Both Revelation and the first Left Behind were watchable films in their own way; Tribulation alas is a ponderous bore. In the other films, the Lalondes extruded the Biblical material out into something reasonably dramatic; in Tribulation, they forget about the dramatics and frequently preach straight to the audience. The script is filled with heavy-handed Biblical info-dumps that are no more than sermons thinly wrapped in the guise of fiction. There are also times that Tribulation is downright nutty like the lunatic scene in the opening few scenes where Howie Mandel sweeps all the food off a table and starts ranting on about monkeys eating bananas dipped in saltwater that makes one wonder what planet the film has been hailed from.
More so though, the scenario that Tribulation postulates of an Anti-Christ run near-future is presented with a ludicrous lack of conviction. It is made up of cliche elements from science-fictional dystopias Men in Black, secret underground broadcasting networks, assassinations arranged for witnesses, the hero locked up in a psychiatric institution for knowing the truth. Some of the things that happen make no sense like why people would go to the extent of erasing others from photos, for instance. What we have is more of a paranoid Christians fantasy of the world where only a select few know the truth and everybody else in the world is a deluded zombie following a false messiah (where it seems that accepting the messiah means surrendering your ability to think about anything). Indeed, Tribulation holds a rather uncomplimentary view of people that the only real choice that one has is to become as a humbled child eternally bowed in worship or else a mindless slave for having the courage to want to fulfil your dreams.
You also have to laugh when the truth that the Christian underground risks their lives to broadcast turns out to be tapes of real-world televangelists such as Jack Van Impe and John Hagee. (Jack Van Impe has cited numerous dates throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s as the Biblical end of the world, while John Hagee is noted for his vicious denunciations of Islam and the Catholic Church). Tribulation is really a film for hardcore Christian fundamentalists only as to the rest of the public, the absurdly paranoid scenario is nonsensical, while the heavy-handed slinging of Bible verses in every direction makes the film heavy going for anyone who is not of faith.
One of the notable aspects of Cloud Tens films is that the Lalonde brothers have been willing to cast name stars in an effort to carry their films to the broader public. However, the Lalondes budgets never extend to being able to obtain more than B-list and has-been stars. Tribulation marshals a fair cast of such names Margot Kidder and Howie Mandel, who were once considered rising stars in the 1980s, but never went anywhere, and Gary Busey (who made a well publicised conversion to Christianity). As the cop turned Christian, Gary Busey is probably playing a hero rather than a brutish heavy for about the first time ever in his career and does okay in the role. Nick Mancuso returns as the Anti-Christ, which he also played in the previous and subsequent film in the series. Alas, Mancuso plays leeringly over-the-top. Surely, one suspects, that if the Devil does exist, he would be a far better seducer than the ridiculous poseur we see in Nick Mancusos hammy performance here. Margot Kidder gives another of her sparkly, live wire performances but she is the wrong sort of person to be cast in the role of a person earnestly spouting Bible verses.
Full film available online here:-