Newest Review: ... many of the actors cast in Final Destination 5; however, none of them were of great enough recognition for me to actually remember any of t... more
Are We There Yet?
Final Destination 5 (DVD)
Member Name: SWSt
Final Destination 5 (DVD)
Advantages: Fun enough if you enjoy the series
Disadvantages: Deaths suffer from a lack of imagination or originality
Right; straight in and no messing with this one. After four previous films, you know the drill. Bunch of teenagers escape from a major disaster in which they were meant to die when one of them has a premonition. Not one to be cheated lightly, Death comes after them and ensures they meet a sticky demise in a variety of unlikely and entertaining ways so that the wrinkle in reality (their survival) can be ironed out. This formula has (mostly) worked so far, do you think Hollywood is likely to change a winning formula? Yeah, right.
Which is why Final Destination 5 is OK, but slightly disappointing: although it's still fun to try and work out how each of the characters is going to die, it lacks any sense of novelty or freshness. The innovative, unlikely death sequences are pretty much the only reason to watch this film and on the evidence of Final Destination 5, the Imagination Well is starting to run rather dry.
Many of the deaths in FD5 are rather tepid when compared with previous entries in the series. Earlier death sequences relied on five or six different and unlikely coincidences coming together to deliver one final killer blow, as well as lots of red herrings mis-direct the viewer. In Final Destination 5, the death sequences are much more straightforward, often based on just a couple of coincidences. The elaborate set-ups of previous films are mostly gone and this leaves the whole thing feeling slightly disappointing.
Indeed, the most elaborate and imaginative deaths actually occur in the opening set-piece (a dream in which the main character sees the bridge his bus is travelling on collapse, killing everyone on board). The effects and the manner of some of the deaths seem to bode well for later in the film, but this early promise is never really delivered on.
The best death sequence is probably the first (a brilliantly drawn out affair surrounding a screw, a gymnast and ending in a wince-inducing, if unlikely, death). After that it's not exactly all downhill - there are still plenty of enjoyable moments - but FD5 never quite lives up to the imagination you expect from the series. Instead, there is a greater reliance on gore to shock.
Some of the deaths also feel a little rushed. With eight corpses to create and a running time of just 92 minutes, some characters are killed off with slightly indecent haste and in pretty obvious ways (there's one very rushed death you will see coming a mile off). On the plus side, this does overcome one of the difficulties I had with the third film which was that the deaths were too drawn out and the space between them filled with clunky dialogue and plot exposition.
Such plot as exists is not exactly subtle about where it's heading and fans of the series are likely to see certain events coming a mile off. The lead character is thinking of going to PARIS, because he has been offered a job in PARIS. However, he doesn't want to go to PARIS because he will leave his girlfriend behind if he goes to PARIS. He suggests that she could come to PARIS with him, but she's not sure that she wants to go and live in PARIS. In other words, FD5 is full of lots of dialogue that mentions PARIS a lot. Put it this way, I had a pound for every time the word PARIS was mentioned, I wouldn't need to pay for my next few cinema trips. Hmmmm. I wonder if that might be significant in some way (the Paris thing; not my not paying).
FD5 should given credit for recognising its limitations. It does what it needs to do (kill off the characters) and ends. It doesn't try and drag things out artificially and the end result is an enjoyable romp which, whilst lacking the freshness of previous outings, is still fun to watch. The ending, despite being nowhere near as clever as it seems to think it is (anyone with half a brain will have seen its two "shock" endings coming a mile off) is satisfying enough and concludes the film in way that's in keeping with the overall tone of the series.
Of course, the acting in FD5 leaves a lot to be desired. The cast is filled with good-looking unknowns who appear to have inherited their acting genes from a tree. The worst offender in this regard is Emma Bell as Molly. Her first appearance on screen is woeful and only improves marginally. So annoying was her "blank canvas" acting that early on I was seriously asking myself whether I could watch a film in which she appeared for 90 minutes. Thankfully, once the deaths start, you forget about the acting and enjoy the squidgy fun.
Once again Hollywood has implemented its latest scam, releasing Final Destination 5 in 2D and 3D versions. Thankfully, I've grown wise to this and, where there's a choice, generally choose the cheaper 2D version. Outside the opening and closing credits, there's little effective use made of 3D. I certainly didn't feel I'd missed out on much by seeing the 2D version, and I'd advise you to save yourself a few quid and do the same.
The whole success of the Final Destination films depends on whether you buy into its slightly daft central concept and ridiculous over-the-top death sequences. This is film number 5, so the chances are you will have made up your mind about this already. If you "get it", FD5 provides the guilty pleasure thrill. If you don't, nothing in this fifth outing will change your mind.
Final Destination 5
Director: Steven Quale
Running time: 92 minutes
© Copyright SWSt 2011
Summary: It's probably time the franchise reached its final destination