V – THE FINAL BATTLE (1984)
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)
ON BLU-RAY FROM
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.
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS.