Beyond the Mask is a handsome production. As a period piece set in 1775, the costumes and sets are spot on. Great work by Production Designer Nicholas Burns, as he cuts no corners and it is easy for the viewers to become transported back in time to the late 18th century.
The story revolves around Will Reynolds (played by Andrew Cheney of Seasons of Gray fame), the leading mercenary and assassin for the British East India Company. Reynolds has just been double-crossed by Charles Kemp (John Rhys-Davies from The Lord of the Rings), one of the company’s supervisors, and is now on the run in the American Colonies.
Working to redeem his name and win back the affections of Charlotte (Kara Killmer of Chicago Fire), the woman with whom he’s never been fully truthful, Will now hides behind a new mask in hopes of thwarting his former employer. As his past life closes in on him, Will must somehow gain the trust and the help of his beloved Charlotte–as well as Ben Franklin–while he races against time to defuse a plot of historical proportions.
The acting is strong in Beyond the Mask. As the rogue assassin turned masked super-hero, Andrew Cheney does a great job handling the romance and daring-do with equal aplomb. His Will Reynolds is very easy to root for; however, I did want to be able to identify with him better. This would have gotten me more involved with the action and where the story was headed. Kara Killmer as Charlotte plays through the range of emotions quite well, and John Rhys-Davies is quite delicious as the nemesis and bad guy. They all seem to be having a great time, and with all the action and adventure, it’s understandable why.
See the trailer below:
Beyond the Mask is not a history lesson in the least bit, but it is quite fun to play around in Revolutionary War times, and we get to meet Ben Franklin and even George Washington, both played well by Alan Madlane (Franklin) and John Arden McClure (Washington).
The best thing about this movie is the theme of “not being good enough–not measuring up.” What a great theme for a faith-based film, and it’s handled admirably. We also have the added theme of sacrificial love, again handled with great style. I only wish the filmmakers would have stopped here and let the audience connect the dots. This would have taken the film to a higher level. Instead they include a Sunday School moment that explains what just happened, and it really dumbs-down the film and makes the audience feel somewhat cheated and manipulated. Why faith-based films seem driven to this is one of the biggest strikes against faith-based films: please respect your audience and let them work out the details for themselves.
Overall, Beyond the Mask is a solid film. How can you go wrong with a historical romance full of action and adventure, with a masked superhero and an evil scientist thrown in to boot? Maybe the film tries to do too much in this regard, but it is fun entertainment, and isn’t that why we watch movies? Look beyond the few faults and enjoy Beyond the Mask.
Beyond the Mask has a strong Christian worldview.
What do we need to do to earn someone’s love and respect? Is anything enough? Is there a perfect act that will make us worthy? These are the questions that Will Reynolds struggles with as he tries to be the perfect man for his love Charlotte, for his own self-esteem, and ultimately for the God of the universe.
Psalm 14: 2 The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
He realizes that he will always fall short, and it is grace that will allow Charlotte to love, grace that will allow God to take him in.
Ecclesiastes 7:20: Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.
Psalm 51: 1-12 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Do you measure up? Are you ready for grace? Will realizes he must give in to the grace, just like you and I.
For more info on the movie, check out ‘Beyond the Mask’ Producer Aaron Burns Talks Adventure & Family Entertainment.
For more information about this author, movie critic, and filmmaker, visit Dale Ward’s Official Website.