Reviewed by: Ken James
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|Featuring||David A.R. White, Eric Roberts, Stacy Keach, Cynthia Watros, Lawrence Taylor, Shiek Mahmud-Bey, Koji Kataoka, Robert LaSardo, Lisa Furst, Kevin Downes, See all »|
|Producer||Signal Hill Productions, Greg Bowerman, Karen Bowerman, Bobby Downes, Kevin Downes, Jon Gunn, Geoff Ludlow, Travis M. Mann, Dan Wells, Marta Wells, David A.R. White|
|Distributor||Providence Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment|
“Two brothers. Two roads. One dangerous detour.”
It’s an exciting time for the theatrical Christian film industry. Like never before, millions of people are able to be impacted with strong messages of faith and hope that Hollywood fare films just don’t deliver. 1999 brought such films as “Revelation” and “The Omega Code” to the big screen.
And now, seeking to provide clean entertainment with a Christian worldview, Signal Hill gives us “Mercy Streets” in a realistic modern day story about two brothers with an opposite outlook on life.
Orphans separated at 14, Jeremiah (David A.R. White), an aspiring Episcopalian priest on the verge of ordination, and John (also played by White), an ex-con, soon find themselves facing life’s ultimate questions. Jeremiah’s entire existence is shadowed by the belief that he killed his brother. What he doesn’t know is that his brother is very much alive. Just released from prison, John reluctantly agrees to do one more “job” for Rome (Eric Roberts). In return he receives $50k up front. John runs away with the cash to his brother’s house, but when Rome and TJ (Robert LaSardo, in a somewhat comical gang role) discover where John is headed, they arrive at Jeremiah’s residence and kidnap the wrong guy. The two brothers literally switch roles and John is forced to play the part of his preacher brother. Girlfriend Samantha (Cynthia Watros) likes the “new” Jeremiah and has no idea what is going on, but best friend and police-officer Tex (Shiek Mahmud-Bey) begins to suspect something is amiss.
It’s hip, it’s action, it’s drama, and it’s faith all rolled into one captivating story of forgiveness. And where does forgiveness come from ultimately? Through the person of Jesus Christ. In one climactic scene, Father Tom (Stacy Keach) guides the doubting Jeremiah to realize that just knowing about Jesus isn’t enough. You have to accept him and let go of those things in which you need forgiveness. Preach it, brother! But don’t think the entire film is preachy; most of it isn’t at all.
Before you grab the whole family and head out to see “Mercy Streets” at your local theater, please note that it is not for all ages. If compared to other theatrical releases, “Mercy Streets” comes through virtually spotless. But if viewed from a Christian film perspective, there are some factors to consider: there is one instance of profanity (“go to hell”) and situations surrounding life of crime in the big city. Alcohol is abused, and some women are shown in tight-fitting clothing. Violence is seen throughout the film by way of fist fights, shooting scenes, and threats given mostly by Rome. Father Tom, in his short appearance, tells Jeremiah that he is divorced (while discussing forgiveness, alluding to God being more forgiving than his ex-wife). Jeremiah and Samantha are also seen kissing on a few occasions. All content was carefully presented in light of its intended audience.
Without a doubt, “Mercy Streets” stands on its own merit. It has a strong story with, most importantly, a crucial message that Christ needs to be the Lord of our lives. This film is recommended for teens and adults, and is an excellent opportunity for Christians to lead unsaved friends toward the truth. Don’t miss it!