April 9, 2020

V - THE FINAL BATTLE: More Jane for Your Buck

Starring Marc Singer, Faye Grant, Jane Badler (mee-ow!), Michael Ironside, Richard Herd, Andrew Prine, Sarah Douglas, Robert Englund, Michael Durrell. Directed by Richard T. Heffron. (267 min)

Review by Stinky the Destroyer

V: The Final Battle is exactly what I thought the first one was going to be.

Looking beyond its ‘80s aesthetic, the original miniseries remains a surprisingly dark, thinly-disguised parable of allied resistance to Nazi fascism, which was apparently obvious even in 1983, but since I never paid attention in history class, that shit sailed right over my head at the time. Additionally, how the story depicts the Visitors using our own media to spread fear-mongering propaganda and vilify scientists renders it alarmingly relevant four decades later.

Conversely, V: The Final Battle eschews the historical allegory and social commentary for a pulpier approach, with plenty of melodrama and pew-pew-pew action. Flashier, vampier and just a bit campier, this three-part sequel may not be as high-minded, but it’s unapologetic fun. This was also when I developed big crush on Jane Badler back then, who was underused in the original, but since-promoted to primary antagonist and resident sexpot.

See Jane smolder.
While the rest of the original cast returns as well, The Final Battle’s MVP is undoubtedly the great Michael Ironside as Ham Tyler, a mercenary who joins the Resistance. He’s always been one of those guys that has a knack for making any movie or TV show just a little bit better and his indubitable brand of badassery gives this one a welcome adrenaline boost, something comparatively-bland leading man Marc Singer is incapable of.

Edward G. Robinson...green with envy.
The Final Battle picks up where the first story left off, with the Resistance taking bolder steps to combat the alien intruders. A few new wrinkles are added, the most notable – and goofiest – being the arrival of an alien-human child, who ultimately serves as a lazy red herring during the supremely silly climax. Until then, the performances and special effects may run hot and cold, but the story is compulsively watchable and very entertaining.

Following V: The Final Battle was a weekly series that ran the concept into the ground within a single season. Despite the entire cast returning and the lovely Ms. Badler now in full pin-up mode, the premise simply didn’t lend itself to longevity. But all you really need are this and the original miniseries (released on Blu-ray by Warner Archive last year). Both were television events in the ‘80s and are still enjoyable now. 


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