Six: The Mark Unleashed
by Jef Burnham
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Remember when Jesus turned all the Christians invisible so they could escape the Romans and the only Christians who died did so because they really, really wanted to, even though they had plenty of chances to escape? Well, of course not! That would be absurd. These things could only happen in the overtly preachy, not-so-futuristic future world of Six: The Mark Unleashed!
Six: The Mark Unleashed is a lot like Stuart Gordon’s Fortress, if you took out everything cool about Fortress and substituted the missing bits with sequences of characters getting saved, a la the Left Behind series. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) plays a non-believer who attempts to infiltrate New Jesus’ posse by going to prison, if that makes sense, in order to assassinate the New Jesus. The prisons in the future are populated by Christians, all of whom are happy to be beheaded by the Anti-Christ world leader, known as “Leader.”
Stephen Baldwin, known best for heading up the casts of many a soft core porno, plays a preacher/prophet, of all things. Thanks to Baldwin’s character, there are long sequences of plot-stunting, disconnected Bible readings and discussions, which again have little to nothing to do with the story. And somehow the Christians in the prison get away with covering the walls with Bible verses, which are constantly being read aloud by anyone who happens by. Why the prison bigwigs never thought to paint over this is a mystery.
However, all of this is ignoring the bigger mystery within Six: The Mark Unleashed: Is this thing supposed to be good for Christians? Sure, in the film they are up against the Anti-Christ and their deaths and suffering are all in the name of God, but what are the practical applications? Since there is no telling who the Anti-Christ will be at first glance (assuming he has not already come and gone as some believe), are Christians supposed to roll over and let themselves be tortured and murdered by any random oppressor who happens along? Make a short mental list of dictators who committed genocide. In the face of these men, who proved not to be the Anti-Christ, is it right that men should let themselves die without resistance when their fight might save the lives of another or maybe hundreds or thousands? Jesus is only supposed to come back in the time of the Anti-Christ. The rest is left to us.
There are nothing but philosophical dead-ends here. But maybe it’s pointless to fixate so much on the philosophy of a film that showcases perhaps the most ineptly shot and least exciting car chase and prison escape sequences I’ve ever encountered. I mean, this is a film that is intended to inspire spiritual exultation in the viewer, yet asserts that in the future mutant soldiers will be bred who can smell Christianity. Christianity is not a physical thing! It’s abstract! Abstracts do not have scents!
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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