"Final Destination 2"
Directed by David R. Ellis.
Written by J. Mackye Gruber and Eric Bress.
Starring Ali Larter and AJ Cook.
Release Year: 2003
Review Date: 2/13/03
“Final Destination” film was not a great movie, but I will say
that it did do one thing very, very well--kill people in ridiculous,
extravagant ways. In fact, I would argue that the killings in
“Final Destination” were kill-for-kill the most interesting death
sequences in horror film history.
So, I was on the fence for checking out
“Final Destination 2” until my man Derwin “Holla” Hylton dropped me
a line last week to tell me that I definitely had to check this
thing out. Check it out I did, and I was not disappointed. The
sequel features roughly the same setup as the first film--a coed (AJ
Cook, not in the first film) has a premonition that a bunch of folks
are going to die in a car accident on the highway just before it
happens, so to prevent it, she blocks other cars at the on ramp to
hold everyone up. Seconds later, the accident happens, sparing the
lives of eight lucky (at least, for now) souls from being killed.
Now, as is the way of the logic in these films, this means that the
commuters have “cheated death”, so it is only a matter of time
before Death catches up with the commuters over the next few days,
because as a mysterious coroner (returning character Tony Todd)
tells us, once your number is up, your number is up! So, one by
one, they are picked off...but, the coed that had the original
premonition seeks out help from a survivor of the first film, Clear
Waters (Ali Larter), before everyone is killed in order.
I could give a chicken-fried shit about the
storyline here, but I will admit, it goes away from the route of
many past horror film franchises by actually trying to have the cast
members learn from the mistakes made by the victims of the past.
The no-name cast does good work here, and they make their one-note
characters interesting enough to follow until their predictable
death sequences finally strike.
It is these scenes, of course, that make the
film, and while they all do not match the intricate design of the
first two in the sequel (the premonition sequence, and the death of
the first victim), they are all still pretty damned funny to watch.
Honestly, I was about to stand up and cheer following the first
scene of the film; the budget alone was enough for a full movie, as
we see what WOULD have happened had all of the commuters gotten onto
the highway; all manner of decapitation, impaling, explosion and
human compaction takes place in about a minute, and the strange
coincidences that are set up in just that one scene are fantastic.
When people die in a “Final Destination” film, they fuckin’ die!
The other death scenes have similar plotting but to a much-smaller
scale; none match the series’ best death scene (that would clearly
be the teacher that gets it in the house in the first film) but all
feature much more thinking than the standard-issue “knife-in-back”
scenes that normally populate these films. And man, are these
scenes bloody; if you don’t enjoy watching, say, a person end up
with a pole through the back of their head, you can go ahead and not
see “Final Destination 2.”
Minor problems abound; this film takes place
one year from the date of the original film, but that film was
released three years ago (hmmm). There are some problems with the
logic behind escaping “death’s design” as the characters try to
figure out a way to stop the cycle of dying that is happening around
them; if it really does affect everyone that the destined-for-death
commuters come in contact with, another half-dozen minor characters
should have been killed off, by my count. But hey, if you like
horror films, it’s slim pickings right now so this should be the
pick. Slight improvement on the original.
Rating: $9.50 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard