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OK, hands down, The Final Sacrifice is the best Mystery Science Theater
3000 episode. I'm still laughing every time I think of this movie, it's
just, how do movies like this get green lighted? Or did the director
ever stop and wonder if he was making a good movie? The acting and
characters were just so unintentionally laughable, it's insane. I can't
believe they gave the "hero" a name like Zap Rasdower, that's such a
stupid name, but it made for a good laugh, that's for sure. The kid,
Troy, looked like such a Lord of the Rings type of dork(no offense to
the LOTR fans, it's cool that you like it)that you couldn't help but
wanna get inside the film and knock the books out of his hands. The
villain or Canadian villain Garth Vador had this ridicules voice, and
were did Mike Piper get his voice? Was Yo Sammity Sam like his
inspiration? This is just such a ridicules story.
Troy is looking for who caused the death of his father, he finds a map that is supposed to lead him to a lost world. But this cult lead by Garth Vador is after him and wants him dead and wants the map, but Troy outsmarts them by getting on his ten speed bike to out run them. He gets off his bike and hitches a ride with Zap Rowsdower and together they go to find out what this is all about and why Troy's father died. Maybe they can also find out why Rowswer is a... hopeless drunk.
The Final Sacrifice is one of those movies you'll never believe got made, it's just so laughable. I highly recommend the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, it's just beyond funny, I loved every moment in that episode. But I hope the director watched that episode because I wanna see a Zap and Troy spin off, that would be an awesome show with an occasional guest appearance of Mike Pipper. I smell the Emmy's coming for best new show, lol.
Here it is, folks, a movie that is one hundred percent "deus ex machina."
Roger Ebert speaks of the Idiot Plot, or a story that goes on because the
characters are too stupid to resolve it. "Quest of the Lost City/The Final
Sacrifice" (pick your poison) goes one better: the characters are too stupid
to keep the plot moving, but it does anyway through sheer coincidence and
So we've got this scrawny kid named Troy, who as our story begins is rummaging through some junk his late father left behind (Dad, we learned in the pre-credit sequence, got shot seven years ago by a group of thugs in ski masks). Troy uncovers what someone on the production design team thought looked like a mysterious and ancient map. No sooner does he locate the map than the ski-mask thugs break into his house and demand it, having apparently taken seven years to accomplish the rather simple task of finding the dead guy's address and/or family. The thugs are led by a pale guy named Satoris. Satoris wears black and speaks in a deep voice. Presumably this makes him scary; in truth it makes him look like Professor Snape's third cousin and sound like a bad Darth Vader impersonator.
Troy elludes the thugs by hopping into the back of a rusty pickup truck, driven by the boozy and bitter Zap Rowsdower. (Why is he named Zap Rowsdower? My guess is the writer was going for a cool, memorable name like "Indiana Jones" and failed miserably.) Rowsdower happens to know a lot about the thugs (a cult bent on world domination, we are informed), having been one of their number some years back. Apparently, if you are being pursued by a cult and jump into the back of a random vehicle, odds are pretty good that the driver of the vehicle will be a former member of the cult, whose seeming reluctance to help you will conceal a real empathy for your plight.
So Troy and Rowsdower flee the cultists, until Rowsdower's truck unsurprisingly breaks down, thus ending their journey. BUT WAIT! Troy goes off in search for water, and in his random trek comes across a distinct rock formation. The rock formation is on the map! Rowsdower's truck must have read the script, since it conveniently broke down within an easy walking distance of one of the map's landmarks. There's also a tunnel with a copy of the map painted on one of the walls (why don't the cultists just look there?), and a translation guide belonging to Troy's father (which has held up pretty well despite seven years in a damp tunnel). But they can't stay to linger, since the cult has finally caught up with them, so it's off to another chase sequence.
