Starring Dylan Walsh, Ice T, Erika Eleniak, Claudia Christian, Rick Ducommun, Heidi Schanz, John Koyama, Jonathan Fuller, Stephen Macht, Michael Bailey Smith, Thom Adcox-Hernandez, Beau Billingslea
Directed by Jim Wynorski
Expectations: High after Stealth Fighter.
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
Final Voyage is the perfect example of a great movie on paper. A Titanic-sized boat filled to the brim with wealthy socialites and a vault full of their unspecified riches. Ice T leading a crack team of thieves onto the boat to steal said riches. A John McClane-esque character guarding former Playboy Playmate Erika Eleniak of Under Siege fame. And Jim Wynorski, director of the incredibly awesome Chopping Mall and last week’s Stealth Fighter. With these elements at its disposal, Final Voyage should be something to see, and it was these very reasons that swayed me to include it over other Ice T films. Unfortunately, it’s kinda middle of the road, mostly composed of poor action and boring dialogue.
Regardless of all the missed potential here, Final Voyage is still pretty enjoyable as a B-Movie thanks to our lead villains Claudia Christian and Ice T. Christian does a great job with the material, making her scenes pop a little more than the rest, while Ice directs the show for most of the movie from the bridge, but you know what that means… he’s not really involved in the action. What. The. FUUUUCK. This is a supreme disappointment for me, especially coming off of Surviving the Game where it was all Ice T icing dudes all the time. Claudia Christian (of Babylon 5 fame) is Ice’s right hand, so she spends most of the movie doing the thug shit that I’d rather see Ice do. I’d also rather see Ice in the John McClane hero role, taking down confident crooks with his self-assured swagger. Oh well, like Stealth Fighter before it, Ice gets a nice villain monologue that somewhat makes up for my disappointment. But don’t get too excited, it’s not nearly on the same level as the previous one, even if a dope slow jam starts playing right as he starts the monologue. The only logical reason for this to happen would be if one of his thugs was carrying around a boombox for this very occasion, and even though I didn’t see that guy, I’m going to assume that’s what happened.
I did enjoy Final Voyage though, so let’s focus on the positive. The opening scene is incredible. It features our hero played by Dylan Walsh guarding an old movie star on an airplane. A bunch of dudes whip out guns at an opportune moment and hijack the plane. Dylan, being the security badass that he is, wrestles the gun away from one of the men near him, somehow blasting open the cabin door in the process. The open cabin door is clearly just a set with a blue backdrop behind it, so when hijackers comically fly out of the door, it’s ridiculously funny. If only the rest of the movie had this endearing, shitty quality about it.
It’s also worthy of note to mention Jim Wynorski’s ability to sandwich a plot into a shitload of stock footage. Stealth Fighter was a much better example of this, but the interesting thing about watching Final Voyage a few days after that one is that both films use the same “small aircraft flying around the desert” footage. The Internet says this footage is all from Iron Eagle, but as I haven’t seen that since I was about eight or so, I can neither confirm or deny. Anyway, because both films use essentially the same footage from the same scene we can really get a handle on how Wynorski is able to edit around whatever footage he has to create a fresh story. In Stealth Fighter, it’s a lighthearted scene where a father shows off for his daughter, but in Final Voyage it’s a nail-biting flight of death as the plane nearly crashes into the red, rocky hills. If nothing else, this should prove that editing is one of the most key components to making a film what it is.
But even with Wynorski’s clever use of the stock footage, you just can’t get around the fact that most of Final Voyage‘s stock footage is boring. Here’s the giant ship in the harbor! Here’s the giant ship out to sea! Yeah, kinda boring. There’s a bit of fun when a bunch of Ice’s compadres jump out of a plane and then board the boat, but even that is fairly lackluster footage that consists mostly of the guys in wetsuits trying to climb rope ladders dropped down the side of the ship. So this might sound a little odd, but as there’s a lot more actual “shot for this movie” stuff in this one, and a lot of that is also slow and boring, it all comes together to leave Final Voyage stranded out to sea.
Final Voyage is a hard movie to write about because nothing incredible happens on either side of the trash/art spectrum. It’s so average and personally disappointing to me that I’m sort of mentally paralyzed. If you’ve ever wished for a movie that mashed Die Hard and Titanic together, then this is it, and that’s not to say that there’s stock footage from either of those films here. Final Voyage is still moderately entertaining regardless of its many flaws, and it does feature Ice doing a few good Ice things. Now there’s a ringing endorsement for a movie if I’ve ever written one!
“…Still moderately entertaining…” – Silver Emulsion
Should be on the DVD cover.