To a lot of people, the idea of putting in a Christian film isn’t exactly the best representation of a good time. At least, that’s what I thought when I popped Rogue Saints into my DVD player this afternoon. Just goes to show that nothing is ever as bad as it seems, unless we’re speaking about the 2003 disaster known as Gigli because that was as bad as it seemed, but I digress.
Adam Lubanski brings us a film about a diamond heist in a church. Simple enough, right? Well, not the way Lubanski does it. When childhood friends Nick and Dylan each happen to find themselves strapped for cash at the same time, the two find one another after years apart and remember an old story of a diamond as big as a fist that is buried under a church. Nick convinces Dylan to join him in the search for the diamond, so the two enlist as the church custodians to mask their mission. With just one month to retrieve the treasure, the pair works tirelessly to get their hands on it and restore order to their lives. What they don’t realize is the affect the church and its intricate family will have on them.
Rogue Saints manages to take a well thought out script, and for the most part strongly written thanks to Dave Brunk, and create something that people might not expect- a good film. The word good is used over great because to achieve great a movie needs the help of great acting, which is a department that Rogue Saints falls short in. John Wu (Nick) and Jason Pead (Dylan) and the rest of the supporting cast try their best to deliver to the audience and convince us that they really are these characters, which they manage to do somewhere within the last five minutes. Until that point, their lack of conviction to their characters doesn’t fool anyone and at times it becomes awkward to watch them try. To the credit of Pead, he manages to grow throughout the film, which can be attributed to the fact that his character has a chance to start to do early on, while Wu’s Nick is left on the sidelines up until the film’s climax. Pead plays the lighthearted wanderer well and probably triumphs most out of the cast because of his comedic timing. Wu on the other hand comes off as straining to convince himself he really is Nick, a man struggling with the loss of his wife and a bank account that is lower than what this film’s budget was.
Somewhere along the way, Rogue Saints sneaks in a solid Christian message that will surprise those who aren’t looking for it. Underneath the comedy and adventure aspect, is a heartwarming film that depicts what a church community really is like. It’s the little elements that make this movie shine like the diamond they’re in search of, such as the church traffic assistant and his mini battles with Nick over where to park, or the slightly subtle use of sugar cubes and how multiple characters like to build things with them throughout the film’s entirety. That last reference brings about the best quote that can describe the movie itself: “If you don’t have a good foundation, there’s not much you can build.” Well, Rogue Saints has a solid foundation in its script and the passion this cast and crew put behind it, but it lacks support in certain areas when it needs it most. At times, the script comes across as just that- a script. In order to look past that a scene needs to rely on its characters to carry it through, which is something that they lack at times. I speak directly to one of the opening scenes where Nick and Dylan reconnect for the first time via video chat. This scene was one of the most awkward to watch and it came at a time when both Wu and Pead needed to great in it, because it will begin the set up of the story.
Another place where the support is lacking comes from the musical score. Michael Vossler’s music does a fine enough job fitting in at the right moments, but it also sticks out like a gray cloud on a sunny day at other times. Some scenes the music that backs it just does not fit at all and because of this it directly affects the scene and how the audience is going to perceive it.
Rogue Saints markets itself as “a Christian film unlike anything you’ve ever seen before,” which is certainly the case. Despite the areas where it lacks conviction and true character, it makes up for with sincerity and warmth.
Rogue Saints has a run time of 103 minutes and is Not Rated.