Six: The Mark Unleashed: Part 1

It’s always sad to see wasted potential.  Decent acting, a suitably spooky premise, a moody score, and the ever-popular addition of a Baldwin Brother.  And it’s all ruined by a world so poorly built (or should I say unbuilt) and a plot so damned draggy, that the movie is all but impossible to watch in a single sitting.  This movie is so confused that it appears to have confused itself.

Well, that’s it, folks—my critique of Six: The Mark Unleashed!

Har.

You know me—why would I say in four sentences what I can say in four parts?

And, shocking though it may be, there actually is some interesting stuff here.  Not very much of it, mind, and all buried under layers of boringness, but there all the same.

Six: The Mark Unleashed does itself no favors whatsoever by opening with a shot of Hitler.  No, really: after the credits, Hitler is the first person we see.

Yeah, we get it.  Hitler, the Antichrist.

And, and hey!  There’s Lenin.  Boy, they’re not into subtlety, are they?

Jesus

Jesus!

Okay, that is unspeakably goofy—stock footage of Hitler, stock footage of Lenin, cheap old movie of Jesus.  Boy, Jesus sure was a white guy, wasn’t he?

But hey, on with the show!

We keep seeing the same faces crop up again and again here at Heathen Critique, and the first person we hear is one David White, who you may remember from when he was a pimply young teen, saving his parents from the horror of divorce by keeping their unhappy marriage together through the power of his prayers.

Presumably, this is in the not-too-distant-future (next Sunday, A.D.):

Brody:  I still remember…Saturday morning cartoons, must-see TV, news—fair and balanced.  I also remember the first and second Gulf Wars, the second Great Depression, school shootings.  And the music.  It’s the music I miss the most.  There was freedom then.  Freedom to do terrible things, but freedom all the same.

A refreshiongly multi-ethnic, wide-age-ranged group of people is watching a totally futuristic recording of a young woman, introducing them to the greatness of “The Community“: a system of living in which monogamy is obsolete, and everyone can “move among partners, male or female” (gasp!).  All because of the “implant” they now have.  (The Mark of the Beast, natch.)

Brody’s voiceover continues, and he tells us of his (as yet nameless) fiancée, who was “killed in the first Purge of the Leader,” in which 80 million people were killed in just one day in the United States.  (About one quarter of our current population.  Pretty impressive, though not one word is said about how they were killed, or why the Leader ordered this Purge, or why people are now so happy to join the Community (and, indeed, we will learn that many join willingly.))

Oh well, I’m sure such details aren’t important.

Oh oh: in case we aren’t freaked out enough by the spectre of homosexuality, we are now informed that the implant also functions as birth control (gasp! choke!) and that you need permission from The Leader to spawn.

Seems like micromanaging on his part.

Still, with both teh gays and teh pill, we now know it’s serious.

More backstory on Brody: prior to the Purge and the Community, he was a “designer, engineer, and test-driver for Chevrolet.”  Really, one guy does all three of those things?  Because they’re…kinda different.

But, now that the Tribulation is upon us (though I don’t think the word is ever used in the whole course of the movie) Brody has turned that skill set to different use, by pairing up with a young hacker named Jerry.  Together, they steal high-end cars and sell them on the black market: Jerry hacks the garage’s security system, Brody does the actual sneaking in and taking of the car.

(White and Downes have co-starred before: in The Moment After and the The Moment After 2 (“The Moment After That?)  More post-Rapture fare—let me know if you’re interested in seeing me critique those!)

(Speaking of the Rapture…this movie doesn’t speak of it.  So it seems that Six: The Mark Unleashed is taking a mid-tribulation position, as opposed to our old friends LaHaye and Jenkins, who are pre-tribulationists.)

We find that The Leader is on the radio pretty much all the time (which explains Brody’s complaint about music).  This reminds me of nothing so much as the MST3k episode Stranded in Space, which also featured a totalitarian government with a totalitarian radio show.

The Leader (on the radio):  Only by seizing what we want, taking what is rightfully ours and destroying those who get in our way, can mankind truly be fulfilled.

Brody (to the radio):  Well, I’m with you there.

The Leader:  What is that fulfillment?  The deification of mankind itself.  Each one of you can become God, as I am God.  Each one of you has my spirit in you, through the holy implant.

