Final Mission (1984)

Seargent Vince Deacon has been on a lot of missions, from the secret dirty little war he was fighting in Laos in 1972 to the war on the streets of a scuzzy early 1980s Los Angeles as the guy on the SWAT team voted “Most Likely to Have PTSD” to the home invasion he has to fight off when he’s just trying to get a little off duty booty from his wife!

All those are pretty awesome missions, no doubt about it. How can you possible top a mission where you fought your traitor buddy hand to hand while huts were exploding all around you? Or when you rode on top of a squad car, leaping off of it onto a fire escape and then blasted your way through some scumbag gang so awesomely that you were interviewed on the news about it? Or when you’re in the middle of giving your wife an orgasm and you have to pull out to snap the necks of a bunch of punks who are breaking into your house?

This final mission must be truly epic, right? I guess it depends on whether you think Deacon hunting down his old war buddy Slater for killing his family is final mission worthy. What if it turned out that Slater’s brother was the sheriff of the small California resort town that Deacon is treating like it was a Southeast Asian village made out of straw? But let’s say that Sheriff Slater’s brother and his department weren’t cut out to handle a John Rambo situation any more than Brian Dennehy was. Yep, Deacon’s final final final mission has him waging a one man war on the California National Guard!

But what can one man do against an army of heavily armed dudes just itching to waste a crazy Vietnam vet whose only crime (except for all the murders and assaults) is loving his freaking hot wife and homely wimp son so much that when they get blown up on their idyllic family vacation, he quits the police force so he can go crazy full time! Nothing really. Except infiltrate their camp, kill guys, steal equipment, blow up equipment, shoot down a helicopter and hold off a platoon of these guys with just his machine gun and deranged can-do attitude!

But before he was doing his bad Rambo impression, he was just a guy who loved his job (killing scum) and his family. But his supercop antics rubbed some bad guys the wrong way so they concoct the home invasion scheme to put Deacon in his place. After he and his old lady destroy these guys (she shoots one), Deacon gets suspended from the police force!

Why? I guess it must be against department policy to defend yourself and your family from an army of thugs trying to kill you in your own home. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but this is the People’s Republic of California so the rules on self defense may be different in that country versus our rules in the United States.

Being suspended doesn’t sit well with Deacon so he drinks a little whiskey and yells at his kid for a minute or so before they all go off on vacation to the lake where director Cirio H. Santiago goes laughably overboard showing us how much this family loves each other. It’s a montage of them playing, roughhousing and hugging in slow motion with scenes superimposed in that special way that low budget directors often mistake for art when really what they’ve done is just shot a 1970s Pepsi commercial.

Thankfully a boat explosion brings everyone back to their senses and Deacon looks up his old commanding officer when he notices a certain type of detonator used. Only a few men know how to use it! And one of those is Slater! But he’s missing in action! Or is he living in L.A. and hanging out at the same bar as the guys who want to teach Deacon a lesson? And does he still hold a grudge against Deacon all these years later for beating him up and turning him over to the natives in Laos? And did he have psychic powers that allowed him to know exactly where Deacon was going on vacation?

But he’s not the only one with incredible luck because it turns out that Slater’s only known relative is the sheriff up north and that’s just the guy that Slater went to see right before Deacon got up there! And though the sheriff is too smart to tell Deacon that Slater is hiding out at the old mining camp just outside of town, his blonde wife is more blonde than smart and spills the beans to Deacon!

Though Deacon is fairly bland as far as crazed action heroes go, he is helped immensely by the machine gun he lugs around while shooting at the Slaters and the National Guard. I’m sure a lot of the gun grabbers out there will moan about how the local gun shop shouldn’t have been allowed to feature a machine gun complete with ammo in its front window, but there was a sign saying it was for exhibit only! What else were they supposed to do?

While the film is clearly stupid (Why wire the boat to explode while the Deacon family was sleeping when you could’ve just killed them as they slept?) and whatever sympathy Deacon had to avenge the death of his family evaporates once he unceremoniously guns down the killer and yet continues on his rampage, the film does move at a brisk pace, there’s an appropriately terrible theme song that’s played too many times, and Deacon gleefully starts chucking grenades at the National Guard while believing he is back in Laos and refusing to give up defending his hill!

Though hampered by a cast with zero personality and a disappointing lack of great dialogue (Deacon lamely telling the sheriff that he’s staying in town because hunting season just began is what barely passes as the highlight), Final Mission does a solid job painting Vietnam vets as time bombs just waiting to detonate all over a society too stupid to lock up its machine guns.

© 2018 MonsterHunter

2 thoughts on “Final Mission (1984)

  1. Another “classic” i had the privilege to find in some forgotten video store. Was in the beginning of this movie where a VC “decapitated” a terrible dummy which didn’t even “bleed” convincingly? Also I recall this flick had a downer ending, with the main guy meeting with the Trautman stand in, who was promptly killed, and then the hero went berserk, the screen froze, and THE END.

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