Assassin 33 A.D. (2020)

Assassin 33 A.D. (2020) Cover

Assassin 33 A.D. is opening in limited release this weekend and may be worth a trip to the movies if you’re a fan of faith based films and are prepared to have fun with a SciFi premise that is uniquely interesting!

Ram (Morgan Roberts), Simon (Lamar Usher), Amy (Ilsa Levine), and Felix (Cesar D’ La Torre) are scientists who stumble upon a way to go back in time. Unfortunately, the humans that they work for have the sinister intention of going back in time to kill Jesus before his resurrection. Our protagonists learn of these motives, travel to 33 A.D., struggle with their faith, and learn from each other in this action-packed adventure that might have you on board if you are the audience member it is targetting.

Assassin 33 A.D.’s target audience is Christians who also enjoy SciFi and care to see a plot that weaves their faith into a thrilling story (and I happen to fall right into that target audience!). When I first heard the premise, my interest was piqued because the film would explore something I already deeply care about (my faith) in a fresh way I had not seen before. Seeing characters who are people from our present world have the opportunity to go back in time and interact with history I am already familiar with was a fun idea. However, if you are not a person who has an emotional investment in the Christian faith or hearing the story’s premise doesn’t catch your interest, this movie will not win you over. You will have to already be sold out to the idea that Jesus is vital and be concerned from the moment you press play.

The plot has an undeniable comparison to The Terminator (someone sent back in time to kill someone important) and the film acknowledges this as Jesus tells a present day character named Simon, “I’ll be back,” and Simon replies, “That’s not your movie!” Additionally, time traveling can become a bit convoluted. Does this surprise anyone? “Slow that down and say that again,” Simon tells Ram because the time continuum is not the easiest concept to follow. However, this film does not bank on the time traveling plot being easily understood but, instead, hopes to engage you with its characters.

The best aspect of Assassin 33 A.D. is the motivations of its characters. No one is just a “bad guy” as the film takes time to interestingly give every person a reason for doing what it is that they do. A surprising opening and a violent flash back clearly show (not simply tell) the audience why certain characters want to stop Jesus and despite the audience not wanting these characters to be successful, we can clearly understand why they want to do what they do. Additionally, each character has distinct characteristics that make each of them unique and are, overall, an interesting group dynamic.

Unfortunately, the story is a bit hokey, relies on a suspension of disbelief (like any SciFi probably might), and wants you to care about its characters more than you actually do. There’s so many instances a character loses everything that is important to him or her. From parents being murdered (twice) and a family dying in a car accident you may start to get the feeling that so much of the plot is noticeably contrived instead of feeling like all of this could happen naturally, which distracted me from getting emotionally invested. Instead, it does feel like my heart strings were trying to be manipulated. Despite this, you can tell writer and director Jim Carroll cared deeply about this story and its characters. Lots of thoughts were put into why each character was doing what they were doing and because it was all clearly communicated amongst scenarios that were naturally intriguing, it was enough to be entertained for 1 hour and 49 minutes

Disclaimer: Compensition was recieved in order to prioritize this review (but not influence the review), as the film was received a few days before its opening weekend. Furthurmore, all parties involved with EskimoTV are committed to being sincere in their reviews and also transparent about any exchange that could be percieved as an ulterior motive for publishing a review.

Final Verdict:Despite feeling noticeably contrived, the premise should appeal to a niche Christian SciFi loving audience who can expect fun action and an entertaining fast-paced story.