Final Destination 5 Review

We don’t always get to choose our own destiny.

It’s a rum state of affairs but our cards are often marked from birth, even if we can’t quite grasp this from our own bubble like vantage point.

Final Destination 5 seems to know its place in the world and, having accepted this fate, is happy to laugh at itself in the face of mortal danger.

More commonly known as audience fatigue in the cinematic plane films exist in.

Any film franchise that manages to spawn an offspring with the number five in the title knows the well travelled path it must follow.

I remember seeing the first Final Destination at the cinema nigh on a decade ago. The basic premise that you can’t cheat death seemed quite promising back then, as did the cast of A list teen actors and enjoyable if two dimensional thriller they came up with.

Yet, as these performers have fallen by the wayside, Final Destination has somehow cheated death.

I never took much interest in the films that followed, as the obvious nature of repeating this formula ad nauseum never really appealed to me.

In this respect, Final Destination 5 doesn’t disappoint.

The plot is exactly the same as the first film was all those moons ago. A bunch of teenage kids cheat death through one of them developing pretensions of Nostradamus, before death catches up with them in ever increasingly graphic ways.

At the centre of this is a permanently befuddled male lead who appears to have learnt his craft from watching Joey Tribbiani’s method acting classes on Friends.

I can only presume this blank guy was trying to work out his day rate by dividing that fat studio pay cheque of his by the hours he worked.

Still, part of the fun of Final Destination films seems to lie in the total apathy you feel for all of the one dimensional characters that populate the screen.

Save for the really hot girl who starts the film by taking off her shirt.

Which is kind of the point; for both a film where you know everyone’s going to die, it’s just a matter of how, as well as the reason said hot girl got cast in the first place.

At least Final Destination 5 plays on this ridiculous recipe it’s forbears served up by not pretending you should care about the characters involved, concentrating instead on intricate set pieces designed to impress with ever more convoluted ways for fate to catch up.

And this time, it’s in 3d.

So now all manner of deathly debris comes arcing towards you from the screen; be it human intestine topped mast tops, splintered fragments of lethal glass or just shattered remnants of bones.

In a sick kind of way, this is quite amusing at first. Like when you visit a theme park and push yourself to go on increasingly scarier rides to get the same kind of thrill from that first trip.

Predictably enough, this formula starts to wane around the ninth overly elaborate death; there’s only so much you can do with such a rigid formula.

And even if Final Destination 5 has managed to cheat death, it can’t escape it’s cinematic destiny.

Jonathan Campbell

Article first published as Film Review: Final Destination 5 on Technorati.

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Dates ‘n stuff

August 2011