Tag Archives: 1981

Review of The Final Conflict (1981)

25 Nov

The Final Conflict (1981) is a horror/thriller film, the third film in the The Omen film franchise.

Directed by Graham Baker (Alien Nation (1988), Beowulf (1999)).

Written by Andrew Birkin (Joan of Arc (1999), Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)).

Starring: Sam Neill, Rossano Brazzi, Don Gordon, Lisa Harrow, Barnaby Holm, Mason Adams, Dick Anthony Williams and others.

Once again we follow Damien Thorn, who now is 32 and the CEO of Thorn Industries, one of the most powerful corporations in the world. Don’t be fooled by thinking that the movie is set in the future. It is set in 1982, so since 1976 when Damien was about 5 he has grown up really fast.

After getting hypnotised by a dog, the US ambassador to Great Britain commits the most elaborate suicide ever and guess who gets appointed in his place? Our friendly neighbourhood Damien. So the movie is basically about his rise to power, while a bunch of people try to get in his way, only to suffer horrible deaths.

It is revealed through concrete scientific evidence that some sort of star alignment crap suggests the second coming of Christ. Not on Damien’s watch, he’s going to kill every child born on a specific date. Oh, but guess what, his right hand man has one of them Christ-children, so we get a subplot that matters very little.

The scenes where the astronomers are figuring out how stars mean that they should bring back crucifixions, introduces one of my big disappointments. The score suddenly contains some distinctly 80’s sci-fi themes. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it is not mixed in with the classic, huge Jerry Goldsmith chanting parts, that are common in The Omen series. It’s just two clashing styles.

The themes and implications the movie brings up are quite interesting, sadly they’re not really explored as much as one would like. You have to think of how you would act if you knew you are destined to be a great, powerful man and something threatens this. You can identify with Damien’s paranoia, his ability to not view himself as entirely evil, since his path of life was chosen for him. I don’t want to say that his actions are reprehensible or character not despicable, but there’s a fine line to walk when your protagonist is the villain.

The movie is in a way a precursor to slasher movies, where they make sequels that progressively glorify the villain, who is the returning character on another adventure, and makes the innocents less innocent, less interesting and less likable. We don’t want the evil to be victorious, but we have started to care about Damien and he has almost become a tragic figure. To be fair, he has a lot more personality than the average slasher villain, but the connection could be made.

And yes, the good guys here come off as silly and worthless. And when we see Damien walking around, creepily charming the pants off of everyone, it is hard not to take the wrong side. If good is so boring and uninspiring, why not root for evil? That’s a fine question, that, sadly, I don’t think the movie asks intentionally.

Damien also isn’t built up as all that evil. His rise to power is quite slow. He is just a CEO of a big company, but he doesn’t seem like the most evil one even amongst real-life ones. He has a romantic interest, sure, he’s a bit rough with her in the bed and makes her son his right hand ‘young’ man. But that just doesn’t seem that bad. He’s like some mafia godfather, who doesn’t even do his own dirty work most of the time.

The worst part is probably the ending. It is well built up and it seems there will be this epic Good vs. Evil stand-off, but it’s the most anticlimactic thing imaginable. It’s just nothing, there’s no spectacle, nothing. The Omen ‘trilogy’ ends with a faint stabbing sound.

The best part about it is Sam Neill’s performance as Damien. He is really good, exuding dark charisma. Managing to look like a youthful millionaire playboy, but at the time pulling off the sinister undercurrents of the son of satan, now fully aware of his power and purpose.

Overall, I would say that the previous movie was more reliant on the novelty deaths, so if nothing else, this is better than that and Sam Neill is awesome. Still, not a worthy sequel to the original. Not recommended.

“Last night I semi-raped your mother. We are going to have so much fun today.”

Review of Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

5 Feb

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) is a horror/slasher/thriller film and the second film in the largely successful slasher film franchise Friday the 13th.

Directed by Steve Miner (Warlock (1989), House (1986)), this is his directorial debut and he also went on to direct the sequel to this film Friday the 13th Part III.

Written by Ron Kurz (King Frat (1979), Eyes of a Stranger (1981)).

Starring: Amy Steel, John Furey, Adrienne King, Warrington Gillette, Russell Todd and others.

