Anyone who has seen "V" will want to see this sequel, as well. "V" was one of most original made-for-television movie of its time. It spawned this sequel and its very own television series. It was able to do this with a cast of virtual unknowns because of the strength of its story line. "V" is simply great sci-fi, and "V - The Final Battle" is a must have DVD for all those fans who enjoyed the original mini-series.
As those of you familiar with "V" already know, human looking alien visitors landed on Earth, led by an alien innocuously called John (Richard Herd), who gave Earth a benevolent message that fooled many into thinking that the visitors came in peace. Some humans even ended up working collaboratively with them. There were some, however, that were skeptical of the visitors' motives, and mistrust turned to fear when scientists and doctors began to be rounded up and mysteriously disappeared.
Mike Donovan (Marc Singer), a hunky cameraman, had his own misgivings about the aliens, but once he observed the visitors literally shedding their skins, revealing that that they were not human at all, but rather, nothing more than reptilian looking aliens, his misgivings were reinforced. Mike also discovered that they meant mankind harm and were hell-bent of the conquest of Earth and divestiture of one of Earth's most important natural resources without which humans cannot live.
Mike joined the resistance, headed by beautiful medical doctor, Julie Parish (Faye Grant). As the underground resistance battled the visitors, many humans were still convinced that the visitors were benevolent and being misjudged by these so-called freedom fighters. As fascist rule supplanted democratic government throughout the world, under the pretext of law and order and at the direction of the visitors and at the behest of their human puppets, the viewer cannot help but be aware of the allegorical implications.
This two disc DVD provides three episodic treats. The resistance continues its struggle against the visitors with the assistance of an alien fifth column, working secretly together, side by side. Mike Donovan and Julie Parish are now joined by irascible and laconic Ham Tyler (Michael Ironside), a former special forces agent with a chip on his shoulder and the military strategy necessary to coalesce the resistance movement into a lean, mean, fighting machine.
This sequel mini-series is action packed, as the visitors and the resistance fighters duke it out for control over the Earth. The exquisitely beautiful, evil alien, Diana (Jane Badler), stops at nothing to secure her ambitions. Not content with being the science officer for the invading forces, she seeks military glory at all cost. She is the one from whom both humans and aliens have much to fear.
The allegorical thread also continues, as humans begin to be rounded up routinely and trucked off to a processing plant. After all, it is the visitors fervent desire to serve man...literally. It seems that in addition to the Earth's water, the visitors are secretly looking to humans as a food source.
There are some interesting special effects for its time, as well as some cheesy ones. There are also some key performances. Most notable are those of Jane Badler, in the role of the diabolical Diana, and Michael Ironside, as Ham Tyler, the alien hating resistance fighter. Look also for Robert Englund, who would go on to Freddy Kreuger fame the same year as the release of this mini-series sequel. He continues in the role of Willie, a peaceful loving visitor who allies himself with the resistance.
This film has everything, suspense, action, thrills, a gripping story line, a moral message, and an inter-species birth. How can anyone resist? This is sci-fi as it should be. Bravo!
The DVD provides a crystal clear, widescreen picture and perfect audio, but little else. It provides none of the interesting extras found on the "V" DVD. Instead, the buyer will have to be satisfied with the usual interactive menus, as well as scene access, and subtitles available in English, French. Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Bahasa, Thai, and Korean. All in all, notwithstanding its shortcomings, this is a DVD well worth having in one's collection, if one is a sci-fi diehard.
It is unfortunate that the television series based upon this highly successful mini-series did not fare well. The knuckleheads in charge of programming sentenced it to death right from the beginning by scheduling it opposite the then number one television show, "Dallas". The series never even had a chance coming out of the gate. I only hope that a DVD collection of the series will be forthcoming.
on June 2, 2000
Sure, a bold and sweeping statement. Also, utterly true. Television viewers of 1984 had never seen anything like V, and anyone who has seen it would agree that there's been nothing made since to even remotely touch it in terms of sheer entertainment.
V: The Final Battle consisted of the last three 2-hour installments of the series, preceded by the first two installments of V aired the previous year. Aliens have finally arrived on Earth, looking like us and posing as friends to all mankind while their motherships hover menacingly over every major city of the world. But cameraman Mike Donovan infiltrates the Los Angeles mothership and makes an astounding discovery: the benevolent "Visitors" are actually reptiles in disguise, intent on harvesting all of the natural resources of the planet, which includes tapping us humans as a food source! Donovan joins up with a rag-tag resistance movement led by Julie Parish, and together they lead their fugitive band in the overthrow of alien tyranny.
