krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
I'm back to commenting on the episodes in the latest Mystery Science Theater 3000 set. Instead of watching them in strict "numerical order," I decided to skip over "Soultaker" (as I've already commented on it) and move on to "Final Justice." ("Please, can't I have just one more justice?") The time between viewing "Manhunt in Space" and it may not be the only factor in my decision, though; it may also have to do with seeming to recall having formed the impression when I first saw the episode that the "riffing" somehow was a little too convinced that just featuring the immortal Joe Don Baker again was enough to condemn the movie. However, in recent days returning to certain Mystery Science Theater episodes seems to have improved my impressions of them, so I was willing to at least give "Final Justice" another try.

The movie opens with Joe Don Baker as the Texan Deputy Sheriff Thomas Jefferson Geronimo III, stuck out in the boondocks. When two Sicilian mobsters making a run for the border just happen to shoot one of Geronimo's fellow officers, he guns one of the mobsters down and is then detailed to escort the remaining one to Italy for trial. However, the mob has things rigged so that the plane has to land on Malta ("Malta, maker of fine crosses, knights, and falcons.") and the mobster very rapidly makes his getaway, the tiny taxi he was being driven in exploding in a huge fireball. Geronimo proceeds to wander around Malta in his cowboy-styled suit, a long-suffering female Maltese police officer escorting him even as he gets into gunfights with mobsters, is repeatedly tossed into jail and then taken out for the Maltese police chief to fulminate at him and then let him go, and indulges in a very long chase with the mobster himself (who's disguised as a monk, which somehow brings to mind "The Rebel Set") that involves them tearing around in rubber boats. ("A buncha armed nuns on jetskis out there, waiting for him...") Although Geronimo is captured by the mob at one point, an exotic dancer connected with the bad guys and who he's already threatened takes pity on him all the same and helps him to escape (a small powerboat exploding in a huge fireball along the way) for all that she's killed in the process. At last, the female Maltese police officer, somehow seeing the point of breaking the law to inflict justice ("You've given me a lot to think about. Like, how can one man be that sweaty?"), helps him to escape from jail, but is not killed in the final shootout involving a sudden and somewhat pointless betrayal. ("I'm so confused and hungry.")

Just as I had hoped, my impressions of the episode did seem to improve, and it seemed entertaining for more reasons than just "featuring Joe Don Baker again." At the close, Mike concludes that this time it's his turn to escape the Satellite of Love just as Joel did at the close of "Mitchell" (with Gypsy playing along for whatever reason) until Crow and Tom Servo inform him that he's not in an escape pod but the water heater. Perhaps, though, I'm able now to enjoy this episode for its own merits instead of it "having" to "be just like 'Mitchell.'"

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