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"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 


The first “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 "Office Space"). 

"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, 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 half stars." 

"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 Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09