Andrew Cheney, John Rhys-Davies, Kara Killmer. Action adventure with faith-based themes. Written by Paul McCusker. Directed by Chad Burns.
FILM SYNOPSIS: Itís the 1700s and William Reynolds is a scallywag mercenary who escapes being murdered by his treacherous English loyalist employer. He then takes on the disguise of a vicar and falls in love with a lady before his treacherous employer catches up. He must then escape to the colonies, where he is befriended by Ben Franklin and becomes the Highwayman, a Zorro-like masked vigilante who brings truth, justice and the American way to the colonies. Or, something like that. Itís supposed to be an action-adventure, faith-based film, fueled by lots of battles, explosions, and James Bond derring-do, while slipping in a bit of Gospel every now and then.
PREVIEW REVIEW: Just as pastors have struggled with how to get young people into the pews, Christian filmmakers seek ways to lure this generation back to films containing faith-based themes. How else? Why, the action-adventure, of course. They have forgotten one little thing, however. In this day when we are overrun by major studio-made superhero-comic-books-come-to-screen-life blockbusters, you really need a huge budget and superstar moviemakers to carry it off. Otherwise you get, well, a pretentious, uninspired script, unimaginative cinematography, a blah leading man and a mustache-twirling villain who frightens no one.
Itís a miss, anyway you look at it. The drama is overly familiar, the humor is clumsy, and its spiritual message is overshadowed by Syfy Channel-like effects and a wobbly handheld camera
Itís too early to name this the worst of the year. But without question, if remembered at all, Beyond the Mask will certainly be a contender.
I know it seems like a harsh review for those attempting to incorporate a Christian message within their film, but we are now facing a trend within the faith-based film community. While these production companies are seeking ways to appeal to moviegoers of today by taking on the action-adventure genre, they expect you to pay the same price youíd pay for Hollywood productions. We complain about the mediocrity of much of todayís cinema, yet Christian filmmakers are hoping youíll buy their lackluster movies simply because the words ďFaith-basedĒ are attached. I fear business has trumped artistry and message.
While I feel the following DVD alternatives have their weaknesses, still they have an impact. The filmmakers were a bit more successful with adapting their messages within the action genre. Hope youíll read the reviews.