PureFlix, the Christian alternative to Netflix, has several categories of “family friendly” films for Christians to enjoy. Categories include Talking Dog, Romance in a World Where Horny Doesn’t Exist, Rip-Offs, and Rip-Offs with Kevin Sorbo (the fancy rip-offs). One of their high budget secular media rip-offs is the Revelation Road series, the lord’s answer to Mad Max.
Revelation Road is about traveling bulletproof vest salesman, Josh McManus, roaming a post-apocalyptic America and helping people in search of Christ’s redemption. That is not a joke, bulletproof vest salesman is his actual job title. In the first film, he says he’s a traveling salesman, and the only thing we ever see him try to sell is a bulletproof vest. He’s also a former government assassin of some kind because, in this day and age, everyone has to have a side hustle.
The movie seems to exist in an alternate reality where one of the ten commandments was that machine guns are bitchin’. Josh McManus struggles with whether it’s ok to keep doing so much murdering. He says he always “tries to find another way,” but often, that other way will be something like tricking a man into shooting his own brother instead of Josh. So, I guess God isn’t big on technicalities regarding murder.
Revelation Road was a huge hit for PureFlix, spawning two sequels with progressively bigger budgets and a TV Show. Part of PureFlix’s continued support of Revelation Road miiiiight have something to do with how the owner of PureFlix happened to be none other than David A.R. White, the star of Revelation Road.
He’s the guy on the back left in the above poster, behind the more famous guy with way less screen time. You know, the guy who was in Desperate Housewives and a Canadian show about witches? David A.R. White produces and stars in most of PureFlix’s original movies, which means this man is churning out D-list movies at the rate of an ’80s porn star.
It’s truly impossible to scroll through any genre on PureFlix without running into David A.R. White. Looking for a Comedy? How about David A.R. White’s HolyMan Undercover? More interested in Romance? Try Nothing Is Impossible, starring David A.R. White. Do you only watch Bollywood movies? Luckily I can’t help with that. However, if you like watching a man use Jesus as an excuse to kill people with his feet, the Revelation Road series starring David A.R. White was made for you. Because like you, they suck.
The first Revelation Road movie, The Beginning Of The End, takes place mostly before the rapture, but it’s still rapture flavored. There’s a biker gang called The Barbarians whose leader, Hawg, kills people with a big silver hammer. He rides by people on his motorcycle and polo smacks them in the head, or sometimes he stands over them and gives them a good bop.
Then, in the film’s last twenty minutes, there’s suddenly an apocalypse. It feels like someone had a sixty-minute script about a former government assassin rediscovering his faith in God and needed an extra twenty minutes to make it a movie. The description says, “Where were you when the world ended? The right man at the wrong time, Josh foiled a robbery perpetrated by The Barbarians, an outlaw biker gang. Then it happened. An unnatural flash in the sky, followed by a crippling series of earthquakes, throws the entire world into chaos. His only goal is to go home to his family, but he’ll have to fight his way through The Barbarians to do so.” All those things technically happen in the movie, but most of it is Ray Wise talking about Jesus.
All of the Revelation Road movies suffer from one annoying flaw: they have to make a lot of objectively cool stuff seem not cool. It shows teens a big greasy biker guy with a six pack, and a ton of tattoos doing hand to hand combat in front of a fire that’s accentuating the backlit silhouette of a sexy lady, and it says, “see this, kids. This is not cool!” Whacking people with a big silver hammer is not dope as shit. Don’t be like this attractive, awesome-looking guy, ok? You want to be like the guy in khakis and a tan button down collared shirt. Slowly kicking people to death on foot! That’s what’s cool!
They combat this issue by having every character, even the bad guys, tell Josh how cool and impressive he seems. Every movie is a big old compliment party for David A.R. White, who is coincidentally the guy signing the writer’s and actor’s paychecks. Every thug Josh runs into is like, “Uh oh, this guy looks so tough. He probably has a huge dick with no weird curves or veins, fully circumcised, the whole enchilada. It’s just smooth and shiny. Good at business as well, I bet. We should be careful with this one.”
Revelation Road 3 opens with a car chase scene where the henchmen say, “Wow, this guy can really drive!” as Josh steers straight down an open country road. He’s out to save a sixteen-year-old girl who’s been kidnapped, and he does, but not before she’s stabbed in the stomach. Here is where I should mention some Christians did have a small problem with this movie. It was dinged on Christian movie rating site, Dove.org, for being too sexual!
