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'Final Destination 2'

Nowhere to go in 'Final Destination 2'

Friday, January 31, 2003

By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

In "Final Destination 2" there is no such thing as "lucky to be alive." If you cheat death, it will simply haunt you, stalk you and execute you at a later date -- by such methods as impalement (a favorite), dismemberment, beheading, explosion and a close encounter with a very large, heavy piece of glass.

 
 
MOVIE REVIEW

'Final Destination 2'

RATING: R for strong violent, gruesome accidents, language, drug content and some nudity (a girl flashes her breasts)

STARRING: A.J. Cook, Ali Larter

DIRECTOR: David R. Ellis

Critic's call:

   
 

Death, you see, never takes a holiday. That's what we learned in "Final Destination," a March 2000 movie so popular that it spawned an oxymoronic sequel: "Final Destination 2."

In the original, a high school student headed to Paris with his French class had a premonition that the plane was going to crash. He and his friends bolted and they were the only survivors of an explosion that claimed 287 lives. One by one, though, they all died in bizarre accidents -- except for one person, Clear Rivers (Ali Larter).

Now, it's been a year since the jet disaster and a girl named Kimberly (A.J. Cook) and her friends are heading for spring break in Daytona in a red SUV. But, stopping on the freeway on-ramp, she has a premonition of a horrendous, multiple-car accident that starts with logs breaking loose from a flatbed truck and ends in widespread fire and death. When Kimberly tries to explain all this to a state policeman (Michael Landes), an accident unfolds before their eyes and he ends up saving her life.

Now, they've cheated death and death proceeds to go after the drivers and passengers who would have died -- had Kimberly not prevented them from entering the highway. So, it's here-we-go-again time as the survivors try to figure out how to stay alive. Unlike the high schoolers in the original, these folks are a motley crew including mom and son, recent lottery winner, stoner, confident career gal, teacher.

"Final Destination 2" lacks the sheer novelty of the first film and the deaths seem even more gruesome and less inventive this time. It was directed by onetime stuntman and stunt coordinator David R. Ellis, who stages a couple of spectacular highway crashes and creates an ominous mood through such touches as a splotch of transmission fluid resembling blood, fog, a harrowing trip to the dentist's office and the sight of a man carrying a crate of artificial limbs.

Larter isn't the only original cast member returning; Tony Todd has a cameo, again, as a creepy undertaker. The sequel tries to take the death-has-a-design mandate to another level and it partially succeeds -- amid the R-rated language and carnage that includes a blackened limb being flung around like a piece of barbecued meat.

"Final Destination 2" is a far better horror movie than, say, "Darkness Falls," but a little of the thrill (not to mention teen star quotient) of the first is gone.


Barbara Vancheri can be reached at bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632.

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