The Final Alliance (1989)
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Audience Reviews for The Final Alliance
The infamous "Get a Life!" sketch from Saturday Night Live may have drawn ire from fanboys, but it represented a new beginning for William Shatner, as he showed that, yes, he does have a sense of humor about how ridiculous he'd become. Shatner followed this, through a series of cameo appearances, a biography, self-referential TV ads and the film [i]Free Enterprise[/i] (where he plays a bizarre Kirk-like version of himself), by managing to become the first real postmodern actor/celebrity. He was once known as a professional actor, he played major roles in a pair of television series now known for their "camp" value, and struck back by embracing his own goofiness. It was a bizarre career trajectory, but Shatner blazed a trail and managed to come out of it intact, to the point where he's now back where he started, gaining accolades and Emmys for his role on "Boston Common." Others performed the same trick--Adam West acknowledged that he was a joke and now is best known for playing the alternate universe Adam West, Mayor, on "Family Guy." Few, however, have managed to pull a Shatner to such a degree as David Hasselhoff. Hasselhoff has turned himself into one of the great kitch icons of our time, going from one tremendously popular yet completely vapid TV series ("Knight Rider") to another ("Baywatch"), stopping in between to delve into the squalid depths of TV movies and foreign exploitation films. He's since embraced the joke he'd stumbled into becoming, appearing as himself in two films last year, one, [i]The Spongebob Squarepants Movie[/i], G-rated, the other,[i] A Dirty Shame,[/i] NC-17. It says a lot when a celebrity simply being themselves is a good enough joke to amuse both ADD-ridden 6-year-olds[i] and [/i]subsersive, misanthropic hipsters. [i]Final Alliance[/i] is an example of the sort of film that made Hasselhoff a kitchy cult figure, and paradoxically, it's the sort of film that he can no longer make. It's a perfectly serious action/adventure tale of revenge, with Hasselhoff as a butt-kicking cowboy type, but where then it was made with the best of intentions, now you couldn't help but think that Hasselhoff was silently smirking at the audience the whole time. Knowing that he's in on the joke that he's become has kind of ruined the gag. In [i]Alliance,[/i] Hasselhoff plays Will Colton, who comes back home to a small Texas town after years away to the point where nobody recognizes him. In fact, they all think he's dead, as his family was killed years ago and their house now sits abandoned. Colton and his pet puma Felix... (See? Look at that. You're giggling. You're giggling because it's a movie starring David Hasselhoff and a puma. It's funny not just because it's a puma, but because it's DAVID HASSELHOFF and a puma. I still assure you, the movie is serious.) Colton and his pet puma Felix scare off the squatter at his house, but the squatter is part of a gang of bikers called the Vipers, led by an albino named Ghost, played by John Saxon. (Yes, I know Saxon is not an albino. Instead, he's caked in lots of white make-up. It's... silly.) Ghost, in fact, was responsible for killing Colton's family (natch), at the request of corrupt sheriff Bo Hopkins, himself no stranger to small town revenge opuses. Colton teams up with store owner Carrie (Jeanie Moore, in a performance that makes you think she was auditioning for [i]Troll II[/i]) to fight the Vipers, and fight them they do, putting sugar in their gas tanks, setting up traps and, thanks to the help of the whole town, getting a huge armor-plated vehicle from a Mad Max movie to storm their headquarters. Meanwhile, Colton and Carrie fall for each other, and have sex as the puma growls and looks on. It's completely asinine stuff, built entirely on all the cliches of a stranger-comes-to-a-small-town-for-revenge movie that have ever been. You could probably write the script yourself and get several scenes exactly the same, down to the sad old codger that says "We mind our own business around these parts." Hasselhoff is in full Lorenzo Lamas mode, with a cowboy hat and boots, stubble that never grows or goes away and a rough quip for every bad guy he mows down. He even dresses like a ninja. He's upstaged only when Saxon or Hopkins are on screen, both of whom chew scenery as though they hadn't eaten for months. (Saxon did this right before his directorial debut [i]Death House[/i], which I reviewed a few months ago.) In short, great stuff. Even the tag line on the cover box ("Justice is about to hit town... with a vengeance!") is so loaded with such a sincere over-the-topness that you can't resist it. It's not technically poorly made (director Mario DiLeo is a cinematographer--this is his sole feature credit as a director), but the premise is so cookie cutter and dialogue and situations so goofy that it manages to have its own charms. Of course, it's doubtful that these charms would be there if it weren't for Hasselhoff himself. Even though he plays the role perfectly straight, you get the bizarre feeling that he knows how silly this all is, and he manages to come across as likeable even if his character is such a generic tough guy. It's because of Hasselhoff that I had any interest in picking up this movie in the first place, and it's because of Hasselhoff that it doesn't simply run together with so many countless other similar films. (Well, that and Saxon as an albino. I mean, what the fuck?) [i]Final Alliance[/i] a bad film, I can't recommend it, and yet, smirkingly, I kind of do. (Fun fact: Hopkins and Saxon were on "Dynasty" together.)
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