To get to the point of all this, John-Rhys Davies receives top billing in War of Resistance. Let's see whether or not it's an exception to the rule...
War of Resistance (also known as Return To The Hiding Place) revolves around the story of two true-life figures of World War II, Corrie Ten Boom and Hans Poley, both of who did heroic work during the Nazi Occupation of the Netherlands. Hans joined the resistance as a student and went on many dangerous missions for them, whilst Corrie had the equally dangerous task of hiding Jewish folk in a secret room, The Hiding Place.
The tale has both of them doing their best to help their fellow men and women, but they are hindered by many things, the biggest and most important of which is: this movie is terrible. But it's a different kind of terrible. First of all, the acting, writing, direction are all as poor as sin. Stilted performances, obvious exposition-filled cliched writing, no tension whatsoever and some awful special effects cloud this film but still don't obscure the bigger picture.
This movie, unfortunately, uses the memories and stories of real-life heroic souls in what can only be described as borderline Christian propaganda. The entire film is based on having pure Christian heroes who are also most accomodating in allowing other religious believers, although they are portrayed as being a little mad at best, or beastly at worst. At the film's end, we have a speech shoved in our face about how great God and the Christian faith is, and an image of one of the main characters talking about how good Heaven is.
The characters in the film might as well be cardboard. The evil Nazi is pretty funny, not in the way you'd imagine but that he is given almost a comic-book style in a serious film about Nazi occupation. He's given a nickname ('The Collector') that reminded me of Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds, not something you really want to think of regarding a serious take on the topic. He also makes a lampshade out of a Jewish child ala Leatherface. I'm not sure if they ever did this kind of thing, but it came out pretty extreme.
But it's the kind of writing this film has. Good Guy A tells Good Guy B "Bad news, we have a traitor" and in the immediate next scene we have a scene of the traitor being immediately revealed, with it only being revealed (1) how they knew there was a traitor and (2) how they knew who it was at the end of the scene, instead of some tense scenes showing him being discovered.
The traitor himself also confesses he betrayed them because the Nazis have his sister, at which point our clean-cut hero says that if he doesn't betray the Nazis, the resistance will take his sister, which seems a bit extreme. But then I guess they have to be a little nasty when your antagonist is an evil lamp-shade-making paedophile (yep, they imply that as well) who is sadly one of the best actors in the film (the other being Mimi Sagadin's Connie). He also looks like John Inman.
The film also has one bit of semi-excitement: a Nazi chase scene, which unfortunately takes place just after one of the resistance proposes to his girlfriend. Yes, ladies and gentleman, this is right out of the Rambo: First Blood, Part II school of writing. It's unfortunate that the only other scene approaching anything like excitement - a fight scene between our Brit hero and an oafish Nazi - is akin to watching Dr. Robotnik trying to chase down Sonic the Hedgehog.
John Rhys-Davies does add a touch of class to the proceedings, but that class comes far too late in the overlong (two hours!) running time. To sum this film up, the opening credits have a spelling mistake. I'm sorry John, but this has very little chance of breaking your rule. Maybe you can get Steven Spielberg to make Sallah: The Motion Picture. Just a thought.
War of Resistance is out on DVD now, assuming any of you might want to purchase it. You crazy fools.