Omen III: The Final Conflict (Graham Baker) 1981
Going against my usual protocol on this one. Like my Warlock reviews I like to go through a series to have it all fresh in my head before tackling a sequel. This is one of *those * movies I always saw as a kid and was interested by but never rented. I mean come on, it is Sam Neill as the Antichrist all grown up. He is not some kid protected by Satan anymore but fully grown evil dude who is going to be President of the United States. I always wanted to know how the story ended. This was a cinematic itch I needed to scratch.
The story for this movie is Damien (Sam Neill) is the head of Thorn Corporation and is on the fast track to a big political career. He is about to be unstoppable but Damien sees a prediction that a child will come from England to destroy him. Damien accepts an ambassadorship in England and sends his minions to kill all the recently born male boys. Meanwhile, a group of monks find the seven daggers of Meggido (the only weapon that can kill Damien) and go on a mission to assassinate him.
Sounds like the potential for awesome for me. Powerful Antichrist and his legions of minions killing people all over England and monks on a mission to kick ass for the Lord? Sign me up. Sadly, what is promised and what is delivered are two completely different things. Where do I begin?
How about the decision to follow Damien as our lead character. That’s odd. I’m not quite sure why we are following the bad guy through the movie. You might think the writers were trying to add some depth to the character or maybe make him a tragic figure. You know, make him an unwilling pawn in a cosmic chess match between God and Satan. But no, Damien is just evil. He is either giving eeeeeevil prayers to Satan or ordering minions to do evil things. I don’t even think it’s entertaining evil like Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate. Neill is giving mass murder orders like he is in some corporate board room telling his subordinates he sent out an email about TPS reports. Who would have thought Armageddon would be run more like Office Space?
Not like the killer monks story line would have been any more interesting. I would think if you had one mission in life, that mission being kill the Antichrist or all life dies, you might train a bit. I would personally move to Asia and only come back when I have in fact become a ninja like Batman. That being said I do set high goals for myself. But I would personally be happy if the assassins for Christ were not middle aged fat asses who have gorged on too many communion wafers. These guys aren’t just out of shape, they are klutzes to boot. Let me give you an example. So Damien is getting interviewed on some news program and one of the monks has found a way onto the set. For some reason the monk thinks he should go on the rafters above the set. Why? I guess a thirty foot leap off the balcony with a dagger was a better option than just running up and stabbing Damien but whatever. While he is up there, he trips, gets his foot caught in some of the rigging and he swings from the rafters. While this is happening he knocks over some stage lights which set the curtains on fire. The monk swings around, wraps himself in plastic sheeting, swings over to the burning curtains, then sets himself on fire which simultaneously burns him and shrink wraps him to death. That had nothing to do with Satan or evil forces; the dude was just a dumbass. You can see why I don’t exactly have a lot of faith in these guys right?
I remember looking at the timer at one point to see how much longer I had and was surprised I only had ten minutes left. That is not a testament to how good the writing is, it is because I was genuinely wondering when the climax would come. It never felt like we were building to Armageddon at all. Everyone is just going about their business and whole plot lines come and go without much point or resolution. Let me again go to a few examples.
Damien gets appointed to Ambassador to England because he does the President a favor. He provides intelligence about a conflict in the Middle East which saves the President media grief. Later on it is discovered the intelligence was completely false. Damien’s associates all agree the intel leak in the Middle East must be eliminated before it ties back to Damien but Damien can’t kill him because his powers are diminished. There are several scenes where they discuss this and everyone is stressing out. Does it ever get resolved? Nope, let’s move on.
There is also this subplot where Damien romances a news reporter and makes her son an acolyte of Satan. I realize this ultimately ties into the climax of the movie but it is a stretch because I don’t get why Damien bothers in the first place. Why talk to the reporter? Is it really for romance? Why think of romance a few weeks away from Armaggeddon? Why does he think Edward Cullen rape sex is romantic? Does he romance her to get to the son? Why? Does he need a spy? He’s got thousands of humans who will do his bidding. Wouldn’t it be dangerous to open up to an investigative reporter when you are trying to keep the whole Antichrist thing a secret? Wouldn’t making her son an acolyte of Satan make things even more awkward? Going back to the whole rape thing did he think she wouldn’t take it personally? Did he think she’d like it? Why? Why? WHY?
This movie both confuses me and bores me. Despite being a movie about the final conflict between Heaven and Hell it is all waaaaaay too tame. The action is too slow paced, the writing is borderline laughable, the death scenes are huge steps down from the original Omen, and the plot is poorly paced with many cul de sacs. On a postscript, I personally find it hilarious there is an Omen IV which is not some prequel but follows after the events of this movie. I would think that is hard to do since at the end of Omen III Jesus returns, the final conflict between Heaven and Hell is over, and they flatly say peace reigns and no one will know death from that point on. Kind of hard to hand waive away God coming and stopping death and all that!!!