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The Omega Code

video review out of 4 Movie Review: The Omega Code

Starring: Casper Van Dien, Michael York
Director: Robert Marcarelli
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: October 1999
Genres: Action, Religion, Suspense, Thriller

Review by Lancer
No Rating Supplied

Early on in the film _The Omega Code_, the Casper Van Dien (_Starship Troopers_) character, Gillen Lane, describes to a talk-show audience the method behind the so-called "Bible Code" (an actual movement that thrives in conservative Christian groups today): by treating the original Hebrew of the Bible as a sort crossword puzzle, one can discern the future set forth by God Almighty, and plan accordingly. When Michael York (the _Austin Powers_ films), who plays the shifty Stone Alexander, gains control of the secret behind the "code", the stage is set for a slow and confusing confrontation between good and evil that makes one wish early on for God's mercy.

The acting in this film is mediocre at best, though one gets the feeling early on that the writing and characterization of the film are to blame more than the actors. Are we really to believe that Lane, who looks no older than 30, is really a Cambridge-trained double-PhD-turned-motivational speaker?!? Of course no amount of writing could have helped Devon Odessa ("My So-called Life"), who played Lane's wife. Even Michael Ironside (_Starship Troopers_, _Total Recall_), who excels at playing icy, standoffish characters, seemed confused at times.

About half-way through _The Omega Code_, we're fed a sequence where a printer runs off the latest interpetation of the "Bible Code", followed by the actual events taking place. For example, we see a print-out that reads something like "Seven Important World Leaders Pledge to Follow Evil Nefarious Character." The scene then jumps to seven well-dressed people who speak with accents talking to a smug Alexander. This doesn't happen once; it happens time after time, as though the writers didn't know what to do to advance the plot beyond paraphrasing Bible passages from Revelation on an ink-jet and then staging the event on film.

The weakness of this directing ploy (if one can call it that) is that there's very little character development, a fact that makes the whole cast little more than cardboard cut-outs in a giant Sunday School lesson. For examples, Lane's wife and daughter, though he twice leaves them in the name of his career-- the second time for over three years-- are always happy to see him. Michael Ironside's character Dominic, who at one point seems to resent his boss Alexander, later appears as a loyal lackey, no questions asked regarding the events of thirty minutes ago. (Also, does Lane's daughter, a young pre-teen girl at the start of the film, ever age? At least four years pass from start to finish, though she looks the same at age 7 as at age 11!)

As mentioned above, the writing is weak at best. In a particular scene, we find out that Lane's latest brush with authorities was only a dream. But how much? It's never made clear what we, as the audience, are to now regard as having been a dream, and what was/is real. Not that it matters-- Lane, though a wanted criminal in a world run by a unified government, can apparently travel from Rome to LA to Jerusalem without trouble on several occasions, so past run-ins with the law are of little concern to the movie-viewer.

Poor acting, poor writing, and poor plot. It's almost ironic that such a film would try and make an appeal to the American Christian community at-large. Christians proclaim that their faith springs from the work of a wonderful God who does wonderful works. One could only hope that the next time the Christian community tries to produce a film, they try and follow their example a little bit better.

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