Final Destination 5 in 3D Directed by: Steven Quale Cast: Nicholas D'Agosto, Emma Bell, Miles Fisher Running Time: 1 hr 32 mins Rating: R Release Date: August 12, 2011
PLOT: A group survives a near-fatal bridge collapse. Now it seems that death is chasing them down and killing them one by one.
WHO'S IT FOR? Have you enjoyed the four previous installments? Do you like the idea of being tortured with where death is coming from? If quality acting doesn't matter to you, then you should be good to go.
EXPECTATIONS: Low. I think that's fair to say. I saw the first Final Destination and that's it, that's the list. I realize those who love the series might be upset with some of the things I have to say below. Just keep in mind, I am a fan of good movies, not a die-hard Final Destination fan. One more thing, I like over-the-top insanity like Drive Angry 3D.
Nicholas D'Agosto as Sam Lawton: I have seen D'Agosto do good work. In the film Fired Up both he and Eric Christian Olsen surprised me with their deadpan glib sarcasm. It's a fun movie. Here, D'Agosto is asked to be somber, sincere and sympathetic. It's either out of his range or Quale gave him poor direction. In either case, there is no reason to be entertained by Sam in this film. He's the one who cheats death in the beginning. During the rest of the movie, his friends don't know if they should look at him like he's crazy, or their savior. Plus, his emotional state changes on a dime and we never know why. Then again, we never know why he's able to see death coming. Score: 3
Emma Bell as Molly: I did not enjoy having Bell as our damsel in distress. One, I didn't find her hot or cute. That's actually fairly tough to pull off. Two, I didn't feel any sort of connection between Molly and Sam. Three, I don't think we'll be seeing much more of Bell in the future. I know this is extremely harsh, but it really does seem that she was just a token girlfriend, but that token would be rejected by all video game machines. Score: 2
Rest of Cast: At this point, you're getting annoyed at me and yelling, "But these movies aren't about the ACTING!" My counter to that is that almost every movie is about the connection you development with the characters on the screen. We have a prick named Isaac (P.J. Byrne), a hot girl named Candice (Ellen Wroe), a nervous girlfriend (Ellen Wroe) and an actor trying to channel Tom Cruise as Peter (Miles Fisher). They are all bland or so one-dimensional that it's comical (to laugh at, not with). David Koechner tons down his usual on-screen persona as everyone's boss, and it's actually the best performance of the movie. Arlen Escarpeta, plays Nathan, a black guy who may actually survive this whole thing! I always enjoy going against the stereotype. Tony Todd is back as Bludworth, to illuminate the entire concept of "death" wanting to set things right. The majority of the cast is lacking in all areas, so this can't get a positive score. Score: 4
TALKING: Look, nobody comes to these movies for the dialogue. There's a certain amount of freedom in that. So why not take advantage of it? Instead we get boring conversations about people deserving to die or not. I haven't seen the other sequels, but I'm pretty sure you could find all of these conversations in the other films. Score: 3
SIGHTS: Death is a tease is a very entertaining way. The opening sequence on the bridge is shocking fun to watch. And yes, the addition of 3D does help with the entertainment here. The death sequence that will probably be talked about the most is the gymnastics death, though the laser eye surgery death will be a close second. It will shock, keep you guessing and make you nervous. They do a seriously good job with knocking off these forgettable characters. Score: 7
SOUNDS: Each death comes with some squishing, splatting or shattering noises that add to the moment. The Kansas song "Dust in the Wind" is the "tell" in this movie to let Sam know that death is coming. It's not used nearly enough to create scary or comedic moments in this film. Score: 6
BEST SCENE: It's the gymnastics sequence. They tease and toy with the audience a number of different ways, drawing out when and where death will actually come from. Plus, the ending of that scene is such insane stupid fun that it surpassing any emotional realism, so you can just enjoy the insanity.
ENDING: It's a nice nod to the series as a whole. It's smart, but doesn't do anything to elevate the series to anything beyond stupid fun.
QUESTIONS: Why would people believe Bludworth? Sure, it appears they are being picked off one by one, but the theory of taking another's life seems to come out of nowhere for these guys. Why did Sam have the ability to cheat death in the beginning? If "death" is an actual entity then why allow Sam to see it, yet not escape it later? Oh, I'm not supposed to think about these things? Sorry, I didn't know the "turn your brain off" thing had to be done here.
REWATCHABILITY: The entire thing? No way.
Final Destination 5 has its moments. The opening sequence has a surprising amount of death on the suspension bridge. It's insane fun. Once we get farther into the film, the gymnastics death sequence is sweaty-palms fun as you wonder when someone will finally bite the bullet. That's it, those are its moments. Actually, it does make more sense to call them sequences. Final Destination 5 has a few well-crafted death sequences and everything else this movie offers actually detracts.
I would love to think FD5 is a comedy. The insane lengths "death" goes to get its revenge from these survivors could be delicious fun if this movie realized how stupid it actually is. But unfortunately every moment spent not killing these kids is spent wasting our time with the attempt of sincere sadness or regret. Well, it's only sincere until a bottle of alcohol or a good night's sleep show up. Then, almost all the insanity is forgotten and our main character Sam can go back to his dream of cooking in Paris. Yeah, that's supposed to be the passion we care about.
There is a nice nod to the ending here, but that's all it is, a nod. It doesn't allow you to rethink the series as a whole. It doesn't even really qualify as a twist ending because it doesn't actually change any event that has occurred.
Final Destination 5 would work better as Youtube clips. If you don't mind watching a gory, well-filmed death, then a few of these sequences would make you and your friends grown with delight. Once these characters try to come to life, you'll just grown.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10