So, I’m Canadian. I grew up in a farm by small town, prairie Canada. My heart does me good every time I see something Canadian. I so when I heard that Mystery Science Theater 3000 was going to make fun of a Canadian movie, I was excited. Little did I know that they would make fun of a movie that was so Canadian, that I had a completely surreal experience watching it.
“The Final Sacrifice” is the most Canadian thing without strictly saying “I’m Canadian!” There is no wink, or a nod to anything being Canadian, it just is! The fashion is unapologetically Canadian. The setting is very mid-western Canada. The accents, the character, even the henchmen are as close as we’re going to get to having Canadian Stormtroopers. It’s nothing cheesy like saying “Canada is a character”, it just is! Brain Guy said before the movie played that this is the worst thing to ever come out of Canada, and I wouldn’t even agree with that (the real answer is “Ryan’s Babe”)… but it’s also not the best thing to come out of Canada.
The movie begins with some good intrigue, with a man running away from a group of people in the woods, in ski masks, trying to kill him. You don’t know why these things are happening, but you’re intrigued. Then they kill him, and we move to seven years later, where we see the dead mans kid, Troy, visiting him at his grave. I don’t know how old this kid is supposed to be, but it looks like he’s one of those 22-year-old dudes, trying to play 13. Troy does a lot of looking into his father’s research, and it lasts for about 5 minutes of film, and it feels much longer. We hear a lot of fascinating stuff, involving cults, and ancient Mayans, and what have you, but there’s a weird dissonance between what is in the research, and what is in the movie. We don’t see any of this research, save for a shot at the end, and it just feels like lip service.
The cult comes back to get Troy though (after 7 years? Really? Now?), because he has a map that they need. Troy is able to escape, with some accidental help from the town drunk, and national hero, Zap Rowsdower. Rowsdower is a grumpy middle age man with a heart of gold, and a dark secret. Troy and a reluctant Zap go off on an adventure, to find out the meaning of this map.
“The Final Sacrifice” is a student film, made for $2000 dollars, and I’m going to be honest, there are many moments where it doesn’t look like it! Don’t get me wrong, this is a very obviously shoe string budget movie, but it squeezes every penny out of it’s budget. There are some very creative shots, and legit thoughtful use of action. There’s a flat out fire stunt in this, where actors are swinging burning logs of fire! It’s actually scary looking, especially because I think there was a moment where Rowsdower actually caught on fire before they cut to another shot! There is actual ambition on display, and it is to be commended how much it succeeds.
What doesn’t succeed in this movie is… everything else. “The Final Sacrifice” is good looking, but it’s paced very poorly. There are a lot of shots of people researching, talking about said research, expositing about things we’ll never see, and men in black tank tops and black ski masks looking kind of menacing. These men are a cult, by the name of Ziox, lead by a Canadian Darth Vader, how is also the emperor, Satoris. Satoris is so silly, that he’s actually awesome, because he’s so over the top, without trying to be over the top. He’s just a presence, who has a digitally altered voice to be so deep, you wonder if there’s an opposite version of being kicked in the balls to get your voice that low.
The movie is certainly watchable without the riffing, but the riffing makes the movie better. A lot of the running jokes have to do with the meekness of the kid, and the alcoholism of Rowsdower, and this weird Prospector character, who’s kind of a Yosemite Sam sounding forest man, who gets a good Red Green joke made about him which literally only Canadians will get, and I appreciate. Also, plenty of jokes at Canada’s expense, almost to the point where you can tell that they either have a writer that’s from Canada who knows all these deep cut jokes, or they did a good amount of research so that they can make these jokes.
But there was this one running joke that I didn’t get for the longest time, but it’s a testament on how hammering a joke enough can force anything to be funny. The crew kept mentioning Larry Csonka, who apparently, the father of Troy looks like. They mention it so many times, that eventually, I had to look up who he actually was. Turns out he was a running back of the Miami Dolphins, and he looks EXACTLY LIKE TROY’S FATHER!!! It’s just a dude with a mustache, but the resemblance in uncanny! But the great thing is that, even without me knowing who he was, the cleverness, and the abundance of Larry Csonka jokes eventually made me laugh!
A final thing before I get to my favorite quotes, the end bit, where Crow is trying to convince Mike about a Final Sacrifice tv show being a good idea (while Mike tries to make it into a completely different show), is kind of a fine idea. I wouldn’t mind seeing more adventures with Rowsdower and Troy. If we are to get $2000 for a movie, imagine what we can get for $2000 an episode. There’s legit talent in this director, and if the actor who played Rowsdower didn’t Die, I could see him possibly doing something with this. (Just so we are clear, this movie isn’t very good. But seeing a Canadian movie, with this much ambition, does my heart good!)
Mike: Canadian villain Garth Vader.
Zap Rowsdower: I’m Rowsdower. Zap Rowsdower.
Crow: Yeah, well my name is Bill Shtinkwater!
Zap Rowsdower: Do you have any idea of what kind of people you’re dealing with?
Crow: They’re from Saskatchewan!
Pipper: McGreggor? Troy McGreggor? …Thomas’s son?
Troy: Yeah! Did you know him?
Servo [as Pipper]: Know him? He was delicious!
Crow: I wonder if they have beer on the sun.
Servo: And I will be the one / To hold Larry Csonka down / Kiss him so hard / I’ll take Larry Csonka’s breath away.
Servo: I’m exhausted, I’ve gotta take a nap after I’m done sleeping.
Crow: So, Rowsdower: Is that a stupid name, or…?
The Host Segments
The host bits are also great, beginning with a looting gone wrong. The power goes out, and the bots decide to loot the ship they are trapped in. Crow nabs his own tv, and Tom get’s Mikes recycling.
Next, we find out Pearls plan of taking over the world, but taking over one person at a time. Which sounds like a great idea (until you think about it), but ends up being a bad idea once we discover her methods of just asking of she can take over a person. It’s really funny.
The next bit is probably one of my favorite host bits ever, the Canada song. Tom Servo have had enough of the Canadian bashing, for it has gone on for too long! He asks the crew to join in to sing a song about how great Canada is! It doesn’t work, as Crow and Mike decide to use this opportunity to bash Canada more, and tell Servo it’s better to just let it go and make fun! It doesn’t end well, because Tom starts basically threatening Canada with violence, and keeps talking about America’s superiority. It’s such a funny song, and a high point for this series in general. A real contender for best host bit.
Is being Canadian contagious? Well, hockey hair is, and everyone is infected with it for the next segment. Everyone is sick with a magnificent mullet, except for Mike (who has had hockey hair before, and therefore won’t have it again). The best part is seeing how happy Brian Guy is with hair. It’s a very Colin Mochrie like reaction.
Segment 4 is an extension of segment 3, accept Mike has been infected with Prospector hair. There’s a story about how he might have gotten it kissing a trucker, who was a damn fine kisser, and that’s about all there was to that.
Finally, Servo and Crow decide to start a cult, but they freak Mike out by how mundane their cult is. And Pearl is still trying to, unsuccessfully, take over people one at a time.
“The Final Sacrifice” is an all time classic episode. The best episode of this show are the ones where the movie is at least watchable, and “The Final Sacrifice” certainly is. Seek this one out, it is worth your time.