Zap and Troy hide out in a weathered cabin, elluding the cultists and ending the chase. BUT WAIT! The owner of the cabin is none other than Troy's dad's old partner Mike Pipper, hiding in the wilderness from the cult these seven years (cue dramatic music). Pipper looks like a very seedy Jim Henson, and talks like a cross between Yosemite Sam and (speaking of Henson) the "News Flash" guy from the Muppet Show. He also provides more backstory on the cult, who are survivors of a race called the Ziox. Apparently the Ziox started worshipping an evil idol and were punished by having their city sink into the earth, proving that the Ziox have read up on "Great Flood" archetypes and the myth of Atlantis. Satoris wants to sacrifice someone to the idol in order to become invincible, despite Pipper's assertion that the idol isn't located where the map says it is. Pipper also drops a warning in Troy's ear about Zap: "He was with Satoris the night your father was killed." Troy's so shocked he doesn't even bother to ask how Pipper knows this, since a) all the cultists wear ski masks and b) nobody else was around when it happened.
So, somehow Satoris manages to kidnap Troy and take him to the location of the lost city--proving that he did not need the map at all, despite breaking in Troy's door earlier--where the idol waits, having eluded Pipper's searches. (I'm guessing Satoris carts the idol around with him, keeping it in a storage locker in between rituals) Rowsdower pursues, there's a fight, Satoris is killed (don't ask me how) and the Ziox city pops up out of the ground. And all ends well, except for Troy's aunt and caretaker who didn't know about any of this and had a heart attack when she came home to find her house trashed and her nephew missing. Well, maybe not. But it could have happened.
One final note: This film was made in Canada, but I cannot bring myself to ridicule my neighbors to the north because of it. After all, one who lives in a country which has produced "Battlefield Earth" should not throw stones.
As far as abysmally crappy movies go, The Final Sacrifice isn't so bad.
Sure, it's technically inept in just about every way, features horrible
dialogue, and doesn't have a character in the entire film with a
realistic name (the fact that the director signs his checks "Tjardus
Greidanus" goes a long way towards explaining this phenomena), but it's
got something most films in its class lack: heart. I'd say Greidanus is
akin to the famous Ed Wood, in that he shows not a shred of talent but
at least seemed to believe in what he did. Rather than slapping a
recycled costume on an assistant director and creating yet another
lame, lousy creature feature with an insipid story, he tried to create
something original, new, and interesting. He failed miserably, but at
least he tried.
The plot revolves around a pre-Internet nerd named Troy, who, apparently, spends his time digging stuff out of the attic that relates to his father's death somehow, stares at it for a while, and then gives up on figuring out what happened and just puts it all away again. He lucks out when a ski-masked cult randomly decides to come looking for a map that leads to a lost city, even though they could have come any time in the seven years prior but for some reason decided to let him grow old enough to somehow thwart their entire incompetent organization with the help of a beer-guzzling, mullet-endowed drifter...but I get ahead of myself.
So anyway, Troy is forced to go outside the house for the first time in a decade and somehow winds up in the truck bed of the aforementioned drifter, who manages to deliver his name, Zap Rowsdower, with a straight face. Even the nerdy kid understands how embarrassing it is to call a grown man "Zap," so he (repeatedly) refers to him as "Rowsthdower," which isn't really much of an improvement. Anyhow, some other stuff happens, involving a gray-bearded, oh-my-god-I-can't-believe-people-like-this-actually-exist-type character named Mike Pipper, who explains some less-than-interesting exposition explaining what they're up against and what's at stake--the world, of course! After looking thoroughly unconcerned, our heroes, though they couldn't pool together enough mental resources to open a can of tuna (though Rowsdower has a lot of experience opening cans...of beer...), find a way to overthrow the muscleheaded cult, defeat the villainous Satoris (a man with a voice deeper than the lead singer of Type O Negative), knock over a pole, raise the lost cardboard miniature of Ziox, and save all of Canada, acting like it's some sort of major accomplishment all the while. The movie ends with an inspiring shot of Troy and Zap in the Zapmobile, going somewhere for some reason. My bet is that it involved beer and cheese.
