Sometimes known as just The Final Conflict (as it is on the poster up there), Omen 3 reminds me a lot of another relatively hated second sequel - Poltergeist 3. I mean, both O3 and P3 were decidedly nowhere near as good as the original films they were based on, but they were also, at least to me, a slight improvement over the first sequels which did nobody justice. The Final Conflict seems to be universally, um, unloved by fans, but I can't lie. I liked it - if only for Sam Neill, who may be the movie's only saving grace.
Damien Thorn is all growed up now, in his 30s and running the internationally successful Thorn Company. Unlike the Damien of Omen 2, this Damien is well aware of his status as Antichrist and has all kinds of acolytes and fun stuff like that. When science discovers a sign in the sky related to the arrival of the Second Coming, Damien works to defeat his rival before it can get to him. Meanwhile, a group of priests work desperately to hunt Damien down, armed with the only weapons on earth that can destroy him for good.
I guess I shouldn't like Omen 3 (seems to be the popular thing to do), but I can't help that there's something about it that I sort of dig. The story is not overly ridiculous or outlandish, and in fact is a good continuation of the overall Omen story, where Damien has finally risen to power and must fight against his one real enemy in order to take over the earth or something. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ would definitely put a damper in his plans. Anyway. I will say that the story of the movie does fall a bit into the realm of the hokey - and the wildly inappropriate - a little bit in the third act with several scenes of infanticide. That means that they kill babies. Totally wrong. Also, I have to admit that not only is the ending incredibly anticlimactic and disappointment, it is also quite possible the most LAME ending I have ever seen.
But you know what? Sam Neill is in this. And with his performance as Damien, he's able to save the movie - at least for me. He's what any good Antichrist should be - evil and charming and sexy at the same time. He's got a smile that makes you think he's cute and he's got a smile that makes you want to run out of the room. The dialogue is kinda stupid sometimes, but somehow Neill makes it work for him. There's this one scene where Damien goes into a room in his attic that has a statue of Jesus on the cross - with his head turned backwards. Damien just starts rambling all this stuff, apparently to God or Jesus, how sick he is of their morality bullshit and how he wants hell on earth. Out of anybody else's mouth, I don't know how this scene would have played out. Neill manages to get through the whole thing without going over-the-top ridiculous at all and instead gives a hell of a performance for this monologue.
Two things that everybody seems to be compelled to bitch about with Omen 3 are the timeline and the daggers. Omen 1 came out in 1976. Omen 3 came out in 1981. Clearly, Damien could not have turned 32 by that time unless he grew up in another dimension (which, in this story, is not entirely out of the realm of believability). Whatever. I don't care. What time period the movie takes place in is irrelevant to the movie itself and should just be looked at as typical Hollywood trickery. Next.
The other thing is the daggers. In The Omen, my main man Bugenhagen (still love that name) gives Robert Thorn the Seven Daggers of Meggido and tells him that the way to destroy the Antichrist is to stab him with the daggers in the form of a cross on his body. Admittedly, I was bit confused when the seven priests in Omen 3 each took a dagger for their chance to kill the Antichrist, thinking like everybody else that they needed all seven at the same time. Apparently what I did not retain from The Omen was that the first dagger would extinguish his physical life force, and the rest his spiritual life force. They could use one dagger to kill him, but his soul or whatever would still live and he'd be able to come back in another form later. So these priests are pretty much slackers, and think a half-assed attempt at destroying the Antichrist will do for now.
Actually, the priests suck at everything having to do with their assassination attempt. First, they do the thing with dividing up the daggers instead of all seven of them ambushing Damien at once or something. Then, the first assassin dies a really crazy death that he basically causes himself. He's trying to kill Damien while he's doing a TV interview and the priest climbs up in the rafters with all the electrical crap and... I don't even really remember how he manages it, but the priest ends up swinging from the ceiling ON FIRE with everybody just standing there watching him. Two other priests get themselves trapped underground, one gets thrown from a bridge... these guys just suck. But whoever thought that priests would make good assassins anyway? I mean, they should've hired a professional and been done with it.
Though neither sequel has been able to live up to the awesomeness of the original Omen movie, I can't say that I entirely hated Omen 3: The Final Conflict. Sam Neill does a lot of the heavy lifting but there are also some unintentionally funny scenes (a guy getting killed by a pack of adorable little foxhounds) and some disturbing scenes (off-camera baby murders by drowning and ironing) that make this movie at least an interesting one to watch.
And even though I didn't really hate this movie, it does make me more than weary for the third sequel, Omen IV: The Awakening. I don't know if I'm going to subject myself to that yet.