By Loren King
Special to the Tribune
January 29, 2003
Like the first installment, the sequel also builds an entire movie around the paint-itself-into-a-corner premise that death has a plan that can't be cheated. As one character so cleverly says, "When your number is up, it's up!" But the film's fifth-rate "Twilight Zone" pretensions are just an excuse for well-executed but pointless "freak accidents," each escalating in gore and carnage.
This time around, a band of survivors escapes a highway traffic bloodbath. Soon they begin to see their "luck" turn as, one by one, they meet grisly fates. Death has a grand plan, you see, and death always wins.
The gruesome pileup happened to occur on the one-year anniversary of the airline explosion of the first film, but "FD2" is no supernatural thriller on the order of, say, "The Ring." Sure, yet another teen character has premonitions of disasters right before they happen - expressed by A.J. Cook's Kimberly with furrowed brow and the declaration that she has a "really bad feeling."
But "FD2" is much less concerned with the paranormal than with impalement, decapitation (by elevator doors, no less) and death by pigeon (an amusing but artless riff on "The Birds" that would send the ghost of Hitchcock reeling).
Like disaster films of the '70s and slasher films of the '80s, "FD2" echoes and recycles all the now-requisite shtick, so much so that its own awareness, meant to be amusing, wears thin. At least "Final Destination" had the novelty factor.
This time, when the survivors come up with a plan to ward off death by sleeping in shifts, it isn't even pointed parody - it's just routine filler until the next dismemberment.
"FD2," despite some imaginative fatalities, is less a movie than a slick video game. If Brian DePalma started this whole cheesy/creepy genre with "Carrie," he at least was aiming high by marrying Hitchcock with drive-in horror flicks.
Although the influence of "Carrie" is evident throughout "FD2" and its ilk (particularly the requisite tagged-on shocker epilogue), it borrows far less from Hitchcock and DePalma and far more from the "Halloween" and "Scream" franchises. One of the true pleasures of genre movies comes when they manage to be artful within the genre's limits. Those that weakly spoof the genre itself with bad dialogue, pedestrian acting and keen self-consciousness are just mercenary exercises in schlock.
1 star (out of 4)
"Final Destination 2"
Directed by David R. Ellis; written by Jeffrey Reddick, J. Mackye Gruber, Eric Bress; photographed by Gary Capo; edited by Eric Sears; production design by Michael Bolton; music by Shirley Walker; produced by Craig Perry, Warren Zide. A New Line Cinema release. Opens Friday, Jan. 31. Running time: 1:40. MPAA rating: R (strong violent/gruesome accidents, language, drug content and some nudity).
Clear Rivers - Ali Larter
Kimberly Corman - A.J. Cook
Officer Thomas Burke - Michael Landes
Eugene Dix - T.C. Carson
Kat - Keegan Connor Tracy
Dr. Kalarjian - Enid-Raye Adams
Copyright © 2013, Metromix.com