"Quest for the Lost City" (or "The Final Sacrifice" as it is more
commonly known) features a paper thin plot apparently thought up by a
third grader, stunningly icky and sometimes downright ugly characters,
and not much else.
This is the story of geeky little Troy, whose dad was an amateur archaeologist who disappeared a few years back whilst seeking The Lost City! Troy finds a map to The Lost City that his dad left behind and soon, ski-mask wearing moose hunters in black tank tops and sweat pants are chasing after him with machetes. We're never really quite sure exactly why these bodybuilders don't want anyone to find out about them, but their boss Satoris - a greasy, creepy looking guy with an impossibly deep voice and a penchant for black trenchcoats and kinky riding crops - gives the orders and no one questions him. Troy hooks up with a lumpy loser name of - get this - Zap Rowsdower. What the hell kind of a name is Zap Rowsdower? I mean, if you were Mrs. Rowsdower, why would you want to curse your son further by naming him Zap, for crying out loud? But, I digress...
Zap used to be a member of the bodybuilders cult, but was tossed out by Satoris, apparently for having a stupider name than him. Zap might also know more about the death of Troy's father than he's willing to admit, but there's no time for that as Troy and Zap meet Mike Pipper, Troy's dad's old partner. Mike is a strange combination of Yosemite Sam and Jethro Tull, and although I suspect he was supposed to be the wise man of the film, filling in plot holes and offering Yoda-like advice, I couldn't stop laughing at him long enough to take him or anything he said seriously. Apparently, while I was laughing, I missed something important, because Troy is kidnapped by Satoris and prepared for The Final Sacrifice! It is now up to Zap to save him and clear his own name in the process.
This film might have worked better if Troy had instead been an attractive young girl and Zap had been a handsome young man with a less stupid name... and less facial hair and a better wardrobe and less body odor and...well, it would have been predictable as hell, but it would have been more interesting. I mean, wouldn't the gods that Satoris worships be a little cheesed off at being offered such a goofy sacrifice? This is clearly a family project, with the directors close friends and distant cousins trying to pass themselves off as actors, and the director himself trying to pass himself off as a director. Good gods, a full cast and crew actually wasted an entire sunny weekend making this pile of moose dung. And yet, I found myself rather amused by it all. It's one of my favorite MST3K episodes and I'm not really sure why. Maybe it's the silly names, maybe it's the simplicity of the plot (which reminded me of stories I wrote when I was a dumb kid) maybe I'm secretly attracted to guys with cavernous noses and really stupid names, I don't know. But I liked it. It was just bad enough to be somewhat amusing and was kind of like watching a wrestling match filmed outdoors. I give it a 3 on a scale of 10, and I'm feeling generous today.
Watch the MST3K version if you must watch it at all.
That is about the extent of the plot. This nerdy kid finds a map that belonged to his dad who was killed. Evil cult members in ski masks and tank tops come after Troy (the nerdy kid), because they want the map (which is to a supposedly lost city, but really a map to a great big pop-up book). They are led by a guy in a coat who doesn't have to wear a ski mask. Troy runs from the cult members and gets into the back of a truck belonging to Zap Rowsdower the hero of the flick (the most original name I have ever seen in a movie). The hero has a few health flaws and seems to have the hardest time running from one action scene to another because he is always out of breath. You get to see Troy and Zap uncover the ancient map room complete with leaking plumbing. You get to see zap and the bad guy fight with torches and grappling hooks (I always find grappling hooks just lying around). You get to see really bad car chases, bicycle chases, and 10k runs up a mountain. And you'll meet Yosemita Sam's older brother as well. If this sounds like your movie, feel free to check it out, but be warned it isn't as good as I made it out.
