twirl when he’s torturing Christians.

I think the label “haters” is sort of funny. Because haters gonna hate. But from how much people on Twitter keep yakking about haters, it’s probably the best choice ever for a slur. Helen Hannah is branded the hater we should hate the most, which is good because it is alliteration. The Bible is banned because Macalousso wanted to go all Fahrenheit 451 on this bitch.

There are only a few resisters left, who we are told by the news bomb things like hospitals, which is totally what you need to do to get people to your side! Granted, that’s the point, as we find out later the resistance isn’t bombing things, it is all a frameup by the evil O.N.E. government.

Apocalypse IV Judgment
As the non-stop action continues, Corbin proves he paid admission to the club for readmittance.

Everyone has the Mark of the Beast on their hand to do business, or you get shut out of buying goods and services. For some reason, all these awful people have decided that creating a black market/under the table economy for unmarked people is just too immoral for them to bother with, so there is no alternative except begging. The Mark is a black triangle with three 6’s in it in a stylized pattern. Completely cartoonish.

Macalousso is mad that no one is snitching on the resistance Christian groups anymore. Don’t you know snitches get stitches? To keep things interesting, he decides to put Helen Hannah on trial, she is a former reporter turned religious activist from the previous films. Franco personally stops the guillotine from chopping off her head with his hand, so he can do this trial business. Thankfully, the guillotine blade is as sharp as a hacky sack and does no damage to Macalousso, and probably would do nothing to Hannah except slightly annoy her. THE ANTI-CHRIST!!!

Lawyer Mitch Kendrick is recruited to do the defense by Macalousso’s assistant, Victoria Thorne. Mitch is a former lover of Victoria Thorne, and she knows a few secrets over him that help force him to do the trial. Mitch’s dad was a Pastor who led a church and Mitch defended him when he was put on trial by O.N.E. Why Mitch’s dad didn’t go to Heaven during the Rapture is not explained.

Apocalypse IV Judgment
For only having one government, there sure are a lot of laws!

The entire trial is to be scripted as a gigantic show to drum up more hatred of the Haters and get people to narc them out. Hannah is charged with hatred of humanity – the world’s highest crime. Yes, in the One Nation Earth, hatred of people is bad, so I guess whiny goth/emo kids are shot on sight. No wonder Macalousso is so popular! One wonders how this film would had looked had this film been made a few years later after reality tv became more normal. As for the trial, imagine the most ridiculous show trial you ever did see. Then kick it up a notch, because that’s where we are. We got armed guards all over, an audience watching from up on high who scream down “BOOOOOOOO!!!”s and taunts at the accused, and even throw trash at the chained prisoner. The judge is also on a high pedestal. When a witness is sworn in, instead of swearing on the bible, they swear on a scroll of something or other. They also say “For the unity of all people” at the end of “nothing but the truth” instead of “so help you God”.

Prosecutor Victoria Thorne starts with some crazy analogy of boat Earth, which is so moving it causes one audience member to go nuts and charge Helen with a knife. But he’s just arrested. Mitch then figures out a way to flip the script and make this the showiest show trial that ever did show trial. He says Helen is just a pawn, we must put God on trial! Of course, he’s yanked into judge’s chambers to get yelled at, but Franco is there like a bad super-villain, the chair slowly turning around to show his surprise appearance. There ain’t no subtlety in Judgment. Franco is all for putting God on trial, because he can’t see at all how this could go bad.

Apocalypse IV Judgment
I got your phallic symbol right here, buddy!

For the Christian Resistance Groups, we see them briefly as the trial action continues. Most notably, Mr. T is a member and he’s dedicated to action, wanting to bust Helen out of jail. His wife Sherry says “you’re gonna make me a widow!” Mr. T is sick of sitting on his hands and waiting for God, goes out to do something, including getting a fake Mark of the Beast. The doctor who gives him the Mark is killed seconds later by O.N.E. agents. In fact, what Mr. T does most is get people around him killed. He recruits some homeless people without Marks to help with promises of food, but one quits in fear and the other gets killed the second Mr. T starts his breakout plan. O.N.E. agents even raid the hideout, and Mr. T’s wife is killed and dozens of cgi boxes are exploded. We at TarsTarkas.NET mourn the death of the digital cardboard. Mr. T gives us some good quotes like “If those 6-6-6es are set on going to Hell, I say why not help send them there!” – which he says right after pulling out a machine gun. Then Mr. T then quotes Edmund Burke like it was from the bible. Finally, he says “It ain’t God’s world anymore, it belongs to the Devil!” What is weird is he is sort of right, since this is post-Rapture, it is Satan’s world. But if we’re following the Bible here, shouldn’t we all be aware of that fact, and not try to stop the Anti-Christ, but just try to convert as many people as possible before it all ends? All you need to do is show how closely things are following the Bible. It’s not rocket surgery, it’s brain science!

