Let’s take a look at the franchise and review both Revelation Road and its sequel!

Someone has a Secret.

Josh McManus (David A.R. White) has a secret, that’s who. In Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End, McManus’ secret is that he’s one bad dude. McManus is a mix of Die Hard’s John McClain, The Bourne Identity’s Jason Bourne, and the Bible’s Jesus Christ — That’s right, he kicks ass and saves souls.

But first and foremost, McManus is a salesman, selling bullet proof vests. The story takes a while to develop, but finds its pace when McManus arrives in a small town, attempting to sell vests to a gun store owner, Frank (Ray Wise). Frank encourages McManus to find his faith, especially when things turn to total chaos in Frank’s store.

A group of outlaw bikers, led by Hawg (Brian Bosworth), enter the store intent on robbing and looting it. They do not intend on leaving any witnesses; however, McManus isn’t the kind of guy that will simply lay down and die.

This is a very exciting scene where McManus explodes from bulletproof vest salesman to the special-ops, Jason Bourne-like, operative that he really is.  In fact, the filmmakers decided this scene is so good that they felt the need to show it throughout the first film, Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End, and the repeat it again in the sequel, Revelation Road 2: The Sea of Glass and Fire (also reviewed here).

Revelation Road:
The Beginning of the End
Gabriel Sabloff
David A.R. White, Brian Bosworth, Eric Roberts, Logan White
Release Date
March 2013
Influx Grade: C

McManus does, indeed, save the day, but he simultaneously calls upon the wrath of Hawg, former NFL linebacker Bosworth, and his band of motorcycle-riding rogues. These dangerous bikers go after Frank and his family, and of course, this confrontation doesn’t end well for the rogues, or for anyone who doesn’t fully believe in the Lord Almighty.

“It feels like the whole world is falling apart if you ask me. Where’d all the heroes go? What happened the titans?” asks Hawg to McManus. And this sets the stage for their conflict. “God willing there will always be a man like me to put the tyrants in their place,” responds McManus.

And then … this becomes more than your typical Death Wish vigilante movie. It becomes a supernatural, Bible-thumping, good vs. evil epic (well it attempts to be epic).

Enter the rapture (hence the name Revelation Road).  In a moment, the rapture occurs, a few bright lights flash and fade, a few minutes pass, and millions vanish but the world continues on with a Mad Max-Death Wish-The Bible vibe.

In fact, in Lord of the Rings, Twilight, Hunger Games fashion, the makers of Revelation Road felt there is such a powerful story to tell that it needs to be told over multiple movies. The end of the first one leaves the viewer without any sense of completion whatsoever and basically says, to be continued — talk about anti-rapture climactic.

Sure, the movie has the cheese piled on thicker than movie theater nachos at times, but it is also pretty entertaining, falling somewhere between a mystery, an action movie, a supernatural tale, and a Bible-thumping thriller.

Revelation Road 2: The Sea of Glass and Fire, is much of the same — literally. In fact it is filled with flashbacks that are more than flashbacks, they are replayed scenes from the first movie. These flashbacks aren’t really necessary because it’s doubtful that anyone will randomly watch the second movie without having seen the first already. Admittedly, however, that’s exactly what I did. I was so damned confused that I had to watch the first one, then the second again for it all to sort-of make sense.

And the re-cap/flashback sequence allows the filmmakers to attempt to bring new viewers up to speed and use Eric Roberts for a few more minutes (he makes a brief appearance in the first film) — at least enough to put his name in the credits.

The strangest thing about the sequel is that the rapture has just occurred but most people keep going about business as usual. People keep saying, “Things are different, now,” but they don’t really act as such. Blood isn’t raining from skies, locusts aren’t swarming the horizon, and the Anti-Christ isn’t commanding the masses, that is, unless you argue that Hawg is representative of the evil one, but that really doesn’t seem the case (and remember, I watched this movie twice).

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Bosworth’s Hawg and his bikers continue to seek their vengeance, dead set on exacting revenge upon McManus for killing three of Hawg’s crew in self-defense in the above mentioned robbery gone awry from the first film. Through the use of very confusing flashback sequences, we learn that Hawg was once an honorable man and his motorcycle club was one that started on foundations of honor and ethics, and likewise, we learn that McManus was a bad ass military operative trained to kill without remorse.

And, if we haven’t had enough Book of Revelations rapture filled-palooza in 2013, both Revelation Road films add more to the genre, or less, depending on your take. In my opinion, neither was nearly as entertaining as Rapture-Palooza but they were both an after-world better than This is the End.

Revelation Road 2 weaves a story that presents its heroes as conflicted and its villains still worthy of salvation. Remember, none of them were called up to Heaven in the initial rapture, so here the are, stuck on Earth reaching for salvation or damnation.

Revelation Road 2 :
The Sea of Glass and Fire
Gabriel Sabloff
David A.R. White, Brian Bosworth, Eric Roberts, Logan White
Release Date
July 2013
Influx Grade: C

Bosworth has always been a searcher — searching for fame and glory.  He first met his goal in college with a stellar collegiate career as an amazing football player. But his dreams were quickly trampled in the NFL when Bo Jackson barreled over him and crushed him into a legendary failure of pro football. Around the same time, movie-going audiences laid down an equally magnificent beating by failing to find anything entertaining about Bosworth’s acting debut in Stone Cold. But the Boz has taken his beatings and only asked for more.  Maybe the Boz has found his place here, in entertainment purgatory, acting in these straight to VOD genre-movies, where he truly excels.

Yes, these movies are heavily weighted with Christian propaganda, but Christ (oops, is that blasphemy?), what movie isn’t propaganda laden these days? Everybody’s selling something. In this case, Revelation Road is selling salvation disguised as an action movie. Take it for what it is.

Review by Gordon Shelly, special to Influx Magazine