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The Final Sanction (1990)

After war breaks out between the U.S. and Russia, the two countries decide to settle the conflict by putting its two best warriors into an arena in a fight to the death.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ted Prior ...
Sgt. Tom Batanic
Sgt. Sergi Schvackov
Renée Cline ...
Lt. Tavlin
Maj. Galashkin
David Fawcett ...
Gen. Royston
Barry Silverman ...
The Senator
Graham Timbes ...
Tracy Benedict ...
Stephen R. James ...
Lt. Willy Gross
Charlie Steadham ...
Soldier #1
Terrance Hart ...
Soldier #2
Ron Smith ...
Soldier #3
Lou Dixon ...
Soldier #4 (as Sfc. Lou Dixon)
Chris Brown ...
Lee Turner ...


Tensions between the USA and Russia erupt into full scale war, leading to a limited exchange of nuclear weapons. Forced by the U.N. to the negotiating table, diplomats between the two superpowers decide on an unusual way to end the conflict: each side will pick one man from their best unit and put them both in a 20-acre arena in a one-on-one fight to the death. Winner take all. On the American side, Tom Batanic, a hot-tempered U.S. Army sergeant imprisoned in the notorious Levenworth military prison for murder charges is unwilling recruited for training under the direction of his female handler Tavin. On the Russian side, Sergei Schvackov is a sergeant in the USSR Special Forces recruited for the training under the watchful eye of his handler and mentor Major Galashkin. Overseen by the diplomats, Tom and Sergei, are fully armed and sent into the forested arena where the two hot-headed soldiers attempt to outmaneuver each other until Tavin begins to see the real reason behind the event... Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The only rule is that there are no rules.


Action | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 November 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Batalha Final  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$150,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Rekindle the Cold War for Just $75!
17 October 2002 | by (Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

There have been times where people have started talking about Robert Z'Dar to me and they panned him. `No, no,' I would say, `Haven't you seen a Maniac Cop movie? He's great!' And while I would warn them away from `Return to Frogtown,' I would advise them to give Z'Dar a chance. If any of those people followed my advice and proceeded to find and watch `The Final Sanction,' I deeply apologize, though no amount of groveling can forgive the odious crime I have committed. I was not aware of this movie's existence and had not watched it. Until now. And I am less of a person for that!

Remember back in the 80's where Hollywood was pumping out movies with Cold War themes? Now place yourselves a few years after that era and you'll find David A. Prior trying to revive the Cold War with `The Final Sanction.' It appears as if America and Russia are at it again, threatening to blow each other up and aren't afraid to take out the rest of the world with them. Someone realizes that this is a bad idea and the two countries agree to fight things out with as few casualties as humanly possible. So they make the plan of each side picking their best soldier and seventy-five pounds of artillery. The two soldiers would then square off in a chosen woodsy area and shoot at each other, their only assistance being a telecommunications link with one person in front of a computer that can tell him where his opponent is at. Oh and the place where they are to battle? Virginia! And here we have some of the biggest troubling questions. If you were the head of a superpower nation, would you trust the fate of the world to one little battle? And one that is virtually unmonitored? Don't you think you would have some neutral country's people monitoring the fight and playing referee? Like the Swiss? Don't you think it would be more fair to pick a neutral place to stage said battle? Like Switzerland? A place with people who neither side would care about if they walked into the line of fire? Again, like the Swiss . . . . Just joking there! Making sure you are paying attention.

The next silly thing here are the fighters themselves. Russian general William Smith chooses Robert Z'Dar, whom he proceeds to put through rigorous mental training. Z'Dar is pretty wicked with throwing small spades, which would do him wonders if the fate of the world were being decided in a gardening contest. A much dumber choice is America's choice of Ted Prior, a military prisoner locked up for killing his entire platoon during a mission. He's a rebel, a loose cannon, a loud-mouthed lunatic, he's the director's brother! Just the person whose hands we should put the fate of the world in! The first half of the movie deals with lengthy introductions of these two characters, as well as some unnecessary subplots involving a United States senator that is just there for padding. I thought the action would never start. When it did, I wished it hadn't. Prior and Z'Dar shoot at each other in the Virginia woods (actually, it was made in Alabama, but never mind that). Then Z'Dar runs away. Then he comes back. And they shoot. And they shoot. And they shoot. And I yawn, yawn, yawn. Never before have I been so bored by shooting. These guys are the best America and Russia can supply, yet they can't hit the broad side of a barn at close range! They hide behind skinny trees that you can shove a plastic knife through! But that's just the icing on the cake. There's some laughably bad moments where Z'Dar is blown up, but he survives with only a burn mark on his big left cheek. Worse than that is where Prior has Z'Dar down after the explosion, gun in hand. One bullet would win the fate of the world, but he doesn't shoot. Instead, thin smoke from the explosion allows Z'Dar to disappear like a magician in the vast area right in front of Prior's eyes! I laughed ‘til I cried. Or vice versa. I won't even bother getting into the silly love-interest for Prior, the shoehorning of a character responsible for Prior's lost platoon, or the terrible resolution.

Obviously this is a bad movie. Z'Dar and Smith fare the best, since their early scenes aren't that bad. Ted Prior is so awful I was rooting for Russia. But writer/director David A. Prior is to blame for the unleashed misery. It looks like he and Ted discovered about $75 worth of unused special effects lying around and decided to make a movie with them. I'm done complaining. From now on, give Robert Z'Dar movies a chance, just as long as they are not titled `Return to Frogtown' or `The Final Sanction!' Zantara's score: 1 out of 10.

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