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Final Destination 5 is Where Death Should Retire

Final Destination 5
Directed by Steven Quale
Written by Eric Heisserer
New Line, 2011

In 2009, The Final Destination, complete with its definite article “the,” was supposed to be the last movie, but when the filmmakers slapped the then “novel” 3D onto the product, the film went on to gross more money than any of its predecessors.

The Final Destination films, as I mentioned in the last film’s review, have a hyper-ridiculous aspect to them that borders, if not completely crosses, the line of self-parody.  The situations these characters get into really, ultimately, make you wonder if anyone does their maintenance jobs anymore.  Death is a handyman, or all the handymen are dead.  So many times we see screws coming out of things, or shoddy appliances that just happen to be on their last legs and are ready to commit murder-suicides.

This review contains a major spoiler, so if you don’t want to read about it, I suggest you go on your merry way and watch the movie first before reading this review.  You’re going to anyway, right?  I mean, whether this review is good or bad, you’re either horny for Final Destination or you’re not.  But I feel like I must talk about the spoiler in detail.

So here’s the spoiler:

This movie is set before the original Final Destination.

You can figure this out early on when you take a look at New York license plates, those older ones with the Statue of Liberty and all mostly white.  They eventually changed to a bluer, blue-white license plate.  But the Liberty license plates all date before 2001.  There’s no doubt that the makers of Final Destination 5 wanted some observant viewers to take note of these plates and say, “Hey, what the heck?”  New Yorkers have the upper hand on figuring this nonsense out before the rest of you.

However, this doesn’t explain the anachronistic cell phone.  I’m pretty sure that the make of the phone wasn’t around back then.  I think there is some great care taken to show people not using cell phones all the time in this movie, but one guy has one.  Maybe he’s supposed to be super-rich or something.  But anyway, I had a hard time believing this cell phone existed.  And you bet your ass this phone vibrates a candle off a shelf and causes a fire.

So back to the “story” here.  This film begins like all the other ones.  Some dude (Nicholas D’Agosto) has a vision of everybody’s horrible death involving a collapsed bridge while sitting on a bus.  He warns his wavering, potential ex-girlfriend (Emma Bell) about the vision he sees.  A lot of other potential victims like the asshole (Miles Fisher), the asshole’s girlfriend (Ellen Wroe), the douchebag (P.J. Byrne), the black guy (Arlen Escarpeta), the hot bitch (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), and the asshole’s father who is also an asshole (David Koechner).  Hardly anyone believes him, but then shit gets real and everybody wonders, “How did this guy know?  And man, I’m glad to be alive!”

Our main guy is under suspicion from the disbelieving detective (Courtney B. Vance) because who the hell knows a bridge is going to collapse without doing some advanced trig and talking to a bridge safety inspector, whom I assume is long dead.  Safety inspectors and “guys who do their job” cannot be found in Final Destination movies.  Also, Candyman (Tony Todd), who has been in every movie except the last one, is telling the survivors that death doesn’t like to be cheated, and then disappearing into some sort of mysterious wise black guy ether.  I would love to watch a movie where Todd’s character is the subject of the movie.  I’d like to see his survival instincts pit wits with Death.  I have a feeling Todd might kick Death’s ass…with his voice.

So Death doesn’t like to be cheated, so one by one all the survivors enter into the “world without screwdrivers” and start getting creatively bloodied and destroyed by a chain of events.  So I mentioned that spoiler above, another reason why you might be able to figure out that this is a prequel is how the characters react to the situation.  I think in all the other versions, someone finds news footage or a microfiche or Google searches, “Fuck me, I’m going to die,” and finds evidence of all the past times this happened.  In this one, they don’t.  And all the previous versions had the idea down that, should one of the survivors cheat death again, the next in line is going to die, but the guy who survived death twice is just moved to the back of the line.  In this one, they figure if they kill someone else, Death will be sated.  This is such a moral dilemma!

So, this movie is really bad.  Currently sitting above 60% on Rotten Tomatoes as I write this, this is the second “5″ this year, after Fast Five, to be given good reviews.  And it’s two too many.  I think once you get to the fifth movie, and perhaps you’ve enjoyed previous installments, there are some who might say, “Well, you enjoyed it last time, so how could you not enjoy it this time?”  Well, something is definitely missing here, like all the deaths are really lazily put together.  So many “screws coming out of things” scenes or “water dropped on a outlet.”  I feel like in the past, some sort of thought was put into the pebble-turning-into-a-snowball aspect of the deaths, and the payoff was actually fun.  It seemed logical, like it could happen, even if it was ridiculous.  Now, it’s just ridiculous.  It isn’t fun anymore.  The way this one ends, it makes it seem like it could be the last one, but it’s probably not.

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