Picks and Pans Review: The Seventh Sign

updated 04/25/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/25/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Once again the end-of-the-world portents from the Book of Revelation are starting to come true. The oceans are dying, the rivers are running red with blood, earthquakes are rampant—the filmmakers don't mention Billy Martin coming back to manage the Yankees, but it had to be on their minds. This time, Jesus Christ has returned. His message is that (1) only hope can save mankind and that (2) there isn't any hope. What we have here, obviously, is a job for the Care Bears. But we are stuck with Demi Moore, who's agonizing over the baby she is going to have. The designated villain is not much. He is the incarnation of Caiaphas, a Jerusalem high priest sometimes portrayed as presiding over the interrogation of Christ. He does his darnedest to make Armageddon come off on schedule, but he is a third-string satanic force. Why the resourceful Australian director Carl (Careful, He Might Hear You) Schultz and a talented cast would take on such an overworked plot is a puzzle. Moore never just tosses off a line, even when it's an atrocious one. Michael (Terminator) Biehn as her husband, Jurgen (Das Boot) Prochnow as the embodiment of Jesus, and Manny Jacobs as a young Hebrew student also lend a serious air to the enterprise. There is a striking performance by John Taylor (see page 69), a 21-year-old with Down syndrome, as a prisoner condemned to die for murdering his parents. Never have so many given so much for so little. At the end Prochnow tells Jacobs, "Remember it all. Write it down. Tell it." He never said to make a movie out of it. (R)

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