Brody:  But you always lose me.

Damn.  Okay, I…kinda like Brody.  He makes sense.  Most of all, Brody doesn’t align himself with the implant-havers or the Christians.  He’s staked out his own damn side.

Sadly, we all know what happens when a nonbelieving character in a Christian film is sensible and sympathetic.

NOTHING GOOD.

Brody and Jerry take the car to their fence and, in what I can only hope is a moment of wit, drive past “Locust Street.”

Meanwhile, we are introduced to more characters: Dallas, who deals in black market goods, and Tom (John Winchester!), one of his suppliers.

Eric Roberts may get high billing in this movie, but don’t get attached to Dallas.  Is all I’m saying.

As Tom showcases his wares, we learn more about The Leader: that he “nuked the South all the way down to Cuba,” thus making the cigars Tom supplies that much more precious.

Tom:  I got more: five cases of banned DVDs.  You ever see Schindler’s List?

Dallas:  I never even heard of it.

Tom:  Well, it’ll make you feel like a hero.  There’s some real classics: Papillon, Braveheart, Lawrence of Arabia.

Dallas:  They any good?

Tom:  What do I look like, man, a film critic?

WAIT A SECOND

Do you see what I mean about this movie being confused?  Not ten minutes ago, Brody said he remembered both Gulf Wars, but Dallas, who has a good fifteen years on Brody, doesn’t know Schindler’s List?  Remember, none of these characters have the implant, and the implant doesn’t even have a basic memory-wiping capacity (at least, not for everyone).  So why doesn’t American Dallas know these movies?

(Another note on timelines: it can’t be that far into the future: Six came out in 2004, and Brody would have to have been born in the early 1980s, at the very latest, in order to have an independent memory of the first Gulf War.  So, again, what gives with Dallas not knowing famous movies?)

Tom’s little party is broken up by three agents of The Leader: two nameless dudes and Jessica, Tom’s ex-wife.  You see, Jessica opted for the implant and Tom did not.  Despite this (and despite referring to her as “Gestapo*”, and despite declaring that he would rather be shot than take the implant), Tom is clearly still carrying a torch for Jessica.

*See what I mean???  Tom knows what “Gestapo” means, but Dallas doesn’t know Lawrence of Arabia!

It is Dallas who is taken outside and shot—Jessica determines in approximately one second that he has been using a fake implant and only pretending to be part of The Community.  (Of course we don’t see this death—not only is this a Christian film, but it would necessitate an effects budget.)

Jessica also knows that Tom still cares for her, and is quite ready to play on this: She has an “assignment” for him…one that would allow him to see Jessica and avoid the implant and avoid death…

Cut back to Brody and Jerry, delivering the car to their fence, Tiny (the second huge-man-named-“Tiny” featured on this site!).  Like Dallas, Tiny had a fake implant, but Brody quickly sees that it has been replaced with a real one.

In another instance that I hope was wit, but was probably about padding out the running time, an “exciting” car chase ensues.  But it ends less excitingly than might be hoped…as the stolen car has almost no gas in it.  And so, Brody and Jerry end up in prison.

And I mean that very literally.  They’re pulled over—BOOM—they’re in prison.  So, no trials in Leaderville?  I assume not, but it wouldn’t hurt to say so.  Also, everyone in the prison is subject to the following bizarre time limit: choose to take the implant within three weeks of arrival, or be killed.  This is true of car thieves, like Jerry and Brody, and Christians (we’ll meet them soon).  Also, is it a crime to be a Christian, all by itself, or have the Christians all been arrested on other charges?  Also also, why is bearing a false implant subject to immediate execution, but being a Christian allows you three weeks to change your mind?

Again, I’m sure I’m thinking about this way too much.  And way more than the writers did.

But I am now distracted, because THERE’S BRAD HELLER!!!

Like so many movie torturers, this guy loves his work.  He really, really loves it.  And in case that wasn’t just enough to convince Christian viewers that he is a Bad Guy, our torturer likes to get up close and personal with his victims.

