Directed by James Wong.
Written by Glen Morgan, James Wong and Jeffrey Reddick.
Starring Devon Sawa and Ali Larter.
Release Year: 2000
Review Date: 3/19/00
That was the sound made here at my apartment
last night, upon learning that St. John's, my pick to lose in the
NCAA final to Duke, lost to Gonzaga in their second round contest.
Because I had St. John's in that position in all five of my
tournament pools, I decided last night to go out dancing to rid my
mind of the amount of money I had just thrown away for the umpteenth
consecutive year betting on that damned tournament. And, I must
admit, I was well entertained: I got to attend Nation, a club in
southeast DC, and witness an unintentionally bisexual freak sandwich
featuring Bellview regular Tchaka "Glue" Owen, Sarah "Pasty White
Ass" Johnson, and a 6'3" white guy who was eyeing up Tchaka--the,
um, meat of the sandwich--like he was Thanksgiving dinner. Funny
shit...at least, to me. I don't know if I can say the same about
To continue ridding myself of the bad
feelings harnessed by the St. John's loss, I decided to skip the
first NCAA game of Sunday afternoon to go check out "Final
Destination", the movie that you've seen previews for where this kid
finds a way to see the future and figure out which of his friends is
going to die next following a plane disaster. Angela "Hard Edged"
Harrell and I took in the matinee feature, and ironically, the movie
fit that billing. The setup of this story is a good one: a class
of high school students from New York is getting ready to fly to
Paris for a ten-day field trip when one of the students, a kid named
Alex, has a vision while sitting on the plane before it departs. In
his vision, Alex sees the death of everyone on board in an explosion
caused by unseen forces on the plane. Panicked by the vision, he
goes a little loco and de-boards the plane, to the sudden horror of
his flightmates. A few other students and a teacher leave the
plane, and as they try and comfort Alex and his newfound
craziness...the plane takes off, and suddenly explodes.
Thinking that Alex is a clairvoyant, the
other survivors of the accident slowly come to grips with the death
of their schoolmates but have bitter feelings towards the person who
ironically saved their lives. Then, following the apparent suicide
of Alex's best friend and survivor of the accident, Alex decides to
try and figure out why he is having these visions, and why
eventually, his friends are dying one by one under mysterious
circumstances. Naturally, it is the grim reaper, and Alex must
figure out how to intervene with death's "design" before all of his
friends--not to mention himself--are killed.
A great setup, but this film gets even more
predictable than the storyline itself would normally allow by spoon
feeding us its death scenes (with the exception of one: look out
for that bus!) and filling in little clues here and there as to how
each person will die in each scene. Example: rather than just
letting the teacher, Ms. Ludin, die, we have to watch her put the
knives in just the right place, light the burner at just the right
time, and allow for the vodka in her coffee cup to spill in just the
right place on her computer...so that her computer monitor can
explode, throwing glass into her neck, so she can bleed all the way
into the kitchen, so the blood can catch on fire, so when she falls
onto the floor in the kitchen the knives fall into her chest, so
that when the blood--now on fire!--gets to the kitchen, the burner
catches the enlarged sparks and the entire house bursts into
flames. Me, I would have just gone with the knife in the chest
part, but NOOOO....we've got to spend 10 minutes with this woman!
The flip side of that is that we know that
these folks are all gonna die, so it can be fun trying to figure out
how it happens next. And, like most horror movies of this type,
every single thing in the movie is 10-15 times louder than it is in
real life. Turning on the aforementioned burner, for example,
sounds not much different than when John Mclaine blows up half of
Nakatomi Plaza in "Die Hard"...except, it is just a fucking burner!
The characters are nondescript, just the way they should be, since
we know they are gonna die horribly anyway. The special effects are
good for a low budget movie like this, and some of the scares are
genuine. The most important scare you should know about is that if
you are planning to fly soon, I would skip this movie, because the
image it creates in its first ten minutes is real-life scary: what
if the plane you are about to board tomorrow is gonna blow up?
You'll be thinking about that the whole way to the airport. Oh, and
Tony Todd--the guy who starred in "Candyman"!--is in the movie for
only about two minutes, but I loved his two minutes and his was the
only funny scene in the movie.
But, overall, you've been there before, and
you won't gain much by seeing this film. Angela, who gave this
movie a matinee as well, found herself more concerned about a
balding man sitting in front of her who was picking at his bald
spots for almost the entire 90 minutes than the actual movie. If
anything, it goes down easy and you can go ahead with your life
almost immediately after leaving the theater.
Comments? Drop me a line at
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