Good old FINAL DESTINATION back on the screens again. WOW. I never thought when I first saw the original in 2000 that this would become a franchise that would survive for 11 f*cking years. But here we are in 2011 and Death is still coming and going strong. Props to the producers (Craig Perry and Warren Zide) for pulling that off! Personally, I loved Part 1 and Part 2; they gave me cool deaths, an eerie storyline and some characters to root for. Shit started slipping hardcore with Part 3 and the franchise hit the bottom of the whore’s STD ridden throat with Part 4. Now there were two ways this could’ve gone; continue down that whore’s throat till your dick melts off or slip out, put a bullet in her head and start fresh. Here’s a quote from my review of Part 4:
“Where the f*ck did the story go???? Like really? Where did it go??? Out to lunch with Hollywood’s integrity? Part 1 and Part 2 had a story that went beyond the set up. Shit, they even had random characters that actually felt like people instead of full on paper-cut outs with the words DENSE and VICTIM stamped on their foreheads. WHAT HAPPENED? When did this franchise get so damn lazy (oh yeah at Part 3 that’s where)? Part 4 makes your bottom of the barrel slasher fare look like high IQ cinema and taking into account its roots (Part 1 and 2) that’s a damn shame.”
Yeah, I was pissed off in seeing what was once a franchise that gave us quality on top of the kills, go the easy, duh, cash in way. Well, rejoice cause FINAL DESTINATION 5 acted as a healthy apology for the mediocrity that was Part 3 and the lobotomy that was Part 4. We’re back on the right Death track! This fifth installment aimed higher then its 2 predecessors, starting with its “young adult” characters. Some of them were actually likable and even the “on paper” unlikeable ones (the hilarious P.J. Byrne and David Koechner) were at least entertaining mofos as opposed to grating. The acting was pretty solid as well. The lovely Emma Bell was tops as always, Nicholas D’Agosto held his own, Miles “Christian Bale look-alike” Fisher went to town with it while the rest of the cast fared just as well. It was far from the amateur hour, “I sucked off the casting director to get this job” gang Part 4 had graced us with. So on the whole this made for a varied and NON annoying lot to follow around, root for and watch checkout. THANK YOU! They also upped the ante on the storyline this time around, going further than the initial premise. I won’t tell ya how (I aint no spoiling fool) but will say that it was the logical avenue to take and it gave the formula the kick in the ass it needed to regain some of its zest.
Tone wise, they were definitely going for the same vibe as Part 1 here. It was actually referenced, Tony Todd was back to be the aloof dude that he was in the first two films and even the kills were handled in a less bubblegum way than Part 3 and 4; keeping more to the unsettling and mean spirited M.O. of the first movie (me caring about the peeps gave the murders more impact). Hookers and hoes to director Steven Quale for injecting this entry with a potent dose of dread, for knowing how to build up the anxiety to then twist my head off with a grisly and harsh payoff and for handling the more action oriented scene of the flick like an Ace of Spades. Yup that opening bridge bit… holy shit man… freaking awesome and executed perfectly! It made the roller-coaster opening of Part 3 and the race car thang in Part 4 look like brokeback bitches. Add to all that horror lovin; stand out visual effects, 3D put to good use (i.e. blood, guts, spikes, broken glass etc. flying at ya), Courtney B. Vance classing the joint up as the cop on the case, a solid balance of the smart elements of the franchise and its rock and roll tendencies and an endearing “we’re celebrating the series with this one” vibe to it and you get a blast that didn’t insult me in the process.
Any drawbacks? A few. To say it felt been there done that would be an understatement. Much like slashers ( although it added a couple of twists in the mix) the structure was the same. On this round, this thought popped in my head: “Why the hell are these premonitions happening in the first place?” I mean in Part 1 it was a freak accident thing; Part 2 tied with 1, so it went down smooth. But beyond that, that question has been tugging at me and now it’s officially bugging me. Why? Is Death bored and playing a sick game with his victims Jigsaw style? Is God in the mix? Playing poker with Death perhaps? Why? Why? Why? Hopefully it’s more than just the John McClane ailment: it keeps happening cause the films keep making coin. Maybe we can get an answer in part 6, in my opinion, it’s now due in my opinion of course. Another peeve of mine had to do with one of the leads and the drastic decision he/she made during the last block. Can’t say more, but it didn’t make much sense to me outside of creating “conflict”. Maybe if more time would have been spent with that said character and his/her state of mind, I would’ve bought it 100%. Here it felt a pinch forced as he/she had other options. Finally, much like the premonition question mark, can we define Tony Todd’s character already? I always felt like the filmmakers didn’t know themselves who or what Tony Todd was supposed to be in their Death Circus, so they never took him further. Reminds of the later X-Files seasons when Chris Carter was making it up as he went along. Time to man up, make decisions and let us know HOW he’s tied up in all of this and HOW he’s so in the know. The buck stops here patrones!
On that FINAL DESTINATION 5 did right by me and have me a buck and half of red wet fun. The money was on the screen, smarts was in the script, talent behind and in front of the lens and the kills/3D combo came through gangbusters. What else do want! A razor laced hand job! Death is waiting! GO! And tell him/her or it that The Arrow sent ya!