Brad

Very up close and personal

Also, the torturer’s name is Preston, but I am amusing myself by pretending that it actually IS Larry, and he never did convert after being accosted by Jesus late that one night.  And got that high-paying job he always wanted.  😉

And Larry, you know I love you, man, but that’s John Winchester you’re screwing with.  Best be careful.

Torture has apparently advanced in Leaderville: instead of actual physical tortures, you get wires attached to you and they send pain sensations to your brain—the feeling of being burned, of having skin peeled off (eww…), etc.  Tom is enough of a Manly Hero to insult his torturer, but he also cries, and I kinda like that balance.  (This is where the “Christians always forgive me when I torture them” line happens—Larry appreciates that Tom is honest about his anger.)

Out in the prison yard, Brody and Jerry and some other prisoners watch as six guys are beheaded.  Two interesting things of note here:

1.  This prison has both male and female guards, but only male prisoners

2.  They use the flimsiest plastic sheets in the world to hold the guys’ necks down before they are decapitated.

Plastic

See?  (Also, there’s the mark, in red, on the plastic-holder-thingie.)

Back in Larry’s Torture Emporium, Tom is totally broken.  That is the cue for Larry to exit and Jessica to enter as the balm.  Now that Tom is in the proper frame of mind, he immediately agrees to the assignment.

Jessica:  They want you to find a man named Elijah Cohen and kill him.

Tom (sobbing):  He’s dead.  He’s a dead man.

Huh.  Elijah Cohen?  A man The Leader wants dead?  Sounds suspiciously similar to Tsion ben-Jewishguy to me.

We end the day with Brody and Jerry in their cell.  Hilariously, the totalitarian regime sees absolutely nothing wrong with their capital prisoners decorating their cells (and I do mean every single inch of the cells) with Bible verses in many bright colors of marker.

Walls

Yeah, the guards are real hard-asses here, aren’t they?

Time for Brody to make sense again!

Brody:  *sighs*

Jerry:  You sound depressed.

Brody:  I’m a little depressed.  Something about watching people get their heads chopped off brings me down.

Jerry’s…not too swift, is he?

But hey, at least he can read the writing on the wall!  (Har.)

Jerry:  Y’know, it says over here, “If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own son, but delivered him up for us all, shall not freely give us all things.”  What do you think that means?

Brody:  I’ll tell you what it means: it means if God even exists, he murdered his own kid.  They seem to think that was good.  So he’ll let all of us be burned, too.  I didn’t see him coming to help those losers, did you?  They got their heads chopped off, and God was nowhere in sight.

Brody kicks ass.

He is so doomed.

Next time: introduction of a Baldwin Brother!

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Posted on October 21, 2014, in Movies, Six: The Mark Unleashed. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I dunno, sounds like the “fair and balanced news” the narrator misses so much is still there. That whole “Only by taking what’s rightfully ours”-bit sounds quite close to what the wackier FOX-personalities have to say. There’s just some disagreement on the details about what is rightfully who’s.

    Don’t be too hard on their lack of an explanation, Ruby. All the rapture-stories I’ve seen thus far were basically the same. The plot is always step 1: Rapture, step 2: …. step 3: Antichrist-run OWG. Just because other movies show the transition to a totalitarian dictatorship, doesn’t mean they manage to show it in a way that makes any sense.

    That whole purge must’ve been a nuclear bombardment as well. Otherwise, no way you can kill that many people in one day.

    Jessica’s his ex-wife, hmm? Interesting thought: What is a good little RTC to do if their wife were to take the mark of the beast. Or better yet, their husband. Divorce is terrible and you’re supposed to be nice and obedient to your husband’s headship… but taking the mark is also terrible.

    Sigh, did RTCs ever ask others what their ambition in life is? Have they never noticed that “becoming god” isn’t actually the driving force of everyone except them? I’m guessing it’s no on both accounts. They never noticed, and they don’t feel the need to ask. Genesis already told them that this is what satan tempts mankind with, so clearly that’s what all those satan-loving non-RTCs must have been tempted with. Why ask sinful lying humans what they think when you’ve got a holy book that tells you inerrantly what those others are thinking, right?

    • I’m too lazy to look it up, but I think there’s a bible verse in some of the Pauline writings that say you can divorce your spouse if they “fall away from the faith.” Or something like that. Either way, if your spouse deconverted, you were encouraged not to, but neverthless allowed to, divorce them.

