Monday, 11 July 2011

Final Score

With the vigilante film genre established, exploitation directors now had another genre to railroad with their celluloid mixtures of action movie set pieces and typical revenge subplots. Of course, they completely dodged whatever artistic merit the likes of Death Wish, Dirty Harry and possibly even Taxi Driver had, and simply showcased a lot of people dying, usually against the backdrop of the then-still-mentally-fresh Vietnam war. One such movie that is arguably a cut above the rest of exploitation titles is The Exterminator, which was about a Vietnam vet who took out bloody revenge against street punks and corrupt individuals alike after a race attack was committed on his best friend. The Exterminator received notoriety after it was lashed with a scathing review from Roger Ebert for its extreme violence and harsh scenarios, it was technically better made than most exploitation movies, but received a less-notable sequel that was ultimately something more exploitative.

With that in mind, this 1986 Indonesian flick is probably a closer sequel to the original Exterminator than its real sequel ever was, especially if you wanna go by the exploitation standard of branding a sequel; if a movie has come out and has more than a few themes similar to a previous low-budget movie (Mattei's Terminator 2 not being counted), then it can be considered a sequel. The plot to Final Score follows Richard Brown (Christopher Mitchum), a Vietnam war veteran (seeing the similarities already?) living peacefully in Indonesia with his family, having made his wealth from being involved in a computer business. On the day of his son's eighth birthday though, just as Richard goes out to buy him a toy gun of all things(!), his home is invaded, and his son and servants are murdered while his wife is gangraped and then added to the bodycount. Utterly distraught, Brown takes the law into his hands as he brings back his skills as a soldier to track down each of the men who ruined his life (taking out of all their gangs too). He learns that their leader is a corrupt business rival called Mr. Hawk (Mike Abbott with eyes that stare bullets into you), who has enough evil in his mustache and range of suits to make Mr. White, of similarly-excessive wacko Indonesian revenge adventure The Intruder, to quake in his shoes. With Hawk in his sights, Brown is joined by Julia, a woman also seeking revenge for what Hawk has done to her, as their fight becomes ever-more personal.

This is a cocktail of bad taste that just has to be enjoyed, Brown's assortment of different ways of killing people is just too fun. With a child death and gangrape no less than ten minutes into the movie, this is overkill from start to finish in such a classically shameless exploitative fashion. Granted, in terms of technical structure, it leaves the similar Intruder in the dust, but also similarly its wooden acting, silly dialogue and dub work are not going to make the rape of Brown's wife particularly horrifying, just slightly uncomfortable to watch. Mitchum blankly gets himself through some pretty insane situations while spouting monotone dialogue, while Abbott just gets to widen his eyes a lot. With Mitchum's slight resemblance to Exterminator star Robert Ginty, this very well could have been sequel in some part of the world, all it's missing is a lead character name change. Of course though, you're not watching something like Final Score for acting, you're watching this to see Mitchum build himself a body pile to heaven, with lots of black humour sprinkled in between. Oh, he does alright; there's plenty of stealth kills to go around, along with a baddie getting a piece of hot iron shoved up his ass, and some insane car chases with a passenger ultimately getting impaled on a branch! As always, explosions top off most of Brown's killing sprees, with the best bang being saved for last (you best believe rocket-firing motorbikes can fly). With everything else on explicit display, the only consensual sex scene is somewhat tastefully left private.

Dialogue is incredibly cheesy, with much of the nameless goon chatter really making you feel like this is some sort of head-shaking comedy. As for the music, it's all fairly unmemorable. Directed by the singularly-named Arizal, who quite impressively worked from the 70s right up until 2000; he competently gets the action filmed well. On the other hand, the script is by, shock of shocks (almost), Deddy Armand, the same writer behind The Intruder (final name drop)! This is super-violent, super-stupid and absolutely unabashed, Final Score is a blast. This really is one of the most brainless flicks ever, one that is simply overflowing with entertainment.
  • Action: 5/5
  • Convincing me 'explosion' is a second Indonesian language: 4/5
  • Bodycount: 7/5
-James, 20 August 2010 (original date)

Review source: Japanese VHS
Screenshot source: Japanese VHS

Title information

  • Production company: Rapi Films
  • Year of release: 1986
Alternate titles:
  • Strike Commando (West Germany)
  • 皆殺しの挽歌 "Minagoroshi no banka" <Funeral song massacre> (Japan)

1 comment:

  1. We are currently running a crowfunding campaign to get this baby an official release!