Final Destination 2

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By Mark Ramsey | 2003/02/01

As journeys go, Final Destination 2 makes me wish I got off one stop early and detoured.

Who would have guessed the first Final Destination was only an interim destination? Anybody who tallies box office, that’s who. Of course, the success of the original was rooted in the novelty of its premise, and the beauty of a novel premise is it’s only novel once.

Maybe that’s why Final Destination 2 spends about half its running time making tiresome bring-you-up-to-speed references to its predecessor. Do the filmmakers really believe anyone unfamiliar with the original would give a crap about this movie? I’m familiar with the original and I still don’t give a crap.

final_embrace.jpgYou can’t escape Death, we are persistently reminded. Like jury duty, it will keep coming for you.

And when a group of folks narrowly escapes dying in a particular order, expect them to be knocked off, one by one, in the exact sequence they would have died originally. In other words, not only is Death relentless, it’s also anal retentive.

It is precisely one year after the events of the first movie. A girl has a vision of terror on the highway – a premonition that enormous logs are about to spring off a truck and trigger a cascade of gory fatalities. “I don’t know which is more horrifying,” she said, “that or my vision that Melissa Rivers will appear on a network Reality show!”

Let’s see, the last one kicked off with a plane crash, now it’s a highway pile-up. What tragedy have the filmmakers saved for the next one? Repetitive stress injury? “Well,” sighed one producer, “maybe we could set it on a planet of apes.”

Lots of people die in this movie. Fortunately you’ve never seen them before and aren’t likely to again, thus your emotional investment in their struggle to survive is only slightly greater than the empathy you feel for your lawn as it’s mowed. Death might as well show up in a hockey mask with a chainsaw for all we care.

Check out the ho-hum cast of characters:

final_glass.jpgThere’s the every-girl with the premonitions. There’s the African American guy with a goatee who’s one turtleneck and a bongo short of a North Beach coffeehouse. There’s the handsome young cop who screams lines like “A man with hooks is going to kill you!” I suppose there are other characters too, but they came and went so fast they almost went before I came.

Ali Larter, the Beverly Garland of teen horror, returns from the first movie and wherever actors come from when the mention of their name in a casting office is followed by the sound of crickets and an intense interest in anyone else.

It seems Ali has checked herself into the loony bin where she lives in a padded room which, at least, sounds cozy. Before little miss premonition can visit Ali, she has to relinquish anything sharp. Unfortunately, that means the script stays with her.

Naturally, our doomed gang of ambiguously differentiated nobodies once again makes its way to cryptkeeper Tony Todd. Tony reprises his over-the-top appearance in the original movie by launching clear over the top of the top here. Thank God this gig puts bread on Tony’s table, because it must be tastier than artistic integrity.

“You can’t cheat Death,” Tony chides our anonymously hopeless friends, “There are no ECscapes.” There are no ECscpaes, Tony? May I AKS you what you’re trying to say?

You might think Death could simply trip everybody and break their necks, but no. Death is far too cinematic for that. Death is Hell’s Joel Schumacher, and he’s out to make these folks die in the most creative and elaborate manner possible. This must be the same Death who planned Liza Minnelli’s wedding.

Maybe you can’t cheat death, but Final Destination 2 can sure cheat an audience. ECscape while you can.


Photos Copyright ©2003 New Line Cinema

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