Cast:Miles Fisher, Arlen Escarpeta, Nicholas D'Agosto, Ellen Wroe, Meghan Ory, Tony Todd, David Koechner, P.J. Byrne, Emma Bell, Jaqueline MacInnes Wood, Courtney B. Vance
It’s no secret that the Final Destination franchise hit quite the rough patch two years ago with the fourth outing. To say it was a disappointment is an understatement. It was a straight up lazy excuse to add a 3D surcharge to a movie ticket, and came off like no time or care were actually put into it. Needless to say, I was NOT keen on the announcement that a fifth film had been greenlit (especially with one of the writers behind that bitchass Nightmare on Elm Street remake penning it). But as the film progressed, it became apparent that the producers heard the outrage over that last film loud and clear, and attempted to save their franchise. Did they succeed? For the most part, yes.
From the opening scene it was evident that the filmmakers were going to take this one up a notch, and deliver on the bloody goods. The requisite disaster this time around is a collapsing bridge, and it is without question the most ambitious and over the top disaster sequence of the franchise. Filled to the brim with escalating tension, and in your face gore, this scene shows how well a movie can utilize 3D to benefit it as a whole. I don’t know about you guys, but I have all about had it with 3D, thanks to a rash of sub-par conversions and filmmakers that have no idea how to properly shoot with it. However, director Steven Quale not only keeps the blood flying in your face, but also a great depth of field for the entire run time.
But before we even reach the bridge, we’re treated to an opening credits cycle (set to the movie’s rocking main theme, that I totally downloaded and work out to) that any 80s horror fan will recognize as a fun homage to the Friday the 13th series, which seems fitting since, if you think about it, both franchises share some similarities. Every movie is seemingly the same recycled story, but at the end of the day, they’re made to be nothing more than an hour and a half of entertaining fun. Some scenes in Part 5 are just down right a blast to experience in a crowded theater, something that Part 4 severely lacked.
There’s no reason to go deep into the actual plot for the film, since I mentioned before that it’s basically the same recycled story. Though, while we all expect that by now, I kind of wish they tried to change it up a little more. One of the strongest aspects of this entry is that it introduces the theory that if you kill someone in your place that wasn’t supposed to die, you’ve traded places with them and get their remaining years. Unfortunately, it’s a too little too late plot device, that really could have taken the movie down a new, mean spirited route had it been introduced earlier on. Instead, the second act is populated by the usual array of freak accidents that happen within set-pieces outside of the main narrative, with the new “kill or be killed” theory merely teased. Though I do give the filmmakers props for bringing the series full circle. If this is the last of the series, at least it’ll go out respectably.
Another staple of the series is assembling a really ridiculously good looking cast to fill up death’s quota, and this installment is no different. The two leads, Nicholas D’Agosto and Emma Bell, have both proven themselves as capable actors in the past, which is why it’s disappointing to see them come off as mediocre at best during their far too many “emotional” scenes. I’m not sure if it’s because Director Quales was too preoccupied with the technical aspects, if the scenes are just flat out badly written, or perhaps a combination of the two? Jacqueline MacInnes Wood is sex on two legs, so she merely has to walk on frame to get in my good graces. Miles Fisher, the mastermind behind the viral Final Destination/Saved by the Bell mash-up (and a phenomenal American Psycho parody that you all should watch), fairs the best out of the supporting cast, and something tell me he’ll end up being this film’s breakout star. Though all I kept thinking about was how much he looks like Kourtney Kardashian’s raging alchy baby-daddy. During pre-production, there was talk about how Tony Todd would have a more prominent role than the previous installments. And while he does, it’s sadly still not much more than a glorified cameo.
Though my expectations were at an all time low, Final Destination 5 delivered everything you’d expect. Creative deaths, a fast pace, and an overall entertaining theater going experience. Its main fault was sticking way too close to the same formula, and switching it up too late in the game, but it was still one helluva fun ride, and far better than it had any right to be.
|Posted on August 15, 2011 - 9:09pm | Johnny D|