The Final Countdown – It’s About Time week

Yesterday I covered the good time travel films, Primer and Timecrimes. Today I want to cover the guilty pleasure one. The Final Countdown is currently available on instant Netflix.

The Final Countdown


The Final Countdown (1980) – Rated PG

What if a 1980s American aircraft carrier (with its modern firepower) time-warped back to Pacific waters just outside Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941? That’s the intriguing premise behind this sci-fi adventure that stars Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen.”

“If the United States falls under attack our job is to defend her in the past, present and future.

One Line Review: Way too much teasing – for military fetishists only.

The Final Countdown is a guilty pleasure much like Under Siege. The Final Countdown is filmed on the actual aircraft carrier Nimitz. Under Siege was filmed on an actual battleship with the USS Alabama subbing in for the USS Missouri.

For military fetishists, we get to see hook landings, a general quarters call, and a barricade landing among other things. Special effects are primitive and minimalist. The lack of special effects means that all of that wonderful aerial stuntwork is all real. Footage of the Pearl Harbor attack is taken from Tora! Tora! Tora!

The cast is decent. Modern cast members include Kirk Douglas captaining the Nimitz, James Farentino as his CAG and Martin Sheen as a civilian troubleshooter. Ron “Superfly” O’Neal appears as Commander Thurman. 1941 cast members include Katharine Ross as Laurel Scott, Charles Durning as Senator Chapman, and Soon Tek-Oh as Simura. There is nothing wrong with the cast – it’s just that they are somewhat inconsequential. Much of the rest of the cast is filled by the real life crew of The Nimitz.

Unfortunately, much of the running time is taken up with should-we-or-shouldn’t-we-change-history discussions. The music mostly consists of a grating rah-rah score that made me cringe every time it started up. If they ever reboot this property, they’ll likely deep-six the talk and add in all kinds of CGI firefights. Ultimately the Final Countdown comes across as an extended Twilight Zone episode with a large budget.

People Watch: Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman appears as Lt. Commander Kaufman. Producer Peter Douglas (Kirk’s son) appears as Quartermaster.



R.I.P. James Farentino 1938-2012

Actor James Farentino has passed away from a long illness at the age of 73. Farentino was more famous for his TV roles on Dynasty, ER, and Melrose Place than for his movies. Netflix streaming does have three of his movies currently available.

The Final Countdown (1980) – Rated PG

“What if a 1980s American aircraft carrier (with its modern firepower) time-warped back to Pacific waters just outside Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941? World history — and the U.S. entry into World War II — might have played out very differently. Given that scenario, should the crew prevent the disaster, or let history remain? That’s the intriguing premise in this sci-fi adventure that stars Kirk Douglas, Katharine Ross and Martin Sheen.”

The Final Countdown has a great concept but unfortunately rather poor execution. The film is worth watching for the footage of the Nimitz and Kirk Douglas, Charles Durning, Martin Sheen, James Farentino, and Katherine Ross are fun to watch. I think it is nearly impossible to watch this film without being disappointed by the choices made.

Dead and Buried (1981) – Rated R

“For years, the coastal town of Potters Bluff has harbored a dark secret. It seems that a number of strangers who have crossed through Potters Bluff have been brutally murdered, only to turn up in town as locals after being killed. Sure that there must be some explanation, the sheriff and the town mortician try to uncover the mystery and find something more shocking than they could have imagined. James Farentino and Melody Anderson star.”

This would probably be my pick for Farentino watching as he is the star here. This movie is rough around the edges and goes for the gross-out too often over the suspenseful but the story is original and I like the ending. Look for Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) in a small role.

Bulletproof (1996) – Rated R

“In this buddy crime comedy, hard feelings must be set aside when undercover cop Rock Keats (Damon Wayans) is first shot by small-time crook Archie Moses (Adam Sandler), then forced to team up with the bungling oaf when both men are targeted by crime boss Frank Colton (James Caan). Upon Rock’s release from the hospital, he finds out that Colton’s hit men are after him and Archie. High jinks ensue when the dueling duo run from the baddies.”

I haven’t seen this one but don’t tell my daughter. She’s a big Adam Sandler fan and then I’ll have to watch it.