Final Destination 2
Shame they didn't get the destination right first time round.
Final Destination was something of a sleeper hit back in 2000, and deservedly so. It took an extremely jaded genre and made a noteworthy attempt at injecting it with some fresh ideas. Sure it wasn't perfect, but there were enough shock moments that you didn't really care too much, and everybody went home from the cinema giggling nervously whilst keeping one eye open for potential danger. Three years later and here we have the inevitable sequel. Can you expect it to capture some of the original film's freshness and ingenuity? Errr, no, not really.
To be fair, Final Destination 2 has it's moments. The film opens with our heroine's premonition of a horrific motorway pile-up. It's an extremely well orchestrated catastrophe that manages to be quite unsettling and supremely graphic. At this point, I had hope. Unfortunately it's pretty much downhill the rest of the way, with the film following the template of it's prequel utterly by the numbers, the only differences being the gore factor has been upped quite substantially and the script quality lowered somewhat.
The devilishly cute A.J. Cook plays Kimberly Corman, whose premonition saves her own life and those of a group of otherwise doomed motorists, but costs her that of her friends. It's the first anniversary of the plane crash that sparked the events of the first film, and Kimberly seeks the knowledge of the first film's only survivor, Clear Rivers, again played by an obviously cash-needy Ali Larter. Kimberly knows Death will be coming after the survivors, and needs her advice on how to cheat it's 'design'.
Clear has booked herself into a psychiatric ward as a means to escaping Death's intentions after her boyfriend (the first movie's Devon Sawa as Alex) died in yet another freak accident. Given that the couple spent their whole time taking pains to avoid anything at all hazardous, the scriptwriters have explained away his passing by the wonderfully leftfield random happening of a "falling brick". Quite where the brick came from is never explained. Presumably Death got so pissed off trying to nail the sucker that it resorted to Loony Tunes methods. He's perhaps lucky that it was something as dignified as a brick, and not a grand piano or a giant anvil bearing the legend 100 Tons.
This should be ringing alarm bells, as it quite clearly denotes the desperation of the studio to repeat the success of the first movie through the tried and tested Hollywood technique of making the nonsensically contrived set-pieces even more oblique than the first time. Hence we are subjected to 100 minutes of various Z-list wastrels being spiked, skewered, decapitated, crushed, burnt, cubed and, quite inspirationally, blown up by barbequeues. Voyeuristic? Yes. Extremely entertaining? Hell yes.
Yes, they're stacked up and racked up and marched out to die. There's some bare-faced attempt at depth by this time introducing the idea that Death is now working backwards, and that everyone who survived the motorway crash was somehow previously linked to the plane crash survivors from the first film. Someone somewhere mentions Death travelling in 'ripples' or something (and there I was thinking it only did straight lines), which apparently has something to do with something else that's something to do with another thing that's troubling them or...ah Christ, do you really want me to go on? Suffice to say if you can swallow any of this, be prepared to have the old larynx thoroughly tested by the utter bile they manage to regurgitate that was once a scriptwriter's idea of that old-fashioned thing called 'dialogue'.
If you don't laugh at lines like "If Clear was right that means Nora and Tim are going to be killed by pigeons!" there's clearly something wrong with you. If this is as existential a conversation as an American twenty-something can muster given the circumstances then the whole world is in trouble. It's all very humorous to the casual observer, but what's disturbing is that none of it appears to be tongue-in-cheek. Only the film's final scene shows any sense of self-awareness that provides an intentionally dark chuckle. For the rest of the duration you might as well wear ear-plugs and just go "Oooh!" every time someone is spectacularly squished.
I could go on picking massive fault all day but it would seem unfair, even though I'm not being at all biased. I loved the first film and desperately wanted to be able to even just like this one, but alas I'm getting a bit old to be entertained by buckets of blood alone. Final Destination 2 has clearly been designed to scoop a couple of quid from teenager's pockets off the back of the first instalment's success, and no doubt it will do just that. If only it could have managed a scrap of originality, it might have fared better.
Ultimately, this movie is a one-star-wonder, boosted to a sympathetic mark of 2 out of 5 Arbitrary Disko Units because a) the deaths are pretty spectacular, and b) it's got Ali Larter in it, even if she has gone back to being blonde. Oh, and that pigeon line's a gem. Shame it never actually happens...
Craig Disko has fallen asleep. See the above paragraph for his verdict. Zzzz......
Ali Larter (Clear Rivers)
Michael Landes (Officer Thomas Burke)