There is implied sex slavery and prostitution in this movie. We see a young girl in a cage at a black market, and while it’s not explicitly stated why the young girl Josh is rescuing was kidnapped, her getting stroked on the hair sensually was probably not the thing you should warn potential viewers about. Josh is forced to take her into the territory of a man named Drake for medical treatment. Drake is played by James Denton, who I was sad to see here. I knew his career wasn’t going great, but I didn’t realize it was going PureFlix not great.
Drake captures Josh at the town medic, where he’s trying to get treatment for the teen girl he rescued, and chains him up in a Christ pose. He tells Josh that there was a surgeon in town named Grace, but she left to follow a prophet called The Shepherd. Drake has been trying to track down Grace and The Shepherd to bring her back, but The Shepherd is extremely good at avoiding his men, with some people saying he can only be located by a man of faith or a man able to maintain immaculate bleach blond highlights during an apocalypse. Josh is both of these men.
Grace’s daughter, Sophia, stows away in Josh’s car, and they go on a fun little goose chase to find The Shepherd. Along the way, they run into a lot of obstacles, including a zany family of cannibals, and Kevin Sorbo, the head of the black market, who tries to steal their car.
Kevin Sorbo walked into the prop closet on this movie and said, “I’ll take it.” His look combines a fluffy pirate shirt, 1.5 IKEA rugs, AND a fedora. It’s revealed that his character was a drama teacher before the apocalypse, and honestly, I think they nailed this look. This is how a total theater nerd would dress during the rapture. It’s how you would stay warm if you were waiting out a blizzard in a Party City. He’s dressed like he’s been chasing cartoon cats through clotheslines.
Kevin Sorbo gives Josh the nickname “The Black Rider” when he forces him to fight to get his car back. It means nothing. I think the writers came up with the cool title and were desperate to find a way to fit it into their extremely uncool movie. While they’re at the black market, we learn that Drake is tracking Josh as a way to hunt down The Shepherd because a larger government-like entity (clearly run by the Antichrist) wants him captured. Sorry, this plot is dumber than Kevin Sorbo’s lil hat.
Josh and Sophia escape the black market with Kevin Sorbo and Co. hot on their tails. Josh is now sick of this shit, so he asks himself WWJD and feels like the answer is “mow all of these guys down with a very big machine gun I’ve been saving for this exact occasion.” However, Sophia has now converted to Christianity, and she convinces him that might not be what J would D, so Josh chooses the path of nonviolence. The moral of this movie is violence is bad, maybe, except when it’s not, in which case it’s awesome. Amen.
Josh choosing nonviolence, combined with Sophia’s newfound commitment to Christ, summons The Shepherd. I think this is supposed to be because only Christians can find him, and now Sophia is a Christian. Either way, he just sort of pops up behind them wearing a bed sheet because Kevin Sorbo took all of the good props.
It turns out Grace is not with The Shepherd. I feel like that makes the metaphor they were going for pretty muddled, but no one cares. The Shepherd is actually a powerful prophet who’s supposed to witness the End Times, and he has magic powers like healing and making plants grow. He wants Josh to escort him to the coast so he can go to Jerusalem. This is all, once again, the plot of a whole other movie beginning in the third act of this movie because, as we all know, a good story doesn’t really get going until the last twenty minutes or so.
Drake’s henchmen show up for The Shepherd and shoot Josh dead. You might expect Josh’s previous bulletproof vest salesman job to come in handy here, but it does not. He straight up dies and talks to God, who’s like, “you can just be dead now if you want,” but Josh decides he wants to stay on Earth and help more people, so God resurrects him, and he goes on to rescue The Shepherd from Drake and the evil devil government and I know this sounds like rambling stupidity which means they didn’t check with a single person if this plot made sense before they started filming.
That’s the conclusion of this hyper-violent, hyper-sexual episode of Drake And Josh. The Shepherd goes off to Jerusalem without Josh, who will continue to roam the world murdering, pillaging, and spreading the gospel as an undead zombie man in the TV series, which is currently shooting in South Africa. According to the Instagram account for the show, Josh has gotten even blonder since we last saw him. You have to admire the man’s dedication to haircare in a world without running water.
There are over 500 Christians following that Instagram, waiting for any scrap of information about the next leg of humble bulletproof vest salesman Josh MacManus’s journey. Will he get to kill more people in ways nearby people will call cool but sometimes abstain from killing in the name of religion? Will Kevin Sorbo’s character, let’s call him Random Debris Carl, show up again? You’ll probably have to sign up for PureFlix to find out, so, I guess we’ll never know!
This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Michael Lehr, who is also called “The Black Passenger.”