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'Omega Code' plot too hard to decipher

Nov. 5, 1999


Entertainment Writer

The Omega Code did not live up to the Trinity Broadcasting Network hype -- nor the hoopla. An apocalyptic 'psychological thriller,' (as described by its makers) The Code is one letdown after another in acting, plot, theme and directing.

The movie is about Stone Alexander's (Michael York) rise to power as world leader. He uses one revelation from the Bible 'code' after another in a world-wide usurpation of power that leads to the reestablishment of the Roman empire. The powers of good allow this to happen as the apocalyptic snowball rolls into motion.

Throughout the movie, an unidentified fax machine spits out arbitrary selections of the Bible 'code.' The plot is not helped by these revelations, for they are never explained.

When the code says, 'the seven horns will bow to the wounded head,' I wonder what that means. Does anyone else?

The acting of Casper Van Dien was energetic but poor. The performance is worthy of the WWF, not a semi-serious drama like The Code.

Van Dien's style fit well with the movie that gave him a name, Starship Troopers. Though it was not received warmly by serious film critics, at least it had an awareness of itself. Lines like, 'Let's go kill some bugs,' hold up well when coming from an energetic and handsome actor like Van Dien. The Code, on the other hand, had no common thrust.

The most amusing character in The Code was Stone Alexander's goon, Dominic (Michael Ironside). His problems were big and small, but his solution was always the same: to blow someone away.

The Code reminded me of Thirty Something in Dirty Harry's world, but it never reminded me of something I had seen more than once. The writing bore the marks of laziness. Watching each scene fizzle into triteness became tiresome, and the plot twists were unwarranted for a movie that was trying to deliver a message.

This movie's fatal mistake was its message.

The studio that produced The Omega Code failed to separate what they were trying to say from the art of the film. As a result, both elements are muddled. Dr. Lane (Van Dien) prays for salvation at the climax of the movie, but the scene disappears in a sea of the poorly written dialogue and mediocre cinematography. Without any thematic arrows pointing toward his conversion, the emotion and drama in it are completely lost.

By the end of the movie I began wondering if the writer even understood the plot. I could not decode it.