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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Assassin 33 A.D. (also known as Black Easter) is a sci-fi thriller that centers on a group of scientists who discover a secret plan to use a time machine to change the past. The movie deals with Christianity, science/technological advancements, time travel, religious tolerance (as well as religious conflict), friendship, and more. While there's barely any strong language, sexual content beyond kissing, or substance use, you can expect plenty of violence. There's gun/weapon use, shoot-outs, graphic murder scenes, crucifixion, car crashes, and serious beatings. Loved ones are killed, and people mourn them. That said, there are positive themes related to teamwork, academic excellence, and perseverance. And while religious beliefs are central to the movie's plot, the positive benefits of science are highlighted, too.
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What's the story?
Directed by Jim Carroll (Evil Behind You), ASSASSIN 33 A.D. centers four brilliant young scientists who discover a secret plan to use a time machine to alter the past. Ram (Morgan Roberts), Simon (Lamar Usher), Amy Lee (Ilsa Levine), and Kabil (Johnny Rey Diaz) -- all skilled in the area of Matter Transfer -- embark on a scientific journey that will test their beliefs.
Is it any good?
This unique, suspenseful thriller not only chronicles the crucifixion of Jesus, but it also showcases the benefits of science and technological advancement. Assassin 33 A.D. is action-packed and intriguing, and it poses really relevant questions about science, religious beliefs, power, and the potential negative and positive effects of time travel. That said, the movie's concept and plot are more powerful than the cinematic delivery. While the messages of forgiveness, God's love, and respecting different beliefs are very powerful, the transitions from one scene to the next -- as well as the changes from one time period to another -- aren't seamless. Still, despite some obvious indications of budget constraints, the writing is engaging, which helps make up for where some of the cinematography is lacking.
The relationship between Ram and Amy shows that people with totally different beliefs can still work together while respecting and loving each other. In the supporting cast, Donny Boaz shows great emotional range as Brandt, the conflicted Christian's experienced so much pain and disappointment that he no longer believes. Jason Castro is eerily good as Jesus, and, as Simon, Lamar Usher is relatable, contemporary, and genuine. While some may label this film as religious propaganda, others will beg to differ. It tackles its topics and themes diplomatically and poses thought-provoking questions. It addresses both Christianity and Islam, and science isn't pitted against faith but rather creates a parallel space for scientific minds to look at bible-based historical events. Ultimately it suggests that whether or not you believe in the Bible, it may not be a bad idea to actually read it and see what it says for yourself.
Talk to your kids about ...
Science plays a major role in the plot. What are some of the benefits of science, as depicted in this movie? In what ways do science and technology save lives here?
Jesus Christ is depicted as an historical figure in Assassin 33 A.D. Is he a role model? What character strengths does he exemplify?
- In theaters: April 12, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: April 21, 2020
- Cast: Donnie Boaz, Morgan Roberts, Lamar Usher
- Director: Jim Carroll
- Studio: Timed Out Productions
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Friendship, History
- Character strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 109 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence and thematic elements
- Last updated: April 28, 2021
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