"Dramatic and Uplifting"
THE SECOND CHANCE is one of the several Christian movies being marketed to theaters by the major studios in Hollywood as a result of the economic evidence that movies with Christian content do better at the box office as presented in MOVIEGUIDE’s Report to the Entertainment Industry. The movie stars popular Christian singer Michael W. Smith in his first major feature film role.
Smith plays Ethan Jenkins, the son of a successful televangelist, Jeremiah Jenkins, played by J. Don Ferguson. The movie opens with Ethan and Jeremiah making a photo op at the soup kitchen of an inner city church, Second Chance Community Church. Jeremiah founded the church amid the turbulence of the civil rights demonstrations in the sixties. He has since moved from the inner city to the suburbs where he founded The Rock, which is now a mega church where community service often takes the form of large donations to the collection plate. Jeremiah now travels the world establishing new churches, but he’s lost sight of the place where his journey as pastor began.
The pastor of Second Chance, Jake Sanders, played by newcomer Jeff Obafemi Carr, is a loose cannon. During a visit by Jake one Sunday to The Rock, Ethan invites Jake to say something to the congregation. Jake upsets the congregation by telling them their donations helping Second Chance to minister to the poor are okay, but he doesn’t want their money because they don’t come down to his church to help out or even to visit. Angry with Ethan, the church board decides he needs to take a little sabbatical and help Jake at Second Chance.
Sparks fly from day one when Jake takes Ethan on a tour of the neighborhood. Jake resents Ethan’s father’s move to the suburbs, and Ethan has trouble relating to Jake. The youth pastor from Second Chance takes a beating to protect a young man who wants to leave a gang. This causes Ethan to question his own courage and the depth of his Christian convictions. When he and Jake discover Jeremiah’s new plans for Second Chance, it takes a lot of courage and bridge building to set things right between them.
THE SECOND CHANCE is a heartfelt Christian drama. It is a compelling call to Christians to live out their faith in word and deed. The ending is dramatic, uplifting and encouraging.
Michael W. Smith effectively uses his natural charisma as Ethan, but the real find here is Jeff Obafemi Carr, who plays Pastor Jake with plenty of passion. Both Smith and Carr can have satisfying careers in movies and/or television, if that is their calling.
The script for THE SECOND CHANCE could still use a little more energy. And, there were times when the camerawork and the editing led to some minor confusion where the viewer couldn’t tell exactly what was happening.
The movie also contains eight light obscenities. There are also references to gang activity and drug dealing in the inner city (viewers see a man in a car pick up some drugs) that earned the movie a PG-13 rating. These references are very light, however, not at all like the gritty and profane urban thrillers that normally flow from Hollywood. Still, they require caution for younger children.
Moviegoers, including Christians of all denominations, should support THE SECOND CHANCE if they want Hollywood to produce more positive movies with explicit Christian content. If you don’t come to see movies like THE SECOND CHANCE, Hollywood won’t make any more of them.
(CCC, BBB, PC, AP, L, V, DD, M) Very strong Christian worldview with positive references to Jesus, worshipping God, witnessing to troubled people, and Bible passages and with very strong moral elements about living one’s faith, integrity, sacrifice, and helping needy people at the expense of one’s own comfort and pleasure, as well as a couple of possibly politically correct elements such as black pastor chastises white Christians and Christian pastor makes odd metaphorical reference to Malcolm X (who was a negative role model and who became an anti-Christian Black Muslim, which is a racist cult of Islam) and Malcolm’s misleading anti-American statement that Plymouth Rock “landed” on the black man, then pastor talks about trading in Plymouth Rock for “the Rock of Ages,” Jesus Christ; eight light obscenities; some threats of violence and man is beaten up; no sex, but Christians minister to unwed pregnant teenager; no nudity; no alcohol use, but Pastor leads class for recovering addicts; no smoking, but some light references to dealing drugs, such as man in car pays for small pack of drugs; and, civil disobedience, churlish behavior and two leaders of a large non-profit Christian group led by a televangelist engage in secret business dealings.
THE SECOND CHANCE stars popular Christian singer Michael W. Smith, who plays Ethan Jenkins, the son of a successful televangelist, Jeremiah Jenkins, who heads a large suburban church called The Rock. Ethan’s father sends him to work at the inner city church Jeremiah founded in the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, the Second Chance Community Church. Jake, the pastor of Second Chance, is a loose cannon who’s upset about the lack of the suburban church’s involvement at Second Chance and in his community. At first Ethan doesn’t fit. Then, when the existence of Second Chance is suddenly threatened unexpectedly, it takes a lot of courage and bridge building to confront the threat.
THE SECOND CHANCE is a heartfelt Christian drama. It is a compelling call to Christians to live out their faith in word and deed. Michael W. Smith effectively uses his natural charisma as Ethan, but the real find here is Jeff Obafemi Carr, who plays Pastor Jake with plenty of passion. The movie contains eight light obscenities. There are also some light references to gang activity and drug dealing in the inner city. So caution for younger children is advised.