Review of 'The Final Countdown'

the_final_countdown.jpg Is it just me or does everyone else have the song by Europe going through their heads when they see the title of this film? Anyway…I was looking forward to this older SF film to see just what it was like having heard of it but never actually watched it.

USS Nimitz, a modern US aircraft carrier captained by Matthew Yelland (Kirk Douglas) is stationed off the coast of Hawaii when visited by systems analyst Warren Lasky (Martin Sheen). An unusual storm approaches the aircraft carrier, engulfing the ship. After the storm the dazed crew quickly realize there are no indicators of modern communications then later that they have arrived just before the attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbour in the second World War. With their military strength they are no match for the Japanese attack squadron so they now are faced with a dilemma: Let history proceed as it should or prevent one of the greatest military defeats of all time…

This feels very much like an extra-long advertisement for the US Navy, albeit now a somewhat outdated one. The effects are, as you might expect, quite ropey though this is true even for the year in which the film was made. It feels a bit cheap with perhaps most of the budget thrown at the two megastars at the top of the bill. Unfortunately neither are really taxed too much with flat, boring dialogue delivered at a pace that would put a snail to sleep.

The story is banal and it's conclusion more than a bit unsatisfactory though hardly surprising. The characters are all flat Americans who are there simply to react to the events as they unfold and spend a lot of time simply standing around and pondering their position. There is the seemingly obligatory (at the time) romance that eventually delivers perhaps the only surprise, albeit an incredibly small one, of the whole film. To say this film feels overlong is to insult the term.

“The Final Countdown” is boring, laborious and lacklustre serving of interest only to serious die-hard fans of either Sheen or Douglas, or cheap SF films from the 80s. Not worth your time.

Rating: “A slight glimmer of hope, but mostly awful”

Review Date: 2022-12-11

Directed by: Don Taylor

Studio: Bryna Productions

Year: 1980

Length: 103 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction