Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 60% (Critics) 54% (Audience)
Directed By: Steven Quale
Written By: Eric Heisserer, Jeffrey Reddick (characters)
Starring: Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Arlen Escarpeta and Tony Todd
Studio: Warner Brothers
Synopsis: FINAL DESTINATION 5 takes its now well-worn concept of killing photogenic 20-somethings in new and creative ways out for another spin. In this installment a group of employees on a bus headed for a corporate team building retreat avert certain death thanks to the prescient vision of one of their co-workers. Of course, Death being a huge dick can’t just chalk it up to the law of averages and decides that all the survivors still need to die.
It should come as no surprise that the majority of the principal actors in this movie are all terrible actors with the worst of the bunch being the male lead, Sam (played by Nicholas D’Agosto) and his love interest, Molly (played by Emma Bell). The full range of D’Agosto’s acting runs the gamut from intensely furrowed brow and worried furrowed brow. But compared to Bell he is Marlon Brando. Bell seems to have been slipped some sort of muscle relaxer because the chick is damn near sleepwalking through this entire movie even when her life is in danger.
The three exceptions to the bad acting rule in this movie came from a trio of veteran actors: David Koechner (Todd Packer from THE OFFICE) as the doofus boss of our doomed younger crowd, Courtney B. Vance as FBI Agent Block, and Tony Todd reprising his role as the creepily cryptic coroner (yay for alliteration!) whose only functions in these films seems to be to skulk in the background of crime scenes and funerals and to school the soon to be dead as to “The Rules” of cheating death. Of the three the only one that I felt bad for was Vance…this guy is a really good actor and its messed up to see him in a role in this type of movie. The part of Agent Block should have been played by someone like Laurence Hilton Jacobs or something; Vance is definitely too good for this type of flick. But I guess Courtney has to take whatever he can get that will allow him to keep Angela Bassett awash in real Indian hair weaves and Bowflex machines.
As for the movie itself; the only thing that a Final Destination movie has to accomplish is killing characters as gruesomely entertaining as possible and FINAL DESTINATION 5 only partly accomplishes that goal. There are laser beam attacks, death by Buddha statues, flying wrenches to the dome and a gymnastics mishap that is awesomely cringe worthy. That being said the movie itself began to wear on me (which is not good for a flick that clocks in at only around 90-something minutes). By the third death I had stopped laughing/being interested and it was most likely because I didn’t give a damn about anybody in this movie. The first FINAL DESTINATION (and even the second one to be fair) spent a good deal of time trying to give each character a personality that the audience could identify with. By doing that the audience then cared when Stifler got his dome split in the first movie and when Ali Larter got blowed up real good in the sequel. I also think the movie would have been better served to delve into the whole “kill or be killed” idea that by killing someone else in your place you can automatically get their remaining life as your own. Having the cast running around butchering people to save their own asses would have made for a more interesting flick I bet.
So as the movie reached its seeming conclusion and I was deciding in my head that this joint was a total disappointment, the filmmakers pulled a little bit of creative chicanery that was totally unexpected based on the stuff I had just watched on screen and that made me start rethinking just about everything in the movie from the wardrobes and props to the music and way the cast spoke. That one little twist gave me a greater appreciation for the movie. Sure the deaths were a mixed bag of entertaining and stupid, the acting was abysmal and the characters were woefully underdeveloped but that ending was pretty sweet. And it also helped bump up the grade I planned on giving it so that what was looking like a solid D movie became a film worthy of a bit of a higher grade. C