Reaper’s the real star in true ‘Final’ fashion

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Friday, August 12, 2011 12:01am
  • Life

Among its other attributes, “Final Destination 5” is a tremendous argument in favor of a jobs program involving infrastructure. Because let me tell you, according to this movie, stuff is falling apart at a lethal rate.

For instance, take that gravity-defying bridge spanning a dramatic gorge. You just know that when the employees of Presage Plus board a charter bus for a business retreat, that bridge is not going to survive their journey across.

Of course, because this is a “Final Destination” picture, this collapsing bridge is envisioned by one member of the team, Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto, from the underappreciated “Fired Up!”), who “sees” the disaster early and tells his colleagues to run the other direction, fast.

As in every other “Final Destination” movie, these survivors must then face the grim reality that they have “cheated death” and will die in horrible, convoluted ways over the next few days.

This is what the “Final Destination” audience wants and expects, and director Steven Quale (a past James Cameron associate) makes sure they get it, in 3-D, no less.

This franchise has always had a shrewd understanding of the mood of an opening-weekend crowd, which wants a communal experience delivered in a zany, sensational way.

Thus all the grotesquely outrageous forms of calamity. Yes, the audience cheers every kitchen-cutlery impaling and eyeball-squashing. That laughter is a gallows humor that comes less from moral decay and more from an appreciation of the film’s fatalistic rule that death is the one movie convention nobody gets around.

These films certainly teach you to appreciate each new situation as a potential calamity. Whether it’s the uneven parallel bars or the acupuncture table, virtually any circumstance you turn to can (and probably will) bring sudden death.

And a visit to the laser-eye surgeon is a particularly bad idea if you’ve just cheated death. I mention this in case the faint-hearted are looking for the right time to go to the lobby for popcorn.

The actors are fodder for the reaper, but at least this movie had the good sense to hire Courtney B. Vance as a cop on the case and David Koechner as the world’s worst boss.

Tony Todd nicely returns to his “FD” role as a doom-talking coroner who lays down the law for the panicked survivors.

Throw in a ridiculous butt-rock score by Brian Tyler and you’ve got yourself an installment that will not disappoint the faithful. Incidentally, this is supposed to be the final “Finale Destination,” but don’t exhale just yet. This series has cheated death before.

“Final Destination 5” 2 stars

The survivors of a bridge collapse are soon dying anyway, because they cheated death and must settle the scorecard, the usual set-up for films in this franchise. This 3-D extravaganza once again sets up elaborate methods for people to die, grotesque send-offs designed to elicit cheers from the opening-weekend crowd.

Rating: R, for violence, language

Opening: Friday August 12 at various area theaters

Showing: Alderwood Mall, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marsyville, Oak Tree, Pacific Place, Woodinville, Cascade Mall.

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