April 24, 2000 -- There are a number of apologists for "Starship Troopers" who disliked my picking on Casper Van Dien for his poor acting as Johnny Rico in that movie. They said it was a deliberate attempt to portray a teenager in his awkward years, and clever direction by Paul Verhoeven (he who made that classic, "Showgirls"). Well, just take a look at "The Omega Code" and you'll see that Van Dien's acting in "Starship Troopers" was no fluke. He's just as bad in this movie, and he's not a kid anymore.
I only mention this because Van Dien manages to sink "The Omega Code" all by himself. He plays Gillen Lane, a man who is conned into playing the shill for an international hustler named Stone Alexander (well-played by Michael York of "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me"). Alexander's evil sidekick Dominic (grimly played by Michael Ironside, another "Starship Troopers" veteran). Along for the ride is the pretty journalist Cassandra Barashe (played by Catherine Oxenberg, AKA Catherine Van Dien).
Lane is having trouble with his wife because he is constantly traveling around the world pursuing the glamorous life of a biblical scholar. He gets a job close to home and promises to stay, but he can't resist Stone's offer to be an international power broker (he thinks about it for two whole minutes!). Stone and Lane are soon on top of the world, virtual dictators over that New World Order you've been hearing about from Rush Limbaugh. They've got armies and atomic bombs and everything.
At the center of the plot is the Omega Code, a three-dimensional mathematical construct lifted from the pages of the Torah, (also known as the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Old Testament). The code tells not only of the past, but the future as well, when information is typed into a computer and the code spits out a prophecy. Using the code, he who controls Jerusalem at the End of Days, will control the world. Events are manipulated to lead to Armageddon, the final war prophecized in the Book of Revelations.
This is probably based on a belief that has been around a while. I found this in "FreeRepublic.com," a conservative Internet discussion site, "Among these was Isaac Newton who had a keen understanding of the physical laws of nature. Most of our conventional understanding of physics was inherited from his work. He believed in God. As a matter of fact, he thought that all answers were coded within the Pentateuch of the Bible. Recently his belief was confirmed by a group of Israeli scientists: `Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis' August 1994 Statistical Science."
Movies such as "End of Days," "The Final Conflict," "The Rapture," and other stories about the Second Coming have used some of these same Biblical references from Revelations, but this movie is actually more effective than most in making a plausible scenario and then backing it up with good special effects. Unfortunately, the project is sunk by the miscasting of Van Dien in the lead role. He proves laughably unable to carry the film. York and Ironside at least give a campy edge to the film. Ironside's role seems to be to shoot everything in sight, while York's character has delusions of gleeful godhood. At times the film is so overwrought it almost seems comic, but it is deadly serious.
With a better direction, casting and some rewriting, this film could have been a lot better, but it is worth a look for those interested in prophecies about the End of Days. On the other hand, it could readily be adapted to a Saturday Night Live short skit. It is an interesting addition to the genre of films about The Rapture. This film rates a C.
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