CGI Box Explosion 411
[FLOWPLAYER=http://tarstarkas.net/movies/judgment_clip1.flv,540,385]
Helen tells Mitch that Franco is framing the Christians so they can be wiped out and Satan gets all the love. Helen gets Mitch to email the Resistance – good thing no one thought to bug Mitch’s email! The Resistance sends him a video of O.N.E. agent exposing how they framed the Haters for bombings. Victoria tries to get Mitch to get Helen to name names, and we find out Victoria was the one who turned in Mitch’s dad, and was dating Mitch at the time. That’s certainly the way to get your boyfriend to like you more, get his father murdered! Mitch reveals to Helen he has a fake Mark, because he only believes in himself. And Victoria knows this as well, that’s how she blackmailed him to take the case.

Back at the trial, we find out from a general that Franco has created world peace. We also bring in an annoying Italian stereotype who had his paralysis cured by the science of Franco. Evil science. BOOOOOOOOO!! to science! And he has crazy psychic powers that give him the ability to make pitchers of water fall over from across the room. Yes, this guy has the powers of Roald Dahl’s Matilda! This is all thanks to Franco Macalousso, who is one of those guys who can’t see the downside to giving lots of people crazy telekenetic powers. Heck, the third movie in the series (Tribulation) has this as a major plot point. But the telekenetic people never go full out Scanners and start blowing up heads left and right. More the pity. So Italian stereotype guy is Helen’s half-brother, who we find out told him he shouldn’t have accepted Evil Science help and stayed crippled. And he says he doesn’t love his sister any more, which is shocking to everyone.

Apocalypse IV Judgment
Corbin Bernsen is Mitchell!

Victoria then calls Hannah to the stand to berate her about hating peace and never meeting God. Hannah admits she would sacrifice world peace for God. Mitch does the 2+2=5 argument, asking if you are prejudice if everyone else wants it to be 5. To deflect this, Victoria calls Jesus to the stand! This is all to get Mitch to admit Jesus is powerless to show up. Next called to the stand is Franco Macalousso, who gets a standing O from the audience. He’s also freely called Lucifer, but no one bothers to point out that makes him the Anti-Christ and Bible true. In fact, if he is Satan, then there has to be God, because where did Satan come from? “This is a real god!” says about Lucifer.

One of the Resistance group takes up to the stand, and when pressed for proof that Jesus was resurrected, she quotes that there are 500 documented accounts of seeing Jesus alive after crucifixion and that Simon Greenleaf said it was established. I am not sure if the former claim is part of the latter book or something else. This all makes Victoria look dumb in front of the whole world. The judge is made, and the directive is the trial ends tomorrow. At some point Mitch is saved from being killed by Victoria’s secret agent harasser goon by O.N.E. agents. I think Mitch gave the guy’s license plates to the agents as if they were Hater plates, but I’m not sure why he was saved. Maybe the agents were secretly good?

Apocalypse IV Judgment
Those bastards have even taken over crowded bullitine boards!

During the final day of the trial, Mitch calls Franco to witness stand again, and Franco says Jesus is a lie. Mitch puts a gun to the Anti-Christ’s head, says will call a witness who will take a bullet for Franco. If someone wants to take a bullet for Franco. No one steps forward. Odd, because usually that’s what security guards are for. Mitch says dying for someone is the greatest of sacrifices. And that Christians know the next world is better than this one, so that’s why they reject this world and Franco.

Apocalypse IV Judgment
Exhibit G, for gun!

That’s cool and all, but the big flaw in this argument is no one died for Jesus, either! In fact, Peter denied him thrice! The real way to play this would be for Mitch to get Franco to shoot himself so the would would lose the last bit of turmoil it had, the Christian resistance groups, because they’d no longer have a central figure to opposed and he’d save his followers from the “bombings”. But that ending would be very complicated to write correctly and would probably be just as lame. A real cool ending would be if Mr. T challenged Franco to a boxing match, and won, thanks to the power of God. That’s what I want to see for the next installment. Make it happen, people!

Mitch renounces mark and get arrested, and Victoria shoots him dead in court! On live tv! Well, we needed a blood sacrifice. This who thing causes the papers to declare a mistrial, while Mr. T gets Helen and another Christian out of jail in the confusion (and once he rejects using violence on a guard!) and that’s where we end. The final installment of the series has been delayed for almost a decade at the production company had a spat with one of the authors of the Left Behind series and was tied up in court. But now they have that settled and the Left Behind movie rights back, so they’re free to make some big budget Left Behind films and to finish this series up.

Apocalypse IV Judgment
We’ve determined our fridge is NOT running. Take that!

Rated 4/10 (New time, he works for chocolate, fellow hater, O.N.E. agent goon)


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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!

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