Like any great work of SF, V hits a lot of hot-button social issues, including abortion, inter-racial relationships and tolerance, and cultish brainwashing. And the allegory of the Visitor infiltration of our world to the rise of Naziism in 30's Europe is hard to miss. Right down to the Visitor insignia, a sort of high-tech update of the Swaztika, as well as scenes with truckloads of confused humans being transported in the middle of the night to Visitor "processing" plants. Joining with the social commentary is a fine and able cast, led by "Beastmaster" Marc Singer as the independant Donovan and Faye Grant as the tough yet fragile resistance leader Parish. Heading the Visitor invasion is Jane Badler as the catty Diana, along with thier supreme leader John, played by Richard Herd. These main players are surrounded by a wonderful supporting cast, all of whom are given time to be fleshed out into full-fledged characters you care about. In particular, Michael Ironside gives a knock-out performance as hardass "Ham" Tyler, an ex-CIA spook with little social grace but a lot of firepower. V is wonderfully well crafted, with its rousing action sequences, amazing-for-TV SFX, and surprisingly touching moments. And they really creep things up with two show-stopping sequences: Grant's powerful interrogation scenes, and the unforgettable "birth" sequence, a true SF classic. Even the dodgy puppeteering can't keep me from the edge of my seat everytime I watch it.
But, this IS SF, and this IS TV, so we have some obligatory lapses in logic. Why do the visitors stay in thier human disguises even when out of human view on their ships? Speaking of which, how does a thin layer of fake skin create such a convincing human appearance for these lizard-like menaces? And how, with thousands upon thousands of soldiers and 50 ships three miles across hovering over every major city, do the Visitors manage to keep losing to the rabble resisters? And is it just me, or is the V:TFB music theme suspiciousy similar to that of "The Terminator", also released this year? The answer, of course, is who cares?! Just enjoy the ride and don't ask so many questions, okay? Also, while the mini-series remarkably doesn't feel too dated even 15-16 years after it was made, its pedigree occasionally pokes through. In particular, in V:TFB, the scene where Mike and Julie finally hook-up really stands out as a glaring piece of early 80's cheese.
In what has become a market of extremely lame disease/disaster-of-the-week TV movies, V was something really special: an epic SF event, lovingly crafted and with no expense spared. I hasten to add that it was a defining moment for the generation that saw the rise of Pac-Man and Mario into popular culture. The TV movies were followed that fall by V: The Series, which struggled for a year and was finally cancelled. Original broadcaster NBC has attempted to recapture the magic of V with a number of fantasy TV "events" in recent years, including "Gulliver's Travels", "The Odyssey", "Merlin" and "The 10th Kingdom". None of which possessed the same elusive magic as V, however. It was simply a stunning achievement, one I'm afraid to say may never be repeated again.
on February 11, 2003
1984's 3-part miniseries "V: The Final Battle" more or less picks up where Kenneth Johnson's imaginative "V" left off. As with all network-mandated sequels, this installment is a far weaker story and lacks the "you are there" realism of the original. Johnson's absence from the project is the single greatest loss. The first miniseries was a brilliant homage to freedom fighters throughout history. Unfortunately the sequel has lost sight of its own origins: the allegories to the rise of Nazi fascism are only briefly touched upon in throwaway lines in part 1, and are completely abandoned by part 3. By then, even though the element of a Visitor "ultimate weapon" is injected into the plot, the story has become less about saving humanity than it is about a grudge match between Diana and Mike Donovan. A clue to the weaker storyline might be in the opening credits: this installment lists seven different writers!
To synopsize: several months have now passed since the conclusion of the original series, and the Visitors are now firmly in control of human society, rounding up humans under various pretexts for "processing" into food shipments to the mother ships. The underground resistance hasn't had much success opposing them --far from the triumphant ending of the last chapter, the L.A.-based rebels are being rebuffed at almost every turn by superior alien firepower and body armor. The resistance comes up with a daring plan to "expose" John on international television. Most of Part 1 revolves around the staging of this plan, which is carried off brilliantly but ends with Julie's capture. In Part 2 the Visitors discover resistance headquarters and stage a counterattack, but the rebels are able to flee thanks to the timely help of an old adversary of Donovan's. Julie is rescued, but she has been through the conversion process and the resistance is wary. Part 3 revolves around the birth of Robin's alien babies and an unexpected dividend from that birth.
