Arc Angel Gabriel (Andy Whitfield) is the last of the seven Arcs to step into the ancient war between the Light and the Dark, whose warriors, seven each side, have warred over the souls in purgatory for centuries. As Gabriel takes human form - as do all the Arcs and the Fallen - he faces an all-powerful enemy in the ruler of purgatory, Sammael (Dwaine Stevenson) who now holds the balance of power. But he revels in the redemptive power of love when he rescues Jade (Samantha Noble) and resolves to end the savage war.

Ambitiious, but lacking in content.

Sometimes a film has to get an 'A' for ambition. Gabriel – made by Sydneysiders Shane Abbess and Matt Hylton Todd – is one such case.The boys aren’t saying how much it cost to make their dark fantasy. They say "think a very low number – maybe a small fraction of what it cost to feed Keanu Reeves on The Matrix. It’s impressive, what they’ve gotten on screen, but I wish they’d made the script leaner and meaner. And as the overlong film keeps going, its debt to The Matrix and Blade Runner becomes more and more obvious.

Gabriel begins with half a novel’s worth of text crawl telling us there are seven angels of light and seven of darkness all fighting for souls in purgatory-like limbo. Purgatory here is your typical gothic-movie vision: a city of endless night and rain and dry-ice smoke, in which everyone looks like an extra from a Cult music video. After six good angels have failed to restore the light, the seventh, Gabriel, is sent down to smite bad-angel ass. In the film’s most interesting angle, Gabriel finds that his fellow angels are still alive, but seduced by the allure of mortality. A lot of mumbo-jumbo talk ensues, punctuated by occasional punch-ups and gunplay.

Shane Abbess has gotten solid performances from his cast and some of the action is clever. But the special effects are thin in places, particularly when the bad angels’ faces are in blur-o-vision. The overuse of close-ups to disguise the lack of sets becomes dull after a while.

I’m not a huge fan of this sort of movie – mythology that needs a lot of explaining and supernatural dudes with guns in trenchcoats leave me cold. That said, I liked this better than the Underworld movies and I can see that some fantasy fans might enjoy losing themselves in the layers of back story.

Gabriel definitely gets an A for ambition but its deficiencies mean it languishes in The Movie Show purgatory of 2 ½ stars