Thursday, 3 March 2011

Review - Revelation (2001)

Filed strictly  under "I didn't know they made 'em like this any more" banner, Revelation is, sadly, not much of a revelation. Apart from the revelation that films like Revelation still get made. Or the revelation that no-one went to see Revelation, and damned what must have been quite an expensive film to the indignities of bargain basement DVD buckets and late-night showings on BBC1.
That must have been a revelation to the makers, at least.Yep, Revelation is a 21st century film made in the style of all those 70s globe-trotting Euro-pudding horror thrillers (Medusa Touch, Holocaust 2000 et al), with an assortment of mismatched Euro stars interacting with the occasional box office tempting Yank to diminishing returns (literally, in this case).
It's also a bit like a horror version of The Da Vinci Code, with lots of running about, clues to be solved and references to Mary Magdalene. And we all know that one film of The Da Vinci Code was one film too many.
This film lays its cards on the table with a quick scene of Christ on the cross, followed by a load of shenanigans with a box. This box keeps cropping up through the ages, being chased by the Knights Templar (oh no, not them again) and appearing to be led by one and the same man - Euro penis-for-hire Udo "Expose" Kier.
As we move to the present day, we are told that the box is "The Loculus" and Terence Stamp is on the verge of discovering its secrets. Stamp's character, one Lord Martell, has a shady past which has resulted in his son Jake (James D’Arcy) ending up in prison.
But now he's out, and is told by his dad: "We need your expertise with codes... this time it's perfectly legal!"
Martell has set up a team of oddballs to investigate all kinds of cosmic junk, and meanwhile a hippy bloke who also works for him has triangulated his way to Greece, where he immediately gets crucified upside-down by Udo Kier. With the hippy dead, Martell entrusts his work to Jake, passing on a CD ROM and instructions to destroy the Loculus.
As this happens, the ghostly Knights Templar attack Martell's castle and murder everyone inside (apart from Jake and his Jenny Agutter-alike love interest, a hippy chick called Myra) by nailing their burning corpses to doors and skinning Martell alive.
Jake and Myra go on the run across Europe, Jake enlisting the help of his old prison padre, Ray, who just happens to also be an ex para with access to an unlimited supply of guns and ammo (every home should have one).
After checking up on the works of Isaac Newton (played in flashback by Ron "gotta pick a pocket or two" Moody) and finding out that the great man failed to find the secret of the Loculus, they are told by Derek Jacobi to go to France. In France the trail leads  to Malta, then Turkey, where the Loculus is found in a church. But it's empty.In a Raiders Of The Lost Ark moment, Jake shoves the box into a slot in the wall and a sunbeam lights up a spot on the floor. For some reason this leads to Jake and Myra having a quick shag on the floor of the church, then they call on Ray for a bit of help (with the Loculus, not the shagging) and he turns up, suspiciously quickly.
It turns out that the Loculus itself is the important thing, not what it might or might not contain. It is held together with the very nails used to pin old Jesus to the cross, and therefore contain his DNA. Yes! It's the second coming! Or, as Ray puts it: "The age of Aquarius? The age of bollocks!"
He then nicks the Loculus and runs off to the Vatican with it, playing right into the hands of old Udo - who's there to receive it. He wants to mix his own cells with those of Jesus, clone them, and raise the resulting child evil (as you do).
There then follows a lot of mucking around and torture, a but more Raiders Of The Lost Ark sand-trap shenanigans, and when the dust clears Udo has got his child and Myra is pregnant and decided that she is actually Mary Magdalene. Then the whole thing just finishes in a hugely unsatisfactory fashion.
It's no real wonder why Revelation failed to set the box office on fire - it's a mish-mash of half-baked religious mumbo-jumbo and conspiracy theories all filmed in a TV movie style with very little sense, which leapfrogs through Europe without pausing to breathe (they literally spend about 10 seconds in Malta before buggering off to Turkey). Imagine an episode of Wish You Were Here in which Judith Chalmers is skinned alive and nailed to a door. Actually, don't imagine that, because it would be far more entertaining than Revelation.

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