Angels Revenge (1979) helmer Greydon Clark pours us another round of Joe Don Baker. Clark cameos as the Sheriff shot in the opening minutes and his unique mash of crime and cop films is criminal. Homespun wisdom, Spaghetti Western seasoning, cliches upon cliches. This sings MST3K and delivers. “Some enchanted evening!”, “Can I get a balloon?”, “The Ugly, the Ugly, and the Ugly.” “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, “Same Shot Used Twice”, Mike re-enacting Joel’s Goodbye from Mitchell (1975). Full circle or leaving on top?
“You better r-u-u-u-u-u-u-n. . .”
I gotta say I’m not a big fan of this one. The riffing’s on point, but the film just feels nasty. Mitchell wasn’t exactly a likeable character, but it felt like he actually cared about doing his job and he was supposed to have some kind of slobbish charm. Geronimo’s a walking international incident, and I’m still not sure if the movie expects us to like him or not. Is it an overly violent action cop movie or a parody of one? I’m not sure even the people making it know.
There are actually good films with Joe Don Baker in; his three Bond appearances. Although he’s not necessarily the best part of them.
I liked Final Justice. That last host segment with the Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo plaque is choice, the Goosio stuff is great, and the cheesy music that plays over Crow’s Malta diatribe always leaves me laughing.
And I dug the variety of riffs and references, like the “Felonious Monk” nod to Thelonious Monk plus everything that went with that chase scene, the Western riffs (“High Goon” being chief among them), and the “YOU SON OF A ______” / “YOU’RE THE SON OF A _____”. You also had to appreciate how they took the infinite loop fever nightmare narrative trajectory of the movie and spun something out of that.
THAT BEING SAID, as funny and enjoyable as it all is, it felt like there was an effort to put a square-shaped Final Justice/Geronimo peg into a Mitchell/Mitchell round hole for this episode, that it felt like the substance/tone of some of the riffs existed simply because Mitchell existed, if that makes sense. Like, as if the stuff in the movie wasn’t being targeted for their own merits (or lack thereof) as much as they were targeted on the basis that A, B, and C happened in Mitchell. It’s still a nifty episode and I don’t mean to sound all negative, but… yeah.
I was rubbed the wrong way by how they kept mocking the constant shouts of “Son of a!”, seeing as that was very obviously not the filmmakers’ fault and was done to make it playable on TV. I could buy them not being aware that the TV cut they got of Mitchell cut out John Saxon’s death, but there’s no excuse here.
Is it fair to contend Final Justice (1985) is a Joe Don Baker/Mitchell (1975) nod/and final season of the show wrap-up all-in-one? And regardless of sensing it, the aftermath is better than it ought to be even while we vaguely feel it? Simply my reaction. The greater my exposure, the greater it grows on me.
I do like the idea of the show representing one of those “full circle” deally-o’s. And the episode IS better than it has any right to be.
I dunno, I just get one of those Spidey Sense things about it that says that they were writing for Mitchell 2 (why did that never come out, by the way) instead of more on this. I dunno. Just a feeling.
That said, it operates under the radar. It’s deceptively better than one may initially consider, although - and this is perhaps a skosh unfair to bring up, but if we’re weighing up the entire series in these threads, then I suppose it’s acceptable to do so - it’s no Mitchell.
Nothing is. Same as there is only one Manos (1966), Pod People (1983), or Cave Dwellers (1984). Certain events are lightning in the bottle and won’t repeat regardless of the intentions. Their Sci-Fi Channel circumstances back then, their background with Mitchell (1975) and Joe Don Baker’s supposed dislike of it, and their Season 10 attempts (Girl in Gold Boots, Diabolik) to step outside the box they were in creatively factor in what Final Justice (1985) turned into. My best take.
Mitchell is considered the more classic JDB episode (for reasons) but I prefer Final Justice. For one thing, I do not have to see Joe Don Baker getting busy with a bottle of baby oil on the nightstand. That alone makes this a much easier rewatch. But also, Crow’s report on Maltese men is one of the all time show highlights and I will never not laugh at it.
I got done watching that episode last night. I wholeheartedly agree with you on Geronimo being unlikeable. The character is the living embodiment of the term Ugly American. He looks like a rodeo clown pretending to be a cop. I was on the side of the Italian law enforcement the whole movie. Mainly because they weren’t acting like a gun-toting, shoot first & never ask questions yahoo.
There is a good reason MST3K unmercifully mocks Joe Don Baker. He plays characters that are garbage fires that walk like a man.
I actually prefer him here vs. Mitchell because at least he’s not drunkenly sexing up his female sidekick.
It’s still a mean-spirited production, though. The well-meaning and hapless “escort” here doesn’t even make it out alive, and her death is really voyeuristic and gratuitous.
That tone really soaks into the sketches, too. I don’t care for most of them, and actually want to hurry them along so I can get back to the movie. Even if the hosts’ description of the plot as a Moebius Strip is absolutely correct.