The strongest element to this sequel is the return of virtually the entire original cast, further developing the wide array of characters that have been thrown together by extraordinary circumstance. Besides Donovan (Marc Singer), Julie Parrish (Faye Grant), the Maxwells (Michael Durrell, Blair Tefkin, Viveka Davis, Marin May), Elias Taylor (Michael Wright), Sancho (Rafael Campos), Willie (Robert Englund), and Harmony (Diane Civita), a few new faces have joined the resistance, my favorites being ex-CIA operative Ham Tyler (Michael Ironside) and demolitions expert Chris Faber (Mickey Jones). Tyler and Faber are supposed to represent the "world network;" reminding the viewer that the goings-on in L.A. are not the center of the universe. Tyler is especially compelling to watch; he has a cold, take-no-prisoners exterior that puts him at odds with Donovan the boy scout, although we do get a brief glimpse of his surprisingly affectionate side later on in the second chapter. Most of "V's" original villains are back as well, including fleet commander John (Richard Herd), collaborator Daniel Bernstein (David Packer), and of course the vengeful Diana (Jane Badler). Also back in a greatly expanded role is alien "Fifth Columnist" Martin (Frank Ashmore).
Aside from superior character development (proof that a truly gifted actor really can make something out of any script), "The Final Battle" just has too many flaws. There is little emphasis on allegory and too much emphasis on chase scenes, makeup effects, and laser battles. The resolution of many of the story arcs from the first chapter are the saving grace of this miniseries, but enjoyment of it really requires the viewer's familiarity with the original. Replacement director Richard T. Heffron has done a heroic job of salvaging Kenneth Johnson's ideas, but in the end it just doesn't measure up. The greatest disappointment is in the final hour of the story --the much-hyped "Final Battle" comes down to a tired old shootout with a handful of troops in the corridors of the mothership. Plotwise, the sudden addition of a brand new character in the final segment is an outright cop-out, and the final scenes --including the way-too-upbeat soundtrack-- are among the cheesiest moments in the entire series.
If you absolutely must know "what happened next" to the cast of the original "V," then go ahead and obtain "The Final Battle." But if you're expecting a second helping of allegorical brilliance, prepare to be disappointed.
on December 11, 2004
We all know the story, so I won't go too much into that.
V: The Final Battle was a pale shadow of the original two-part miniseries (which was really, really awesome). The writing was awful, the plot lame, and bringing in Dennis McCarthy to contribute his cheesy MacGyver-esque military marching-band action tunes was sad.
But everyone has seen TFB and can decide for themselves. What I'd like to contribute here are some critiques of the DVDs themselves:
1. The biggest flaw, and the primary reason I'm writing this: the DVD is letterboxed. One reviewer wrote: "The DVD provides a crystal clear, widescreen picture..." Yeah, and how do you think they got a widescreen picture out of a 4:3 TV show? Yeah, you guessed it - they painted 25% of the picture black and voilà! - a widescreen picture. What it means in reality, though, is that much of the imagery is too crowded, too tight. Half the time peoples' chins and hair-styles (and those could be BIG in the 80s) are cut out of the picture. I've looked over all of the reviews here, and no one else seems to have any complaints about it.
What it means is that this is not going to do as my collector's item. I'm going to need the full frame one day. Funny, the orignal miniseries discs didn't seem to have this problem. Yes, they were 'widescreen,' but nothing seemed to be blacked out - everything fit.
2. The sound is mono. Yes, I know it was originally aired in mono, but Kenneth Johnson took the time to re-mix the audio for the original miniseries, to add something to that great disc.
3. No extras. Again, great care was taken in providing some extras for the ultimate fans out there, in the original miniseries. The Final Battle comes with nothing. Well, maybe something - there is a menu item, "Cast and Crew," which gives you nothing but a list of actors. I could have just watched the credits.
All in all, the disc is not of great quality - file under "Could Have Done Better," or, "Awaiting a Better Version."
on September 21, 2002
I saw V when it first aired. It was a long wait between the first mini-series and this one, especially for a kid. I, personally, have always liked "The Final Battle" better simply because there is more Diana! She's so wicked. I love her! Faye Grant's "Julie" is also given some great lines and plot-lines in this second one. You see how she has really grown from the frightened, inexperienced med student in the first mini-series to the confident and gifted resistance leader in TFB. Marc Singer's Mike Donovan is as arrogant as ever, but there was a nice chemistry between he and Julie. The most positive casting addition in this second series is Michael Ironside as Ham Tyler. His sarcasm and bad taste are an excellent antidote to Donovan's heroism. Not that I don't like Mike, Ham just adds a bit of much needed salt. ;)
As far as the special effects go, you have to remember that this series was made nearly 20 years ago on a television budget. We have been "Lucas-a-fied" since then. So don't expect "The Phantom Menace" or "Attack of the Clones". That kind of technology was not available in 1985. I still love this series as much as I did the first time I saw it. The characters are captivating. The resistance fighters are easy to care for because they are written very believably. They fight amongst themselves, make huge mistakes, and learn in the process. There is someone in this group that everyone can relate to. Diana, Steven, and the despicable Brian are back and badder than ever! There's also excellent "girl fight tonight" chemistry between Diana and Pamela, Diana's superior. Worrisome Martin and lovable Willie return as well. Yes, Freddy Krueger CAN be nice!