The first movie was way too successful to leave the end of the first one just a dream and Jason jumps out of the water to be the killer this time. But not before we get some badly put together flashbacks of the previous film to set up this one, where Adrienne King returns to get an ice pick stabbed in her head by Jason. It’s nice of her to return for this minor part, I wouldn’t say she’s a great actress, but it’s sad that these movies made her leave the business.

It has more nudity than the first one, but that’s not really saying much about how good the film is. On the other hand it seems appropriate for a slasher flick to have a decent amount of naked young women.

Amy Steel is neither good or bad and also she kind of looks on the verge between really cute and a gross albino girl. The other actors are mediocre to bad as well.

Jason Voorhees doesn’t have his iconic look yet, there’s no hockey mask or worker suit, so he runs around wearing a burlap sack with an eye-hole on his head. Basically Jason looks like the Elephant Man in a plaid shirt and overalls. And an average build/height Jason wearing a pillow case isn’t the most intimidating thing ever. But at one point you see Jason’s disfigured face at one point in slow motion and he has quite a bit of hair as well.

The kills are very brief, because the movie uses immediate cut-aways from the gore, so we don’t really see much, I would’ve wanted to see the double-impalement kill.

At the end it pulls out something very similar to the first one, which is stupid. It wasn’t a bad sequel, but pretty forgettable and I think I remember only one cool death scene.

Overall, not great, too much copies the original and lacks any impact, I’d say not recommended, except maybe to tie up the transition from the killer in the first to Jason.

"I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!"

Review of Killer Elite (2011)

10 Oct

Killer Elite (2011) is an action/thriller film, loosely based on the 1991 novel The Feather Men.

Directed by Gary McKendry, whose short film Everything in This Country Must was nominated for an Oscar in 2005 and this is his feature-length debut.

Starring: Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert De Niro, Dominic Purcell and others.

The plot of this movie is a bit more intricate than I had expected, the misleading trailer made it look like Jason Statham and Clive Owen bashing the shit out of each other the whole movie, but that is not the movie at all. I doubt I can explain the plot without confusing myself, so my version is that De Niro is kidnapped because he was in Little Fockers and to prove he has realized the fault of his ways Statham is brought in to kill some ex-SAS guys. And then Clive Owen appears and all kinds of shenanigans ensue.

Robert De Niro isn’t actually in the movie a whole lot, but when he is, he’s awesome. Watching this I realized how perfect he would be for the Death Wish remake, he’s about the same age, looks like an ordinary man and the subway scene could be easily, if out of context, a scene from a Death Wish movie.

Statham, of course, plays the same character as always, but I forgive him. And I do, just because, I only recently started liking him. Why? Because I finally accepted that, yes, he might be the only current real major action star in the sense Arnold and Sly used to be. And I miss that so much.  Haven’t seen someone do a front flip while strapped to a chair. Also he’s really good at balding.

Clive Owen is, on the other hand, a completely different, more modern action hero. Where with Statham you’re pretty sure he’d easily kick your ass if you met him in person. Owen represents how modern action heroes are still with six-pack abs and all that, but more lean and handsome. And Owen might be my favourite actor of this type doing these movies in the recent years, I thought Children Of Men and Shoot ‘Em Up were both incredibly cool movies. And in this one he’s just bad-ass, stealing every scene he’s in. In case you’re wondering about his glorious moustache, the movie is set in 1980-81. Also he has a glass (or just badly damaged) eye. Despite all that he’s not the villain of the movie and that is clear pretty early on and you could just as well put the focus on his character and make a similar movie.

Dominic Purcell’s huge handlebar moustache was pretty damn impressive as well  and that guy is fucking huge himself.

Yeah, it had its cheesy moments, but actually I expected more and what I got instead was some actual plot.

The fight between Owen and Statham in the hospital was great and you could tell what is happening, which is not so common in modern action movie editing.

Overall, it’s not a great movie, but it’s entertaining and kicks ass, I enjoyed it. If you want non-stop mindless action, you’ll be disappointed or if you want super interesting and original plot and character drama, this is not for you. But if you want some old-school action that’s not too dumbed down, check this out.

Knock knock. Who's there? Reuben. Reuben who? Reuben my eyes 'cos I can't believe how ugly you are!