God, Guns, and Grit: Why America Needs The Reliant
The Reliant, an action film coming to select theaters on October 24, is not a typical faith-based film and the secular community is taking notice. It was made apparent when the Motion Picture Association of America gave it an R rating. Although it had no foul language or sex scenes, and less violence than Disney movies given a PG-13 rating, the screenwriter and producer of the film, Dr. J. P. Johnston, had to appeal to the MPAA to get it changed. The hate mail the producers have received and the trash articles written by those opposed to the film’s nod to the right-to-keep-and-bear-arms is a hint of the size of the stronghold The Reliant is trying to tackle. The entertainment site, AV Club, wrote a review with the title, Watch Kevin Sorbo Fight Antifa in This Bat@#$% Trailer. When the mainstream “powers that be” come out in full force against a faith-based film, that’s when you know this movie is going to have real impact.
Christian films often are either ignored or summarily dismissed by the secular entertainment community. So why is The Reliant, starring Kevin Sorbo, Brian Bosworth, and Eric Roberts, already rattling Hollywood and secular entertainment’s cages? The synopsis:
Economic collapse causes widespread rioting and social unrest, leaving a lovesick 19-year-old girl struggling to care for her siblings in a stretch of woods bordered by lawless anarchy, wondering why a good God would let this happen.
When asked what prompted Dr. Johnston to create the film he said, “There’s a huge debate going on in this country about gun rights. Typically, when there’s a mass shooting, the Left wants to disarm everyone while the Christian right wants to offer prayers for the victims and defend the constitutional right to keep-and-bear-arms. This movie addresses what the Second Amendment is really about -- protecting yourself and your family from criminals and from the tyranny.”
He continues, “The protagonist, Sophie, not only struggles with the age-old question ‘Why would God let this happen?’ but also struggles with how to keep her younger siblings fed and safe in a lawless environment. It really deals with the darker questions about faith and God’s sovereignty. How can God be loving when He allows terrible things to happen to His children that you as a loving parent would never allow to happen to yours? That’s not always a comfortable conversation to have.”
The movie started off as an ultra-low budget production, but through creative campaigns such as raffling away AR-15s and God’s miraculous provision, they raised the funds needed for a first-class production. On two different occasions, they needed substantial funds to keep the project moving forward or it would fold. When his team would pray, an investor would provide just what was needed!
The film has already won eight First Place awards at faith-based and secular film festivals, and all that in spite of the fact that their haters are calling festivals and bad-mouthing The Reliant.
“God met our needs in miraculous ways,” said Dr. Johnston. “It blows my mind, and gives me confidence that His hand is on this film.”
When asked about why the MPAA gave them an R rating, Johnston theorized, “It’s definitely not for the reason they gave,” he said. “When I gave the appeal in a board room full of MPAA execs, providing example after example of PG-13 films that were much more violent, with profanity and sexuality, it was overwhelmingly obvious that they did not give us an R rating for violence. Several filmmakers who saw our film were confident that it was the Second Amendment theme in our film, however subtle, that inflamed their liberal sensibilities. We had to struggle with raising funds for a re-edit that finally obtained the ‘PG-13’ rating we needed.”
Another reason the movie could ruffle feathers with Hollywood is because of this exclusive news that Johnston shared here first. In a scene where the protagonists, who were waiting till marriage to kiss, were finally marrying, the reverend officiating the wedding turns out to be D.L. Foster, a former homosexual who is now a well-known Christian pastor. In addition, further research reveals that Nicole C. Mullen, the Christian singer and songwriter who sings a song she wrote “Last Love” as the wedding singer in the scene, is happily engaged to former homosexual and Christian worship leader Donnie McClurkin. The whole scene appears to be a strong yet subtle nod to purity and traditional marriage.
Even though this movie flies in the face of the left, it has received numerous awards, and not just at faith-based festivals, but secular film festivals: Best Score and Best Producer at the Freedom Festival International, and Best Action Film at the Out of the Can Film Festival in England. They recorded their score at the prestigious Abbey Road studios in London, and their composer James Everingham just completed a project for NatGeo, Apollo: Mission to the Moon, collaborating with none other than renowned Academy-Award winning composer Hans Zimmer. In addition, they received more than two dozen nominations at several secular as well as Christian film festivals.
Second Amendment rights, faith in God, traditional family values -- these are things Hollywood now openly mocks. Hollywood studios are one of the most powerful forces in shaping the culture, and they publicly berate those who disagree with their leftist ideology. However, slowly but surely, faith-based movies like The Reliant are influencing the culture in the opposite direction -- for courageous faith, for God-given rights, and for liberty. This movie is going to make waves for all the right reasons and it is exactly the film that is needed right now in America.
The Reliant will air for one night only in select theaters on October 24, 2019, and will be available in December on DVD and VOD. For more information on The Reliant, and to view their trailer and purchase tickets, visit their website.