Friday, August 22, 2014

Final Voyage

FINAL VOYAGE is a direct-to-video thriller that manages to rip off UNDER SIEGE, which was a ripoff of DIE HARD. Amazingly, director Jim Wynorski got Erika Eleniak, who was in UNDER SIEGE, to star in it. It’s one of many action movies made in the late 1990s: a time when independent studios often bought stock footage of setpieces from studio movies and wrote a story around them (for instance, shots from DEEP RISING and, I think, NAVY SEALS). That practice dried up a few years later when the producer of CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER saw one of his action sequences on a JAG episode and went apeshit.

The charisma-challenged Dylan Walsh (CONGO) stars in FINAL VOYAGE as professional bodyguard Aaron Carpenter, who, after screwing up a job in the opening scene (although it appears to me as though he did okay), receives an even better gig (!) protecting an heiress (Eleniak) on a cruise ship. Unfortunately, the ship is the target of terrorists led by Josef (Ice-T) and slinky Max (Claudia Christian).

What’s really amazing about FINAL VOYAGE is how shoddy the production looks. The cruise ship rarely has more than a handful of extras, the “bowels” of the ship were obviously filmed in some sort of factory or refinery (check out the concrete walls), and every other scene features the same prop life preserver hanging on the wall—one that misspells the name of the ship!

If you’re looking for an exciting action movie, avoid this voyage at all costs, but if you don’t mind mocking the multitude of continuity errors (keep your eye on the shoulder Walsh gets shot in), cheap sets, clunky dialogue, and mismatched stock footage (one lengthy sequence borrows quite heavily from JUGGERNAUT, a movie made 25 years earlier!), you could have a good time with it.

While the movie is nothing to get excited about, the audio commentary track on the out-of-print Artisan DVD is. Wynorski and (especially) Christian have a rollicking time ripping the movie to shreds, "MSTing" everything from Ice-T's acting deficiencies to the ludicrous plot contrivances to, of course, that damned life preserver. It's one of the most entertaining commentaries I've listened to, and I agree with Wynorski when he says it's ten times more entertaining than the film.


Richard Harland Smith said...

Now I want to watch JUGGERNAUT again.

Grant said...

No matter how bad it's considered, there's one spoiler I'm looking for after reading this.
I'm always asking this (including asking it on this site) when a story has a "villainess" character, but what happens to "Max"?
(It's just that a huge number of adventure stories that have a villainess seem to go out of their way to avoid a showdown scene between that character and the male hero - either because they're afraid of looking misogynistic, or they want to work in a big showdown between her and the HEROINE, or whatever reason. So when a story DOES have one of those scenes, it's like some breath of fresh air to me, which is one of the reasons I'm always looking for them.)

Marty McKee said...

Just what you would expect, Grant. Max gets in an anti-climactic tussle with the leading lady, who shoots Max in the belly with Max's gun.

Grant said...

Thank you, but I'm sorry to hear it. That's nearly the only movie cliché I can see coming from the very beginning of a movie - if there's a female "good guy" and a female "bad guy," you can just about bet money on it happening!
(I know that "cat fight" scenes - and I'm using that phrase to include gun and knife scenes - entertain countless people, but it's the SHEER NUMBER of them that gets on my nerves.)

Grant said...

The reference to DIE HARD reminded me of one that's a SORT OF "ripoff" of it but still manages to be pretty unusual, CYBERJACK a.k.a. VIRTUAL ASSASSIN. Are you planning to review it some time, or have you already?

Marty McKee said...

I have seen VIRTUAL ASSASSIN, and I did describe it as a DIE HARD copy. I probably won't blog about it, but you can read all my reviews at Yes, it's an ugly horrible website, and one of these days (I've been saying this for ten years) I'll update to something better.