For the religious fundamentalists and/or Christian conservatives the "glory train" arrived in theaters this weekend with the showing of "God's Not Dead 2." Even with the deluge of faith based films that have been showing in theaters for the past few weeks, none compares to the "under siege" message of this sequel to the popular faith based film of 2014.
This film hits all the right notes. Its main plot concerns a lawsuit brought against an eleventh grade history teacher (Melissa Joan Hart) for mentioning Jesus in her class even in a historical context. Then in a minor subplot a preacher (David A. R. White) is subpoenaed by local government to provide content summaries of his sermons. Do those sound like current events you hear about on the news?
In the courtroom case Grace Wesley (Hart) is defended by Tom Endler (Jesse Metcalfe), the coolest of lawyers who keeps his tie loosened and his cheeks unshaved. He is up against Pete Kane (Ray Wise) who is so evil he almost hisses his statements, and dresses like he has never lost a case. This is clearly a David vs Goliath event.
To make sure no stone is unturned in luring the Christian coalition to this film, Pat Boone plays Hart's grandfather. Yes old Pat "April Love" Boone is still around and kicking, but looking a little old and frail. Let's hope they "aged" him for the movie. Also on hand as one of Hart's students is cuter than cute Sadie Robertson of the "Duck Dynasty" family. She doesn't have a big role but for many any chance to see Sadie is a reason to see the film.
The performances in the movie are solid with Hart making her character "just one of us." She isn't glamorized in any way. She is the picture of a hard working school teacher who is also taking care of her ailing grandfather. Metcalfe is better than anyone expected him to be. He actually delivers a passion for the law and justice in his scenes. Wise is also convincing in his role. However Ernie Hudson is guilty of over-acting as the judge in the case.
The movie is rated PG for some adult themes.
This is a movie that takes up the case against religious limitations and argues for the right of free speech in discussing one's religion. For those who have felt discriminated against because of their Christian faith, this is the movie they have been hoping for. It doesn't focus on miracles or Jesus' life. It goes straight for the issues that many think have been hidden by the media, and by doing so it stands the best chance of box office success.
I scored "God's Not Dead 2" a lively 7 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper