Friday, August 12, 2011

Final Destination 5

OK, so who else can't believe they actually had the nerve to make a fifth 'Final Destination'?  The last one was called 'The Final Destination' for gosh sakes!  What is it that the executives at New Line Cinema don't understand about the word final?  Is there a simpler word with a simpler meaning?  But let's take a moment to recall the history of the series before I lambast them any further for this egregious milking of a creatively dead franchise.

The first 'Final Destination' was released in 2000 and was actually quite good.  A group of kids on a school trip are boarding a plane when one of them gets a vision that the plane is going to explode.  He flips out and a handful of passengers reluctantly follow him off the plane only to watch it explode moments later.  (In fact, the entire beginning is an homage to a classic 'Twilight Zone' episode.)  But here's the twist.  Death isn't that easy to escape.  When it's your time to go, it's your time to go, and Death won't rest until it has its way.  And so, Death catches up with the survivors one by one in extreme and varying ways.  Nice!  That premise had a lot going for it.  Is there a better villain than Death itself?  I think not.
And then came the next three installments in 2003, 2006, and 2009 respectively.  Now, a good genre series would add to the mythology with each installment.  (The 'Alien' and 'Scream' franchises come to mind as good examples where each sequel adds significantly to the story arc.)  This series, on the other hand, does nothing of the sort.  Each sequel adds nothing.  They are virtual copies of the first, except for the differing catastrophes at the beginning where a handful of fresh, young, and attractive teenagers narrowly escape.  In the second film it's a highway accident, in the third it's a roller coaster accident at a carnival (which I must admit was a good choice), and the dreadful fourth is a car race accident.  And to make matters worse, the cast in each film got significantly cheesier and cheesier.  Clearly they didn't want to waste any money on cast or script.  Clearly all the filmmakers were concerned with was devising new and gratuitously grotesque ways for Death to take its victims.  Shameful.  The only positive I can offer is that these are all under 95 minutes, and I am thankful for small favors.

And now we have the fifth installment.  And the catastrophe is .... (drum roll please) ... a suspension bridge collapse.  Ho freakin' hum!  That's the genius idea that made them decide a fifth installment had to be made?!?  Well, there must be some other good reason, yes?  Ummm, nope, not really.  This one is in gimmicky 3D, it's more violent than ever, and there is a slight new twist to the storyline and a marginally interesting twist to the ending, but nothing that makes this gratuitously violent, overindulgent B-movie gore-fest worth making or worth watching.  So, I implore you, skip this film!  Do it for yourself and do it for me, so that I don't have to sit through 'Final Destination 6' next year.  Otherwise Death won't have to come for me ... I'll take matters into my own hands.

Grade: D-

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