HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Peter the Redemption
HTS Overall Score:59
Following up Cinedigm’s “Joseph & Mary” last month, they have released another in their line of Dove.org approved Christian themed movies in the form of a later period Jesus era film. This time it’s focusing on the apostle Peter and his last days on Earth after he was imprisoned and tortured by the insane Emperor Nero of Rome. I’ve said it quite a few times, but I am always lightly leery of a Christian based movies due to the fact that I’m close the source material, being a believe myself, and thus tend to be critical due to the sloppy film making, or poor scripture adaptations. “Peter the Redemption” actually takes a fairly interesting subject and slightly fictionalizes it due to the fact that there is no biblical account of Peter’s death, just that he lived another 34 years after the death of Christ and was killed by Nero. Common historical and religious tales say that he was crucified by Nero upside down (due to the fact that Peter did not feel himself worthy of being killed in the same manner as his Lord), but beyond that it is clearly hypothetical.
We all know of the tale of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. In fact he was widely considered to be one of the cruelest and most vicious Emperor’s the nation of Rome had ever seen. NO one has ever been able to verify if Nero set the famed fires, or if he actually calmly fiddled while the city burned, but the legend has stuck around due to this day due to his extreme acts taken on weeding out early Christians and brutalizing them with lions, fire and physical torture. Our story takes place shortly after the fires had ravaged Rome and Nero (played by Stephen Baldwin, who is hamming it up and eating scenery like John Travolta in “Face/Off”) is trying to pin all of the blame on the Christians. Especially Peter (John Rhys-Davies), whom he has locked up in his dungeon. Torturing and abusing the old man seems to be doing nothing, so Nero rounds up every Christian he can find in the city and begins to punish them too in an effort to get the man to confess to a crime he didn’t commit.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=76753[/img]Simultaneously we have the side story of Susanna (Brittany Bristow), a young Christian maid to the Empress who is keeping her religion a secret due to the persecution. Secondly her story intersects with Martinian (Steve Byers), a roman soldier who is charged with getting the confession from Peter. The two interact and through her kindness and the words of Peter, Martinian is slowly drawn over by the words of the Lord. Still, they are coming perilously close to the abyss, as Nero is an unforgiving man and will burn ANYONE whom he finds collaborating with the believers, even if they are in his own house.
“Peter the Redemption” claims to focus on Peter reminiscing about his most famous betrayal of Christ. We all know the one. Back when Jesus was under trial by Pilate Peter was famous for denying the Christ 3 times, until the cock crowed and he was aware of his sin. Now he’s struggled his whole life to rise above that moment of betrayal and this is his time where he has the chance to deny or stand his ground one last time. In reality there is little focus on those movements. Sure he does share some of those bits, but a majority of the movie is spent on Susanna and Martinian, and their interactions with Peter that draw them closer to Christ. That and the insanity of Nero as he tortures and murders every one of the despicable religion that seems to defy his power.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=76761[/img]The 1.78:1 Mpeg2 encoded transfer for the DVD 5 is fairly simplistic in design, but more than capable. The film was shot digitally and looks fairly clean and free of digital noise and macroblocking, but it is a bit soft and the darkness gives way to some mediocre blacks. Fine detail appears to be impressive, especially in the brightly lit, outdoor sequences where Susanna and Martinian meet to talk. Colors are bright and extremely vivid, with wonderful primary reds and blues and other assorted colors home to the Roman soldiers and the courtesans. It’s not a particularly amazing encode, but the cheap budget can’t exactly give us much more than what is shown, so it does quite nicely.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=76769[/img]The 5.1 Dolby Digital track on the disc fares just about as well as the video. It’s not a spectacular encode, but it’s a very serviceable one that really is more of a 3.1 track than a 5.1 track. Surrounds do get some use, but is mainly relegated to the soft spoken score and some mild water dropping in the prison background. Dialog is never under any doubt, and sounds meticulously done, but the rest of the movie is fairly laid back except when Nero and his men are listening to the sounds of their victims being burned alive. LFE is mild, but used sparingly, and clarity of sound is excellent.
The film is not that good of a film sadly, there are some fun fictionalized moments, and some good scripture references, but the cheap set designs and shoddy acting really bring the movie down. Everyone in the movie seems to be stumbling around in the dark with middle school level acting, with the only two people seeming to try at all being John Rhys-Davies and Stephen Baldwin. Even though Stephen hams it up with the intensity of John Travolta playing Nick Cage in “Face/Off”. There’s a scenery chewing hilarity in his actions and demeanor that elicits more than a few groans and chuckles from this viewer. Those who really love these Christian films, despite the poor dialog and acting, may get something out of this, but sadly I would list this more as something one would skip rather than eagerly watch.
Starring: John Rhys-Davies, Stephen Baldwin, Bobbi Phillips
Directed By: Leif Bristow
Written By: John Patus
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 89 Minutes
DVD Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Buy Peter the Redemption on DVD at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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