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"Final Destination 3"

Directed by James Wong.
Written by Glen Morgan and James Wong.
Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ryan Merriman.
Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  2/10/06


While the plots of both "Final Destination" and "Final Destination 2" were mostly dogshit, both horror flicks had this much going for it:

The kills were badass!

So, in attending a showing of "Final Destination 3" this Friday night after a long work day, I only had one thing in mind--please, please, PLEASE let the kills in this installment be badass!

Uhh...not so much.

This go-round, it's the same old story:  a premonition by an individual, this time around a girl named Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), features mass death and dismemberment at the hands of what looks like an unfortunate accident.  In this movie, the accident features about 20 high school kids falling to their death after a roller coaster runs off the tracks.

Flashback to the present, and Wendy is sitting in the coaster just before it's about to take off on its fateful journey.  Hysterical, she gets off, along with about eight other kids...and, sure enough, as the coaster goes on without them, it falls off the tracks, killing Wendy's boyfriend and a bunch of other unlucky ones.  Wendy and the lucky souls that stepped off the coaster spend the rest of the movie wondering how they have dodged least, for a little while.

So, the setup stays consistent, and since we know that Death is eventually going to get each and every one of the kids, all we are left with are the death sequences...and, here, "Final Destination 3" falls short on most levels.  The buildup to each kill is too fast--a couple of times, kids die before we even get to the hokey-yet-sexy "everything around you might be a death trap" camerawork--and the kills themselves just didn't feel as cool, or as violent, or as whoa-inducing as they did in the first two films.  None ever approach the series' best kill, when one unlucky soul ends up blowing up her whole house after fishing around trying to stave off the Reaper in the first flick.  I'll admit, I enjoyed the tanning bed number, and the nail gun episode wasn't bad...but, in general, I was more amused than thrilled, and I was expecting better action since the director of the first film, James Wong, came back to finish the trilogy.

Winstead is capable in the lead here, and along with Ryan Merriman--playing the boyfriend of another girl that was lost in the initial coaster accident--the two leads have a playful banter that didn't get in the way too much as we move from "accident" to "accident."  The special effects aren't great but they are naturally quite bloody; nothing about the production is that special, and the laughs are minimal.  "Final Destination 3" doesn't even seem to be making fun of itself, as is the case as you get deeper and deeper into these senseless horror series...come on, give daddy something to howl at!

Blah.  If you can't tell, I'm not happy about blowing $9 on this horseshit.  If only I had spent less...

Rating:  Rental


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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