"Birth is pain. Death is pain. Beauty is pain." - Damien
Yup we've reached the end of the beheaded path as THE FINAL CONFLICT is the last of THE OMEN films, rounding up the trilogy with class. No, the piss-poor made for TV quasi Omen remake (but with a girl) OMEN 4 THE AWAKENING or the lousy 2006 cash-in update, don't count in that little bubble that I call my world. OMEN 3 THE FINAL CONFLICT got a lot of heat when first released and still carries a "rep" of being poor to this day, but I on the other end of the crucifix, whole heartily disagree. I think its the best of THE OMEN sequels.
Should've called this one "Days in the Life of an Antichrist" as Damien took center stage in this entry and was basically the point of focus throughout. And I was all for that! Seeing how the son of Satan handled moving up in the ranks of politics (sweet murder), his relationships with others and with himself was mucho compelling for me and I couldn't get enough of it. The brilliant casting of New Zealander actor Sam Neil in the lead role sure had a lot to do with that. Neil's Damien worked as he looked the part and his multi faceted performance of charismatic, menacing, evil yet somewhat still endearing brought it home with gusto. Straight up I was actually rooting for Damien to succeed for the bulk of the movie as he was easily the most fascinating character in here. With that said, I started rooting for "good" to prevail when Damien crossed the line to oversee some pretty nasty things.
Which brings me to another of the film's strength, its big bulldog balls. Lets just say that at a certain point, the offing of newborns came into play and although the flick suggested most of the atrocities committed onscreen, it gave me enough visual hints for my dead brain cells to gap the rest, hence me being freaking horrified! I cherished every second of it! You wouldn't see stuff like that in something made today that's for Aunt Jemima sure! Most of the narrative structure pleased me as well! The main anti-Damien threat (them silly Monks) was a swell idea, one that was executed in a fair fashion and the "love story" (term used loosely, Damien shows love with anal rape) surprisingly worked too! The latter was well written and the chemistry (between Neil and the talented Lisa Harrow) was "on"! It was so refreshing to see such a layered and strong female character in a genre film. She was a mother, a career driven woman and an individual who happens to like sex! You know, a real woman, not a one-note cliche! NICE! Baptize on top of that firm directing that for the most part captured the epic like nature of this tale, more restraint yet still groovy "creative kills" and Jerry Goldsmith's hard hitting score and you get a fitting end to a franchise that never should've been in the first place.
On the sour side of the red wine, the flick had a slow burn pace. Didn't bother me much to be honest as I was too busy being transfixed to the great Sam Neil to give a damn but it needed to be yapped. The film's worse fault though had to do with the "bypassing" of the series' rules as per established by the original. Damien needs to be stabbed with all 8 knives to be killed not just one. And the fact that this second sequel blatantly ignored that crucial rule just to make its own plot work, insulted me as an "Omen" fan. The Monks needed some work as well! They came across as tad too bumbling and disorganized whilst being weak characterization wise. If these clowns were in charge of saving the world in real life, we'd be in big trouble on little planet! Finally the ending blew. The flick spent its time building to a grandiose finale and instead we get a ho hum cap-off filled with contrivances and next to zero punch. Damien deserved better than this and so did we!
Overall though, OMEN 3 THE FINAL CONFLICT made for a slick watch! It had a strong storyline, good actors (Neil was this movie!) and it wasn't afraid to venture into some pretty disturbing corners. The script still needed some tap-tap-tap and so did the "yawn" ending but I dug it the most nonetheless. AVE SATANI THIS!