Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Final Sanction

The Action Mutant…
can’t help but hum Europe’s “The Final Countdown”.

The Final Sanction

review by Joe Burrows

(written on January 7,2008)
So, a new year is upon us. There was some disappointment when it came to the Action genre last year. John McClane’s famous war cry was silenced by a gunshot to earn a PG-13 rating (how backwards is that?), Shoot ‘Em Up ate it at the box office and we’re still all waiting for that umpteenth Seagal comeback. But hey, the past shapes the future, right? And that was fully evident over the opening months of this site, as The Action Mutant still believes its 1987 and that the only horrible movie Bronson ever made was…fuck it, he NEVER made a bad movie! And there are still SO many A.I.P. titles to go through!

The Plot, as it was:
Ted Prior (DANTON in Deadly Prey) plays Batanic, a jailed soldier that has been selected for an important mission. See, America is at war with the Russkies and all so a very logical decision’s been made. Each side selects a soldier from their army and lets them loose in the woods of Virginia, where they will duel it out until one man is dead. Of course, the Russian is a brawny, brain-warped grunt named Sergei (Robert Z’Dar) and it doesn’t take a Sergei to notice that something about this whole situation is a little Sergei (yes, I used Sergei as an adjective…big whoop, wanna fight about it?) .

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!
Aside from the plot being totally hair-brained (and well…Prior-esque), Sanction commits the cardinal sin amongst action fare: it’s boring! Usually, A.I.P. flicks have a steady flow of action and/or gleefully bad acting/writing/SFX to keep the viewer going. And all of that’s there (check out Sergei surviving a full on building explosion with only a half charred face)…just not in ample amounts. Also, there are certain limits when the film only features two characters shooting at each other for half the film. And the other half of the film takes way too much time in introducing the characters, as there isn’t really a whole lot that makes them tick to begin with (Batanic’s the cocky, burned out war vet type and Sergei’s a brainwashed creation of Communist warfare). The film even lacks the usual unintentional humor that normally loads A.I.P. productions (though there are occasional howlers…heheheh, “Sergei loves all girls!”). Unfortunately, this just turns out to be a very forgettable David Prior effort, aside from Z’Dar pulling out every facial expression for his bucket sized face (the scene where William Smith’s Russian General threatens to shoot Sergei’s parents is priceless…pricelessly bad!).

Body Count/Violence: 3. Three? What the hell, man? Aren’t A.I.P. films supposed to have dead bodies literally tossed onto the set from both sides just to make things look credible? Hence, this is one of the limitations The Final Sanction faces. With two guys shooting at each other for the better part of 45 minutes, that’s all that really happens. And if you’re expecting a lot of innocent bystanders to end up as collateral damage…well, keep expecting. Aside from intermittent shooting and explosions, the only novelty is that Sergei’s main weapons consist of what look for the entire world like projectile gardening trowels. SERGEI LOVES GARDENING!

Sexuality/Nudity: None.

Language/Dialogue: Only occasionally strong.

How bad was it?:
No reviews are listed for it but the fan feedback isn’t exactly glowing.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
Filmed in the Prior’s backyard (probably literally at some points) of Mobile, Alabama, The Final Sanction was given a direct-to-video release through A.I.P. Video on 11/30/90. There are no box office figures for it but you’ll be happy to know you can purchase it on VHS for the low price of $4.99! Or more likely, you’ll hypothetically purchase it and feel happier keeping your real $4.99.

Film: */*****
Entertainment value: *1/2/*****

Copyright 2008 The Action Mutant.

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