The Final Countdown (1980) Directed by Don Taylor. With Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen and Katharine Ross.
First of all relax, for there’s nary a bar of ‘Europe’s’ awful 80’s glam rock power ballad of the same name in this time-warping adventure film. Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen co-headline this curious story of a state-of-the-art 80’s US aircraft carrier that due to an unexplained anomaly, travels back in time to 1941 near Hawaii on the eve of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The first thing to say is that it’s much better than Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor. The second thing to say is, that’s not saying very much. Aside from some quite thrilling scenes of F-14 fighter jets dog-fighting with Japanese bombers, there’s very little in terms of action or actual human drama to really grasp a-hold of. After the heart of darkness that was the ‘Apocalypse Now’ shoot, Martin Sheen seems to enjoy the lightweight acting job as does Kirk Douglas who mostly breezes through his leading role as the ships sturdy captain.
With vastly superior fire-power and a compliment of supersonic jets at their disposal, the ability to change the course of history and single-handedly win the famous battle brings forth the most interesting aspect of the story, but the end result lacks commitment and there’s a feeling that the execution does not live up to the overall strength of the idea. It’s a rare thing to say, but a modern day remake might prove worthwhile. 2.5/5