"The Omega Code," a hokey doomsday/millennialist thriller, opens with the murder of an elderly Jewish scholar who has cracked the so-called Bible code--a series of prophecies believed to be encoded in the Torah--by translating the ancient symbols into a sophisticated computer program.
The killer swiftly delivers the computer disc and the rabbi's notebook to Stone Alexander (Michael York), a megalomaniac leader based in Rome. Ostensibly, Alexander's reason for obtaining the disc is to usher in an era of world peace and prosperity, which he hopes to lead--even if murder and terrorism are his means.
It doesn't take much to deduce that the debonair Alexander is indeed the antichrist. And once he starts talking about a one-world currency and a new and improved Roman empire, it's only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose.
Next we meet Dr. Gillen Lane (Casper Van Dien), a hugely popular American motivational speaker, who is also a proponent of the Bible code, although we learn he is a "nonbeliever."
Now we're told that Lane is supposed to be a real smart guy, but, serving as an advisor to Alexander, it takes him quite a while to catch on to the sinister plan.
It's difficult to take this doomsday stuff too seriously, which is not to say it can't make for lively entertainment. But this film's main obstacle is the two lead characters.
Alexander is supposed to be charismatic and wily enough to seduce the entire world, but he's such a pompous blowhard, it's hard to believe that anyone would follow him.
And Dr. Lane? Well, God help us if the entire world is ever thrown into chaos and it's up to a glib motivational speaker to save us all.
"The Omega Code" was conceived and produced by evangelical Christians, so Lane's asking to be "saved" is perhaps enough of a transformation for the filmmakers, but a little more depth would have helped immensely.
One of the more troubling aspects of "The Omega Code" is the seeming demonization of Roman Catholicism: Alexander is a former Catholic; his headquarters are marked with church imagery; his henchman is a former priest.
The message of the film--that salvation can only be found by accepting Jesus as one's personal savior--is clear. The reason for the anti-Catholicism is not.
* MPAA rating: PG-13 for several scenes of shootings.
'The Omega Code'
TBN Films presents a Gener8Xion Entertainment production distributed by Providence Entertainment. Director Rob Marcarelli. Producers Matthew Crouch, Rob Marcarelli, Lawrence Mortorff. Executive producer Paul Crouch. Screenplay by Stephan Blinn and Hollis Barton. Cinematographer Carlos Gonzalez. Editor Peter Zinner. Music Harry Manfredini. Production designer Mark Harper. Set decorator Jen Tauritz. Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes.