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The 100




Final Conflict, The
(1981)
Reviewed by Steve Crow
Rating: 8 Beans

hile the original Omen movie has received plenty of attention (and an entry in the "50 Worst Movies of All Time" book), folks seem to pretty much ignore the conclusion of the trilogy (which of course wasn't really a trilogy, if you count the made-for-TV Omen IV: The Awakening). My personal theory is that people were just sick of the whole Omen thing by the time the third one rolled out. Even the original's director and writer, Richard Donner and David Seltzer, seemed to want to be well-rid of it, and thank goodness we didn't get Seltzer's six-part vision of "The Life of Damien" or whatever he had originally planned.

The plot is pretty basic. Damien Thorn (Sam Neill - Jurassic Park) is the son of the Devil, born to Earth by a jackal. After having been maneuvered to a position of power with the death of his human stepfather in the first movie, and having realized the full extent of his power and embraced it in the second movie, Damien is now set for the coming of his father to Earth. As Ambassador to Britain, he plans to take control of Earth while prophesied conflict in the Middle East continues. The only thing that might stop him is the second coming of Jesus Christ (i.e., "the Nazarene" as Damien keeps calling him). Oh, that and seven priests of an obscure order that have got hold of the seven daggers needed to kill him. Well, apparently you only need one now, and the killing doesn't need to be done on consecrated ground (grossly contradicting the first movie, but no one really cares by now, five years later).

So Damien must use his pretty much omnipotent powers to kill off the priests, providing the occasional burst of bloodletting for which the Omen flicks are best remembered. Needless to say, they don't pose much of a challenge. Damien must also kill the Nazarene, which he does by having his followers kill every baby born in England during an astral conjunction. And he must get it on with a newscaster (Lisa Harrow) and corrupt her son Peter (Barnaby Holm). Since this is the "Final Conflict", the movie comes down to a final showdown between "The Nazarene" and...umm, "The Italian"? (Damien was born in Italy). One side sorta wins, and one side sorta loses.

Sam Neill is moderately scary. However, with his greasy comb-over and the ludicrous dialogue he's given, he doesn't have a chance. He gets to deliver his monologues against God and Christ while cavorting about a statue of Jesus in his secret lair (the Damien-Cave?), and look cool and collected when twitching his eyebrow and making yet another would-be threat die.

Honestly, pretty much everyone in this movie is forgettable except for veteran actor Don Gordon. The seven priests are kind of impressive (I like the burly bearded one who falls off his horse). Problem is, they're also pretty much forgettable. Cannon fodder are like that.

The main problem is that nothing really happens that makes sense. Damien believes in the prophecies (including the one that he will be defeated) but fights them anyway. He needs his followers to go out and kill the suspected Nazarene via mass slaughter, but can then use his powers of mind control to get the wife of his aide to kill her own child anyway. There are continuing reports of the Middle Eastern conflicts but nothing ever comes of it. Damien is pretty much omnipotent throughout, but gets readily killed at the end. And what the ending is supposed to signify is anyone's guess.

Thankfully, The Final Conflict is the last gasp for the "true" Omen series of films. (Ignore the el-cheapo #4 at all costs.)






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