Six: The Mark Unleashed
by Phil Boatwright

Stephen Baldwin, David A. R. White, Kevin Downes, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Eric Roberts. Affirm Films. End-Times action drama. Written by Fletcher Grayson, Chipper Lowell. Directed by Kevin Downes. Available on DVDfrom Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Not rated, this preachy Armageddon-themed action drama concerns a group of freedom fighters attempting a prison escape in order to bring down the ruthless “Leader,” who has outlawed Christianity. The DVD contains scads of violence, including several scenes featuring people being tortured and some beheaded (off camera). I felt the makers of Six were attempting to satisfy young audiences who have become so used to excess in movies that they expect it.

The cast includes Stephen Baldwin of the Baldwin acting dynasty. A devout Christian, Mr. Baldwin uses the character and the film to proselytize, while doing his best to give a sincere performance. Despite Baldwin’s earnestness, however, I felt detached. Nothing moved me emotionally. Later that evening, I viewed an old Humphrey Bogart film called Deadline U.S.A. Bogey played a crusading editor attempting to save his struggling newspaper. Watching Mr. Bogart’s film, I kept wishing Six: The Mark Unleashed had the same skill applied to its story and production. Now, before you say, “Well, that film had a major studio behind it,” let me ask, is it just a big budget or the presence of a legendary movie star that brings legitimacy to a film? Of course not. But it takes more than just the desire to bring people to the Lord to make a movie. I’ve seldom seen a successful production where message was allowed to override story. Less is more, as the saying goes, and often a bit of subtle dramatization can make an emotionally profound statement.

Of course, I’ve just given you my opinion. Is should be noted that Six: The Mark Unleashed has been well-received by others. Many involved in its production are brothers in the Lord and most are far more talented than I. Therefore, it’s difficult for me to say anything negative about the production. And in its defense, I’m told the DVD is selling well. The bonus features contain a commentary tract with director Kevin Downs and a making of featurette.