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The Masked Saint

MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for some violence and thematic elements.

Reviewed by: Samuel Chetty

Moral Rating: Good
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults
Genre: Christian Biography Action Crime Adaptation
Length: 1 hr. 51 min.
Year of Release: 2016
USA Release: January 8, 2016 (wide—480 theaters)
DVD: April 5, 2016
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Relevant Issues

helping your community

difficulties of being a pastor




Featuring Brett Granstaff … Chris “The Saint” Samuels
Lara Jean Chorostecki … Michelle Samuels
T.J. McGibbon … Carrie Samuels
Diahann Carroll … Ms. Edna
Roddy Piper … Nicky Stone
Jen Pogue … Mindy
James Preston Rogers … The Reaper
Mykel Shannon Jenkins … Det. Harper
Patrick McKenna … Judd Lumpkin
Dwain Murphy … Jojo
See all »
Director Warren P. Sonoda
Producer P23 Entertainment
Ridgerock Entertainment Group
Distributor Freestyle Releasing

“Husband. Pastor. Hero.”

Editor’s Note: This film is based on Chris Whaley, an American author, Southern Baptist pastor and former professional wrestler who competed in Florida using the ring name “The Saint.” He studied theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and now serves on staff at First Baptist Church of Orlando.

“The Masked Saint” is a movie about a wrestler named Chris Samuels (Brett Granstaff—“Set Up,” “Vice”), who retires from his professional wrestling career to become a pastor. He begins his ministry by pastoring a church that is losing members and struggling financially. But with his sense of insecurity about his ability to preach effectively and lead the church, the task of turning the church around is daunting. To gain money to help the church, Chris eventually returns to wrestling, while maintaining his role as a pastor.

There is a sense of dualism in the character and life of Chris, which presents advantages, but can also lead to problems. He retains the confrontational spirit of a fighter from his wrestling career, which motivates him to confront injustice and hypocrisy, but can also lead to rash actions. He seeks to preach a message of forgiveness and create a church environment that welcomes people from all walks of life, but sometimes faces temptation with double standards for acceptance. And as he succeeds in both his church and his wrestling career, he faces a tendency to become prideful, becomes burdened with stress, and struggles with the fact he is engaged in a side career of which some in his congregation may disapprove.

A variety of other characters, with a range of personalities, are involved in the story, and Chris’s interactions with them make this movie strong in character development. The plot is well-paced, and there is a good balance of humor and serious material. The movie does a good job integrating Christian themes into the story, as opposed to imposing them onto the story.

The film invites discussions about the relationship between one’s Christian life, personality, and secular involvements. In the Bible, 1st Corinthians 10:31 states that “whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” The movie creates an opportunity to reflect on what this means.

“The Masked Saint” is one of the more multifaceted faith-based movies that I have seen. I recommend watching it, because there are a variety of discussion points that viewers could identify in this movie, depending on their own experiences.

Violence: Several long wrestling match scenes, one of which results in a broken leg. In another match, some mild blood is shown. Also, one of the characters is a vigilante who physically fights down criminals several times to thwart attacks. There are a few scenes of physical aggression between characters unrelated to crime or wrestling matches.

Sexual Content: There is a prostitute and a man who works as a pimp, but there are no scenes of sexuality or explicit dialog. Only a few lines of the script pertain to these matters.

Language: “Hell” is used twice as an expletive, and there is one use of “cr*p” and “t*rd.”

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—“Our greatest sermons are the lives we live.” -Ms. Edna

Okay, I’m going to give a disclaimer up front. I only went to see this movie because I’ve always been a huge fan of Rowdy Rowdy Piper. I’ve grown up watching him wrestle on television, and his movie, “They Live” is a cult-classic sci-fi hit, and I knew that this was his last movie. (Piper passed away before the films release). And I did not know that this was a faith-based movie going in. All I knew was that this was a movie based on the life of real life wrestler turned pastor Christopher Samuels (played by Brett Granstaff).

All that being said, this was, without a doubt, one of the best faith-based movie I’ve ever seen. Christopher grew up being bullied, and watched wrestling as an escape. He turned that into a successful career as a wrestler himself. At the height of his popularity, he gives it up to pursue his ministry, much to the chagrin of his promoter, the sleazy Nicky Stone (played by Roddy Piper). As punishment, Stone pairs his biggest brute against Samuels and tells his opponent to basically “stiff” him. (In wrestling terminology, to stiff someone means to inflict real damage to someone, either intentionally or accidentally.) See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
Scott Foster, age 44 (USA)
Positive—Most heroes don’t wear masks. They go about their everyday lives adding value to others and caring in ways that the crowds never see and few applaud. But what happens when one such hero does put on a mask and becomes a hero in two worlds? The story of my friend Chris Whaley is a true story about one of those heroes. Behind a mask and in front of a congregation, Chris lived heroically and stood for what is right and when necessary he fought for it as well. This entertaining story of a true hero will amaze and encourage you to take your stand and know that some things are worth fighting for.
Willy Rice, Calvary Church, Clearwater, Florida, 2015 President, Southern Baptist Convention Pastor’s Conference
Positive—If this film had been available when my son was growing up, he would have been by my side in the middle seat to see it and talk about it later. …
Paige Patterson, President Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Positive—“The Masked Saint” is a classic good vs. evil tale about the new pastor of a struggling church who hides his identity to help the church as a masked wrestler named The Saint. The story takes some unexpected twists and turns, building to a full­blown, pyrotechnics­enhanced, no­holds barred wrestling match as The Saint removes his mask and wages battle against The Reaper in a locked cage match. I recommend thishighly entertaining and thought-provoking film that shows us that with God, all things are possible!
Dr. Frank Page, former President of the Southern Baptist Convention and current President and CEO of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee
Positive—This riveting, action-packed movie tells the story of a pastor and his love for Jesus who takes one of his God-given skills throughthe uncharted path of professional wrestling and fights for Jesus! “The Masked Saint” shows us that God can use us in all situations—anywhere, anytime, anyplace! You should NOT miss this movie!
Pastor David Uth, First Baptist Church Orlando, Florida

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