Last night I watched the subtitled DVD of GODZILLA: FINAL WARS — supposedly the absolutely final Godzilla movie (yeah, right!) — and I have to say that the initial feedback and internet buzz is flat out wrong. One of the problems with those of us who love the giant monster slugfests is that we often forget that the films are supposed to be fun, first and foremost, and not some grand opera enlightening us on the vaguaries of the human condition, and I have read many posts about how FINAL WARS is nothing more than a kiddie flick.
Well guess what, Edison? It IS a fucking kiddie flick! And a damned fun one to boot! In fact, in many ways GODZILLA: FINAL WARS is the Godzilla movie I would have made at age ten if I had a budget and a film studio at my disposal. Here's the story in a nutshell:
The movie opens at the tail end of a battle with Godzilla, and the humans — lead by a white Sgt. Slaughter lookalike who says "shit," "goddamn" and "asshole" a lot, making this the most profane Godzilla movie ever — driving an updated submarine/aircraft/drill like the title vehicle from ATRAGON bury Big G under a glacier (upon which site a site is built a unit to keep the big guy frozen solid), keeping Godzilla out of the film until the last quarter. But have no fear, this flick has more monsters than Tommy Lee has inches! For no adequately explained reason nearly every monster ever to appear in a Toho movie shows up and they wreak international havoc, all at the same time so the human defense force is stretched pretty damned thin. For all intents and purposes it's pretty much the end of the world. Then — once again with no decent explanation — we are told that mutant superheroes have been popping up all over the place and they are the cream of the monster-fighting crop, one of whom is played by Caine Kosugi, son of the guy who starred in those crappy 80's ninja movies (he was always the ninja's pre-teen son who kicked much ass). Anyway. despite the best efforts of the super-mutants, the monsters manage to reduce most of the earth to a close approximation of certain areas of the South Bronx, but just as everything seems lost some friendly aliens from "Planet X" show up and offer to take care of the monsters for us. Of course it's all too good to be true and they end up controlling the monsters and make things 100 times worse. Finally somebody figures out that if Godzilla were free he'd consider all of the monster rampaging to be an attempt to fuck with his territory, so the flying sub/airplane/drill bombs the big freezer and Godzilla enters the fray. Big G then proceeds to hand out major league ass-kickings like they were Halloween candy, decisively killing all monsters stupid enough to even think of getting in his way (the exception being Mothra, who maintains her goddess role and acts as backup), the funniest of which is when Big G lays waste to the American Godzilla from that disaster of several years ago, prompting the controlling alien to describe it as "that good-for-nothing tuna eating monster." Godzilla puts his big gray foot right up the asses of King Seesar, two variants of Gigan, Gimantis, Spiga (that big-ass spider from SON OF GODZILLA), Rodan, Ebirah (aka the Sea Monster), Hedorah (aka the Smog Monster) and others while the humans and mutants destroy the alien invaders. At the end Big G walks off with Baby Godzilla (again, no explanation), and that's it.
On a scale of 1 to 10 for sheer entertainment I give GODZILLA: FINAL WARS a solid 9, and the monster fights get a solid 10;
Godzilla has kicked serious ass in the past, buit nothing prepared me for the mean-as-fuck, balls-out tough engine of destruction found in this film. I actually exclaimed "Motherfuck!!!" several times during the battle sequences, and the creators have amped up Godzilla's ferocity and radioactive blast to levels that make him a saurian equivalent to Superman when he was at his most powerful. The creators also remembered that the reason we see this stuff is to enjoy giant monsters kicking the shit out of each other, and this film serves up a banquet of such goodness on a silver platter, so who cares if it's just a high-tech remake of MONSTER ZERO?
Copies of this can be found on eBay, and if you live in a place where such stuff can be found, it's at your finer video purveyors. Simply put, if you love the Kaiju cinema, you must not miss GODZILLA: FINAL WARS. So sayeth the Bunche!