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For over 2000 years, the Grand Master of the Knight’s Templar (Udo Keir) has been striving to lay his evil mitts on the lost Loculus, a mysterious box containing some almighty secrets, dating back to biblical times. Those famous people who have coveted the Loculus during that time include Sir Isaac Newton but all have proved to be only temporary custodians and most have died horrible deaths. Now, near the end of the 20th century, billionaire Magnus Martel (Terence Stamp) uncovers the secret of the deadly artefact and begs his estranged son Jake (James D’Arcy) to locate the Loculus and destroy it before the entire world is lost. 

Review by Keith Lofthouse:
Take a little hocus-pocus here, a touch of abracadabra there, mix it up with the ancient sciences of geometry, alchemy and astrology and add a dash of modern genetics. Blend into a consommé of Christianity and religion, spice with flavours mystical and supernatural and we might imagine that here is a recipe for something sublimely spiritual. And we’d be wrong! Revelation is all of these things and none of them as well, because while we may be tantalized by the foretaste of its ingredients we can barely stomach the bitter aftertaste of feeling cheated by the unholy mess of steaming mumbo jumbo that is served. 

The genesis takes us back to the times of Jesus Christ and to the creation of the loculus and its mysterious symbols in 50 AD. Over the centuries, a vicious tug of war between the forces of darkness and light is dotted with bloody disaster for the various custodians of the relic, in the form of symbolic crucifixions for those who aren’t skinned alive! Fast-forward (yes, you can do that with DVDs) to 1710 and to the primitive laboratory of Sir Isaac Newton (Ron Moody), who discovered the laws of gravity and who was a foremost member of the Masonic Order of the Knights Templar. Sir Isaac works feverishly to settle the enigma but realises that a solution is centuries away…during which time the box is conveniently lost once again. 

Zoom forth to present day: Martel assembles a crack team of scientists and scholars to decipher its secrets but when he realises that it is really a Pandora’s box, with dire ramifications for mankind, he determines that it must be destroyed. When his cryptologist son Jake is released from prison (he was sent down for some computer hacking on his dad’s behalf…never adequately explained), Martel urges him to locate the loculus and carry out his wishes. Jake is reluctant…until he witnesses the full savage fury of The Grand Master’s and teams up with an alchemy student Mira (Natasha Wightman) to traipse through Europe in search of the box. 

For all that seemed promising, what is finally contrived is a confused and indulgent race against time, leading to a ludicrous interlude of love among the sacred ruins between the earnest young ones as the Grand Master’s death squad looms, and a climax of insulting ambiguity, optimistically suggesting a sequel. With low-level effects and minimal excitement, this is Indiana Jones in a mongrel cross with The Omen and Xena The Warrior Princess, except that it is played under the doom of deadly seriousness with a wooden cast displaying all the life of cigar store Indians. Script writer Urban was nothing if not ambitious. He spent months researching the material (it shows in the information overload) to prepare for this portentous religious conspiracy thriller which makes connections between the Masons, the Vatican, the CIA and no doubt, somewhere, the kit and caboodle and the kitchen sink. 

Published February 12, 2004

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(US, 2002)

CAST: Terence Stamp, James D’Arcy, Udo Kier

DIRECTOR: Stuart Urban

SCRIPT: Stuart Urban

RUNNING TIME: 114 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9 widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Interviews with cast and crew, cast & crew bios.

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: 21st Century Pictures

DVD RELEASE: January 14, 2004

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