    • That whole purge must’ve been a nuclear bombardment as well. Otherwise, no way you can kill that many people in one day.

      Are there any signs of nuclear fallout, radiation poisoning, etc. amongst the people here? I’m wondering if they borrowed some Left Behind non-radioactive nukes for this Purge.

      • I have a theory about those non-radioactive nukes in Left Behind.

        Given how little research Jenkins did for those books, I’m guessing the workings nuclear weapons in Left Behind are simply based on Jenkins’ own knowledge about how they work. Still, that’s a strange thing to get wrong. You’d think that it doesn’t matter how little Jenkins cares about science. He lived in America during the Cold war. Growing up in that time and place should make one fairly well versed in the lore of nuclear fallout if WW3 ever broke out (see also: Jesus).

        But from the dialogue it’s clear that Jenkins does know nuclear bombs and fallout are commonly associated, since Nicolae makes a point of noting that the bombs were non-nuclear. It’s just that Jenkins seems to think the fallout is optional, instead of an intrinsic side effect of the nuclear reaction that creates the blast.

        What I suspect is that Jenkins’ assumption that nukes can be used without fallout, despite knowing that everyone expects a nuclear war to create fallout is based on his theology: In Jenkins’ view, people assume that their and the enemy’s leader will always choose to use their nukes with their toggle-switch set to “Fallout on” to create prolonged devastation and misery, because that’s just what Jenkins would do. Or, at least, it’s what Jenkins believes god would do.

        Just look at Jenkins’ own writing, specifically Soon and Silenced, where god’s actions are entirely scripted by Jenkins, with no input from LaHaye’s prophecies. Whenever Paul is in trouble, god has opted for massive collateral damage and suffering, instead of precision strikes that would realistically have created far more converts. Why target only the soldiers, or create magical shields around the believers when you can wipe out an entire city? Why send a booming voice from heaven to knock it off with that loyalty oath and causing all computers and papers the oath is on to catch fire, when you can commit global genocide on the firstborn?

        Give that god a choice to deal with his enemies by simply killing them, or by killing some of them, salting their earth, blighting their land and cursing all the survivors to a slow death by plagues with nuclear fallout, and I think we all know what Jenkins’ god would choose. And then Jenkins would write a story about how one survivor converted before the radiation poisoning killed him, and how he then declared how wise and kind god was to go so far to get his attention, and how all his other former friends deserved death anyway.

  2. To be fair, the only movie mentioned that I’ve actually watched is Braveheart . . . but I’m aware of the others through social osmosis. And I remember the first Gulf War. 🙂

    • Oh, I wouldn’t care if Dallas said he had never seen them. In fact, that might be kinda cool–“Oh, I never got around to seeing the famous Schindler’s List, and now it’s banned!” But he hasn’t even heard of these movies.

      (btw, just MHO, but don’t bother with Papillon, guys–I thought it was pretty boring)

  3. Dumb question: Why is Tom being tortured? Did he refuse Jessica’s offer the first time?

    • Not a dumb question at all: it appears they tortured him solely to make him completely amenable to the scheme. In fact, they ask him no questions during the course of the torture, even though Tom fully expected to be asked about his black market contacts. But it’s all about breaking him.

  4. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is in this? But he’s had an actual career!

    “Rumour had it that eighty million people died in one day…that was just in North America.” Hmm, yeah, the Rapture would take about 76 million from the USA (assuming you get all the Southern Baptists, but 60 million of that is children anyway) but that’s a completely different thing. Remarkable coincidence of numbers, though!

    I wonder how many Elijah Cohens there are in the USA. Terminator flashback.

    Massive Retaliation Barbie: precision strikes are haard. Let’s go shopping!

    • inquisitiveraven

      Unless it was the Rapture, and the Leader’s just taking credit for it. Which is why no one talks about the Rapture. I mean it just makes sense that the Antichrist would start moving his pawns into place before the Rapture, and the Rapture itself would be the signal for his big push.

      The problem I see with that is that North America includes Canada, Mexico, and all those little countries that are collectively known as “Central America,” Depending on how successful Fundagelical missions to those countries have been, 80 million might be lowballing it.

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