Thursday, 2 June 2011

Prior To War There Is ...

The Final Sanction
(1990 / USA)

‘‘The American, he does not have a chance’’

What if the future of world wars were decided upon the confrontation between chosen participants, each representing the super powers of the planet, highly trained individuals conditioned to kill !?. The fate of democracy and free will would then lay in the outcome of … The Final Sanction !.

Prolific ‘B’ movie Action film making auteur David A. Prior directs his interpretational concept of war chess, in placing two combatants fighting against each other, winner takes all.

When the United States Of America and Russia launch nuclear missiles in pre-emptive strikes against each other it signals the gauntlet to spare two nations mass populations, a preamble to logical resolution of disagreement, and a practical solution to safeguarding the innocent. The two super powers arrange for a showdown, on a level playfield, in a neutral zone, between their chosen champions. A modern day equivalent of a duel. The winning combatant giving right of resolution to their governing heads of state.

Sergeant Tom Batanic, a disgraced special operations soldier, convicted criminal and incarcerated in a maximum security prison, is emancipated from his long term hell. With the opportunity to have all charges against him wiped clean Batanic takes up the mantle charged to him by his country. He is fast tracked into a full on training procedure to hone his already given talents. Army training and Batanic training, however, don’t actually see eye to eye. The former sergeant isn’t one for taking orders, but when set free from the shackles of bureaucratic pomp and procedure Batanic is a man of mass destruction !.

In the Russian Spetsnaz command camp their military leaders task Major Galashkin, played by the ubiquitous mighty bad assed villain William Smith, to evaluate, train, and psychologically hone their war readied beast, Sergeant Sergei Schvackov !. A man mountain of forward motion muscle, who’s perchance is a lethal throwing delivery of a sharp edged shovel like weapon. Robert Z’Dar is perfectly cast as the Spetsnaz version of Robocop, an unyielding force of unmitigated might, and a man with a bigger chin population than the whole of China !.

Schvackov is subjected to the most intensive physical and mental training schedule, isolated away in a dark and clinical low level facility away from the outside world. His one on one total fortification is engrained upon him by the unforgiving solidarity of William Smith’s superbly grizzled army major. Robert Z’Dar’s larger than life plastic action commando figure is breathed life into by Smith’s character, and once freed from the figurative plastic covered box containment he’s ready to turn his opponent into a disfigured Ken doll, and make Barbie look like a twisted version of Jackie Stallone.

The coming together of the two combatants upon the battle zone is high Action entertainment. Both machines of war let rip upon each other with guns, knives, brawn and bravado, but in the end it is the use of brain and tactical nouse that wins the day.

After throwing everything at each other, including brazen use of a bazooka, the two seasoned warriors gain respect for each other and come the end the result of the coming together is resolved in good old fashioned hand to hand, mano a mano combat. Both men aware that they are first and foremost soldiers, and not pawn representations of their governing puppet masters. They cut the strings of the insidious charade and fight for their own honour, each resolute in the satisfaction that may the best man win.

Big Fun Action outing from Director David A. Prior, with sound performances from his lead players. A very prophetic take on how future major disagreement outbreak may be resolved, but even with minimal loss of life will we ever be able to overcome the far greater reaching ramifications that still involve us all !?. Free your film Fun, drop such politics and pick up this ‘B’ movie Prior‘ity’. Now that’s a Final Sanction !.

Movie Rating: 6/10

Review by Paul Cooke / Source Japanese NTSC VHS

The Final Sanction (1990)
Director David A. Prior
With Ted Prior, Robert Z’Dar, Renee Cline,
David Crawford & William Smith


  1. Great write-up, Paul! Always wanted to see this one. Love Ted Prior and AIP flicks.

  2. Thanks Ty, The combination of David A. Prior behind the camera & brother Ted in front more often than not delivers the Action goodies & this is definitely one of them. Well worth seeking out.

  3. Just purchased a copy off Amazon. Looking forward to seeing\reviewing it!