Final Destination 2 (2003)
Main cast: Ali Larter (Clear Rivers), AJ Cook (Kimberly Corman), Michael Landes (Officer Thomas Burke), Terrence "TC" Carson (Eugene Dix), Jonathan Cherry (Rory), Keegan Connor Tracy (Kat), Sarah Carter (Shania), Lynda Boyd (Nora Carpenter), David Paetkau (Evan Lewis), James N Kirk (Tim Carpenter), Tony Todd (Mr Bludworth), Justina Machado (Isabella Hudson), Alex Rae (Dano), Shaun Sipos (Frankie), and Andrew Airlie (Mr Corman)
Director: David R Ellis
Okay, everyone knows that sequels rarely stand up to the original movie. It's like a Cosmic Rule. I walk into the theatre to watch this one for two reasons. One, I'm not really in the mood for heavy dramas. I have sixteen heavy dramas waiting to be watched at home. I want some harmless fun for the weekend. Two, I want to watch that cutie-pie Michael Landes in action. Yes, I actually loved Special Unit 2 when it was on TV, I have no taste, I admit it.
However, unlike the original movie, this movie seems to be operating mostly on autopilot. The original movie has a cheerfully macabre overtone to its intricate disembowelments and decapitations of its cast and it balances atmosphere and gore very well. The original drives fear in me so that I actually peer carefully around the house to pick up stray marbles and dry up wet spots on the floor so that nobody gets any untoward accidents. The original movie should be screened as a public service announcement on household care and safety if you ask me.
But in Final Destination 2, all I get is gore and more gore without much intelligent dark humor to make it palatable. This time around, a teenaged girl named Kimberly Corman is driving on the road when she experiences a premonition. A truck carrying heavy logs rather carelessly will cause a huge and gory pile-up - one I am subjected to in full-color heads-flying torso-decapitation glory. There is very little to be cheerful about unless you have a thing for plastic heads getting soaked in fake blood flying across the screen. She stops her car just minutes before the accident really happens. Alas, while her friends die anyway, she and the cop, Thomas Burke, as well as several other people escape death. And as one by one these survivors begin to die, they too learn, like the cast in the original movie, that nothing is like Death getting peeved over his Grand Scheme thwarted by some psychic bimbo.
Kimberley even brings in the sole survivor from the original movie, Clear Rivers. Tony Todd makes a five second appearance, adding this movie to his list of embarrassing career moves (although nothing could top his guest appearance on the Charmed TV series, surely).
The death scenes of this movie are more intricate than those in the original movie, but these scenes are gory rather than heartstopping. Instead of letting me appreciate the irony of a woman killed thanks to an airbag, the movie has a news segment spelling it to me: "See, we are being ironic, so laugh, you fools, laugh!" Um, no thanks. Where the original movie quickly focuses on the aftermaths of a decapitation, this movie focuses on the graphic decapitation-cum-disembowelment before zooming on to the next death scene. Worse, there is really nothing connecting these characters together to make me feel for them. The best, funniest characters die too early, making this movie a largely humorless affair of gore and more gore. Unless your idea of humor is the mutilation of the nipple of a corpse or a decapitated barbecued hand landing on your plate, then you'll knock yourself out with this one.
Much thought has gone to the original, making it a good movie worthy of cult status. This one however feels like it is cobbled together over the weekend using cheap plastic hands and heads borrowed from the Tales From The Crypt set.
All in all, I'd suggest renting this on video rather than buying the DVD or video. Or if you haven't seen the original, get that one instead. This movie is a sequel in every clichéd sense of the word: inferior and crappy and totally unworthy to carry on the legacy of the original movie.
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