I really can't believe they didn't put extras on this DVD. Behind the scenes, interviews with the cast, even as someone else mentioned the commercials that aired at the time. That's the only reason I withheld that 5th star. What gives? And when is the series coming out on DVD??
on August 16, 2000
This is the second miniseries of the sci-fi phenomenon known simply as "V." This movie tells us more about the interesting characters from the first series and brings up some more problems for these freedom-fighters to solve. I won't give anything away, but one of the charcters ordeals is unbelievable! As with the original series, this is a sci-fi series that relies more on storytelling than on flashy, repetitive special effects, which makes this series appealing to a larger audience than most sci-fi. There are some funny and touching moments, but the whole story is focused around the humans struggles to defeat the fascist "visitors" who oppress them (similar to Hitler's fascist regime and the Holocaust of that time). The whole series goes by very smoothly until the end, where the ending is a little weak (which is why I gave it four stars instead of the five I gave the original series), but other than that, this is a great series and stands up well with anything else produced at the time. With a cool story and believable acting, this is a true classic that should be in any sci-fi fan's collection!
on December 28, 1999
When "V" was first aired in the United Kingdom in the summer of '84, the original 2-part mini-series was run concurrently with it's 3-part follow-up -"THE FINAL BATTLE". "V" (the original!) set the foundations for what was to be an explosive follow-up (the final battle). TFB was full of gripping story-lines, plausible plots, an excellent music score......... Combine these with the fact that the good guys don't always win and you get a timeless masterpiece.
What makes "V" different from other sci-fi 'classics' is that you don't have to be a science-fiction fan to enjoy it. Yes..... the plot centres around an alien invasion from outer-space, but the story could be related to many other historic and modern-day events. (facist take-overs, Nazi regime......)
"V" (original and TFB) are cult classics. Indeed, at present, they are being repeated on several British and Irish TV stations. Anyone who has not sampled this classic tv mini-series should be "converted"!
on August 9, 2002
I remember this TV event well. It was big news in the spring of 1984. This mini-series aired over 3 separate nights. I found the characters to be well developed and the story held my attention. I saw this mini-series before the first mini-series and was able to pick up the story and follow it without feeling as though I were missing key parts to the story. My only complaint is similar to the other reviewers and that is that the final scene which involves the resistance and the human-alien offspring Elizabeth trying to avert a self destruction sequence on the mother ship. I, and my friends, found the ending to be a bit simplistic and somewhat anti climatic. However don't let this or other reviewers prevent you from watching this mini-series. It is an excellent story. It is almost as good as "V" and much better than V: THE SERIES. In my opinion the story should have ended here. V: THE SERIES never lived up to the two mini series and damaged the storyline.
I deducted 1 star from my rating due the ending of the mini-series for reason I mentioned above. I deducted another star due to the poorly developed DVD. I did like the case the DVD came in. It is much better than the standard WB casing of DVD's. Howerver, the producers could have included a commentary or at least some behind the scenes footage as they did for "V". Also, neither this DVD or the DVD for "V" included trailers or commercials that were used to promote these mini-series. I get the impression that the bigshots at WB throught this DVD out there in a hurry just to make money from people like me who ran out to buy it and were not as interested in turning out a quality DVD. Lastly, I do think it was nice of the DVD producers to realese the DVD in it's widescreen version.
on February 12, 2015
I watched the mini-series devotedly on TV years ago (or more likely decades) ago, and enjoyed it very much so into the TV series that succeeded it (I hope to obtain that in the near future!). I even enjoyed the comic magazine series that followed [DC Comics] - wow!!
on July 31, 2002
I remember watching this series when I was a teenager and (still) being the sci-fi geek back in High School absorbed both episodes avidly. Who could beat the great story lines and as mentioned earlier the classic sci-fi social issues of the day.
I always remember those "TV broadcasts" that would document the resistances successes, I think these pre-cursored Robocop's TV commercials...
To this day, I remember the billboards around LA which just had the spray painted "V" and was wondering what the hell was that?
Anyway, the only weak point has to be the conclusion. I won't give it away but it seemed as if they "ran out of money" and needed to end it quick. Oh well the build up was worth it...