Even without the MST3K commentary (which was pee-your-pants-funny) this
movie would have had me rolling on the floor with laughter. It's just
ridiculous. But for people without my warped sense of humor, I recommend
ONLY the MST3K version. It's one of the best! In fact, I've been known
randomly yell out "Rowsdower!" causing any family members near by to
collapse in a fit of giggles and confuse the hell out of everyone
I'm sharing this story just because I can: Back when I was in high school I worked at Burger King (aka the 5th Circle of Hell) and the guy who played Rowsdower came in and I took his order. He even paid in Canadian money! (We're so close to the border, a lot of businesses in town take Canadian currency) I called my sister, who also worked there, out to take a look and she swears it was him too. I wanted to get his autograph, but he was eating. My brush with greatness!
Before I begin, this movie is not a great movie. It has problems, it's
low-budget, and it's silly in parts. Why would it have gotten placed in
MST3K otherwise? But one of the worst movies ever made? Baby Geniuses,
North, Titanic: The Legend Goes On, and Garbage Pail Kids are all
better than this movie? ...REALLY?! Well, let's see if I can open your
First of all, this movie was made by a freshman college student on a budget of about $1500(and that's in 1990 dollars.) He hired friends and students, used borrowed cameras, and pulled a lot of low-to-no budget tricks to get things to happen in the movie. So, really, that nullifies the argument that it's one of the worst movies of all time right there: They did what they could with what they had. If the movie was $50 million and it looked like it was directed by a three-year-old, THEN maybe there would be a reason to hate it. But as is, there is a LOT of effort in this movie.
The story is generic, yet fascinating. A young boy named Troy finds a map belonging to his late father to a lost city somewhere nearby. Almost immediately, he is set upon by an evil cult who want to find the city and raise the evil that's supposedly buried there. Luckily, on a run for his life, he comes across a drifter named Zap, who is hiding a secret past. Together, they both need to outrun the cult, find the city before they do, and discover the dark pasts of everyone. It's something we've seen a lot, but it feels new here. These actually feel like people going on an adventure, not actors on a contrived mission. Most of the stops feel natural, like you'd do the same if you were in the movie. No red herrings, no awkward surprises, most of the strangeness is explained, this is a solid adventure story!
The characters aren't played by expert actors, nor anyone with a large amount of acting experience, but the actors still manage to bring them to life. Troy is a young man who's slightly timid, but very curious, and the actor makes this really shine through. Every time he analyzes something or tries to put a puzzle together, I see lights in his eyes and I feel excited for him and what he might discover. Zap is a big burly man who's trying to run from something other than the villains, but it's not until much later that we learn his dark secret. He's menacing with a heart of gold, and, and this is an art that's been lost in time, he's SUBTLE. You actually believe this character exists, and not that it's an actor they probably pulled off the street. Even the villain, as silly as they made his voice, is menacing. Every time he appears, you feel how evil he is, how he wants to hurt others and how he won't let anything get in his way. This is a guy that would make Darth Vader bow down in fear. He doesn't have to do anything to command that respect, he just exists. THAT is power!
As I said, this movie is very low-budget, but that doesn't stop the camera work and effects from being quite good. Most of the camera shots are static, but the director knows where to place the camera to get the desired effect. When a character sees something, we see it the way he looks at it. The camera is almost always in the perfect position, never so close we count the zits on their faces, but so far that we can't see what a character does. The effects are minimal, but when they happen, they happen. A torture scene involving the main villain and Zap is the best example of this. This movie shows that a movie doesn't need a lot of effects to be good.
The soundtrack is very good for this sort of movie. Normally, a soundtrack for a very low budget late 80's/early 90's film is comprised of a piano and/or synthesizer playing the same notes throughout the movie. However, this movie has a fast-paced string orchestra that gets the atmosphere across whenever there's an action scene or a feeling of dread or threat. It sounds professional and foreboding, like Hans Zimmer or Danny Elfman. The main theme should be up there with Superman and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Now, with that said, there are some silly moments. Some of the dialog is said rather silly, showing the inexperience of the actors(such as the infamous MST3K line "FOOD!") There are also a few characters that appear and are never seen again, but they fulfill their role. And yes, both the Zap name and the prospector character are funny. Still, I've heard a lot worse and there are worse ethnic stereotypes in Adam Sandler movies.
