I gave "The Moment After"--the first movie in this series a four-star rating because of certain defects in the screenplay, such as a lieutenant wearing captain's bars and good but not great acting. Well, I am pleased to report that these defects were fixed in installment two. Okay, okay, there was no attempt to call the Tribulation either Tribulation or Great Tribulation, so that became a moot point, but the fellow with the nametag of Fredericks, the guy who was addressed as lieutenant in the original show even though he wore captain's bars, was promoted to colonel, and wore the appropriate birds on his lapels. So it seems that someone studied up on their paramilitary rank symbols. Good boys! (I will say, however that Fredericks still needs to wash his hair and get a haircut...his unkempt hairstyle was unconvincing. Especially since all his subordinates were quite properly groomed.)
But on top of that, this movie was more intense. Riley and Baker are thrown together in a "cluster" (as in "I am the vine you are the branches" and these camps are a cluster) out in the desert. Baker has had his biochip removed (i.e. the Mark) so that he can infiltrate the scared but faithful group of Christians where Riley is hiding out. Riley, on the other hand, has escaped from prison totally by mischance and finds the cluster of Christians where his girlfriend, now married, is hiding out. Jacob Krause is also there, thus completing the triangle. There is more discussion about how someone makes it through the rough times when death stares you in the face every day. Jacob provides us with a quite intelliigent monologue on the need for doubt, to validate faith. We also see a bit more mysticism than in the previous film, and addition which I welcomed. Strangely, it was not overdone, but added in just the right amount to accent the points the movie was trying to make. We see a number of close calls as Christians interact with the Global Alliance, and we see how God provides. We also see not so close calls as members of the "cluster" are Called Home through violence. It's not all berries and cream in the Tribulation for Christians.
And another factor in the whole gestalt is the fact that though there are lots of Christians who do not take the Mark, there are lots of others who do not take the Mark, in this film, specifically a bunch of militia/gun nuts. Sometimes the characters in the militia were a little overdone, but they added a second danger vector that made the story deliciously more intense.
And of course, Jacob Krause, played by Brad Heller was once again amazing in his role. Playing the prophet of God in the End Times must be a tricky job, but Mr. Heller does more than a creditable job. I hope he wins some awards for his portrayal. He deserves to.
To understand this film, you need to watch the first film, which really isn't that much of a trial even though I rated it four stars. But when you have finished with the first film, you need to watch this film. It was fun as well as dramatic, poignant as well as to the point. Its spiritual message is right on, and this time, fairly well delivered without becoming overbearing.
And to make things just a bit more interesting, toward the very end, two small twists to the plot almost guarantee that sometime soon we will see coming out "The Moment After 3."
I'm looking forward to that third installment.