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Bless the Child

movie reviewvideo review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Bless the Child

Starring: Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits
Director: Chuck Russell
Rated: R
RunTime: 110 Minutes
Release Date: August 2000
Genre: Suspense


*Also starring: Angela Bettis, Christina Ricci, Lumi Cavazos, Holliston Coleman, Rufus Sewell, Dimitra Arlys



Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

In Chuck Russell's BLESS THE CHILD, it's God's angels vs. the Devil's team, and it's looking good for the forces of evil. But don't count out the Lord's side until the last inning.

Starring Kim Basinger, recently seen unimpressively in the equally awful I DREAMED OF AFRICA, BLESS THE CHILD is a canonical B-movie, supernatural thriller. In the old days, it could have played as part of a Saturday double feature, along with a serial, a newsreel and a couple of cartoons. Part of a genre that includes such trashy movies as STIGMATA, BLESS THE CHILD is one of the better of such bad movies. If that sounds like a left-handed compliment, it is. Perhaps the most devastating comment on the film is that it isn't scary. Unintentionally funny, certainly, but rarely frightening.

A typical example of the unintentional humor occurs on a country road with fog as thick as the proverbial pea soup. "Where's our backup?" asks FBI Agent John Travis (Jimmy Smits). "They were right behind us," replies the perplexed state trooper accompanying him. The fog is good at making people disappear in such films, but, of course, the lack of any backup is no deterrent in a story in which stupid actions are par for the course.

In another scene, Maggie O'Connor (Basinger) goes alone into a bad area of town to personally confront the Devil's agent, Eric Stark (Rufus Sewell). Eric is a cross between a Tony Robbins-style motivational speaker and a David Koresh cult leader. He leads a permanently peppy group known as the New Dawn Foundation.

The story opens with Maggie's strung-out sister, Jenna (Angela Bettis), dumping her 6-day-old baby, Cody, with Maggie and then disappearing for 6 years. When Jenna returns, she's just as wasted on heroin as ever, but now she is Eric's new bride and there to collect Cody (Holliston Coleman) in order to do the Devil's work. But Cody is a child who has been blessed by God with certain gifts and doesn't convert to the dark side easily.

The best part of the movie is that Coleman and most of the adult actors, save Sewell, give quite respectable performances, much better in fact that a film of this caliber deserves. The result is a silly movie that's more watchable than you would expect, even when great actors like Ian Holm have to deliver such gems as, "Today, the concept of evil is politically incorrect."

This much can be said for BLESS THE CHILD -- at least it gives God a fighting chance. Usually church officials shown in such supernatural balderdash appear just as loathsome as the Devil himself, leaving us with no side for which to root. This time, God isn't such a bad guy, and his side just might win in the end. But I don't want to give anything away to those of you incapable of guessing obvious conclusions.

BLESS THE CHILD runs 1:50. It is rated R for violence, drug content and brief language and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright 2000 Steve Rhodes

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