In short, this movie is NOT BAD! It's not great, and it's really low budget, but it's not deserving of a Bottom 100 position. You can tell that everyone working on this movie felt great about it, that they put all their effort into making this the one and greatest movie they'd ever make. It's one of the best movies to be featured on MST3K and I'd prefer to watch this over most of the ADD and cliché riddled action movies in theaters today. If you can find a copy, check it out. Or just watch the MST3K version. CANADIANS!
Boring, stupid, and numbing, this film shows why not everyone is given a camera and told to shoot a film. Besides some rookie mistakes like continuity and editing glitches, think brainless, pointless, worse-than-Knight-Rider action sequences with long, boring tracts of film in between. I'm having trouble figuring out what the dumbest part of the movie is---is it the ``Good thing this grappling hook was sitting here on the ground'' moment? The fact that the main character is called ``Zap Rowsdower?'' Or perhaps it's that these evil cultists carry scimitars (in Canada, no less) that look like they were made in a high school metal shop in about 20 minutes? Every human being has a story to tell; tragically, Greidanus's was about Zap Rowsdower.
This infamous movie will forever hold a place in my heart. It follows
the tragic story of a young boy, apparently spawned from the loins of a
young Dan Dierdorf and a Ferengi, trying to find his way to treasure in
a world of masked sadists, beer-stinking mullets and too-tight red
sweaters. Pursued by the all-too-easy-to-kill Satoris, our adolescent
protagonist, Troy, must fight through all sorts of challenges placed in
his way. From broken down trucks to acid wash jeans, Troy overcomes.
His hero sidekick (are you ready for this?), Zap Rowsdower...hang on, I
need a moment...OK...is the hops and barely fueled muscle in Troy's
fight against evil. Zap Rowsdower is the cinematic equivalent of George
W. Bush. He reminds us that truly ANYONE can be a hero. Even beer
swilling morons. Finally, the 'bad guy', Satoris, is apparently evil
because he has a big face, wears a black trench coat, has a deep voice
and waves a cane around in the woods. Sure, whatever you say, Canada.
The plot to this movie isn't really important. You'll probably find it in the same place the Ziox buried their lost city. The real fun behind this Great Northern catastrophe is the characters. From Yosemetie Sam to Zap himself, this movie is completely engrossing. I felt pulled into their lives. And it smelled a lot like back bacon.
Now I know that most everyone has seen this movie only because of the comedy genius of MST3K, or Mistie to the loyal masses. However, I sincerely believe that this film can be enjoyed without the commentary by anyone with a sense of humor. You cannot last this entire film, in its unbridled, unmistied glory without busting a gut.
As an MST, this film is in my top 5 (I am a huge MST fan), but it is one of the few that is easy to watch even without our be-silhouetted trio. From mullets and beer cans to Troy's horribly frightening visage, this film will take you on a journey through the north. You will fight men who wear tank tops in the snow, the ancient traps of the Ziox, a large man with a stick and your own gag reflex. This movie comes highly recommended without MST. With MST, it is simply a must see for anyone who loves to laugh so hard you need to wear adult diapers.
2/10 for the movie, but a hefty 9/10 for the masochists who love MST! ~Aaron
Like Crow said, I didn't think this movie was as bad as the usual fare. Still, that isn't saying much for MST3K movies. The best movie shown on MST3K is still pretty lousy. Anyway, Troy and Rowsdower make an odd pairing to say the least. I get the feeling that in real life, a guy like Rowsdower would beat the crap out of Troy and steal his money for booze. The cult was not very threatening, especially after they couldn't catch Troy in a car! I don't know how that guy who was the cult leader could talk like that. As for Mike Pipper, the man who can only be described as 'grizzled'- I was so surprised that Mike and the bots would decide that he sounded like Yosemite Sam, when he clearly sounded more like a Jim Henson character, Rowlf to be exact. This film actually had a story and some action (weak though it was), but instead of ending, it just kind of stopped. Anybody who has only this film to judge Canada by would feel exactly as Servo did in his song.
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