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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Final Destination 2 (2003)



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Final Destination 2 begins with a gruesome but spectacular traffic pile-up, but afterwards becomes more gruesome and less spectacular. It looks like it'll be a retread of the original at first -- thanks to a premonition, lives are saved, only to be threatened again by Rube Goldberg devices and death ex machinas -- but then turns out to be a fairly interesting exploration of the consequences of the events of the first film.

As with many slasher movies (and these films are slasher movies, never mind the lack of a physical slasher), they would be much improved without all the slashing. Using a series of deaths simultaneously as plot development in a thriller and a repository of cheap, sick shocks is not a synergetic combination. Worse, though, is the utter improbability of the contrivances "death" uses to ensnare its victims. Ok, so it's plausible that if a sinister, supernatural force is at work, it might be able to cause mechanical and electrical malfunctions at key inopportune times -- but half the accidental deaths that happen here aren't so freakish after all. Let's face it. If you store your bowling balls loose on the top shelf of a closet or stock emergency rooms with volitile explosives, you're probably asking for trouble.

Most bizarre is the ending, which asks us to believe that a supernatural force capable of shutting windows and air vents on its own, springing leaks in vehicles and causing gas to drip in exactly the spot where a pipe will carry it scores of feet away and a cigar to roll across the ground over to it cannot also prevent an unconscious drowning victim from being revived.

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