Contrary to popular belief, I DO admit it when I'm wrong. Case in point: THE FINAL DESTINATION (made when nobody wanted to acknowledge "Part 4" of anything, even though now the trend has reversed and we've jumped right back to a number in the title). I said that the 3-D was pretty much the only good thing about it, and I stand by that. Tony Todd was out, the music gag wasn't inspired, the gimmick deaths were especially forced and contrived, and the film hideously abused the "reboot" device after investing us for much too long in a supposedly "definitive" sequence. All that and STILL no satisfying ending.
I don't think I was wrong about any of that at all. HOWEVER, when I reviewed the film in print in Video Watchdog, I declared "This series has nothing more to offer."
So why did I go see the fifth one anyway?
Two reasons. First, I was hungry for REAL 3-D action. And second? Mick LaSalle himself said that FINAL DESTINATION 5 was a better film than RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.
Okay, he didn't come right out and say that. But he undoubtedly gave it a higher rating. This I had to see for myself.
I was wrong.
Now, I'm NOT going to tell you that this was better than RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. How could it be? It's still the EXACT SAME STORY told in the first four films. Substitute "bridge collapse" for the preordained opening disaster and then let the Identikit take over.
And yet this is SO much better than the fourth one, and I can see why even Mick was so caught up in it. This is probably the best FD since the second one (which, until now, had the most gleeful "Road Runner" sense of sick fun to it), but alas, it's another one I'm not likely to see again, simply because it HAS to be seen in 3-D in order to work properly.
What makes 5 better than 4? All sorts of things. Tony Todd is back. The opening disaster just might be the best-orchestrated of the entire bunch. The opening titles are the best yet, as well. Sharp, crystal clear 3-D for a change, taking full advantage of gory remains, sharp objects and everything in between. And even though this is still (see above) the EXACT SAME STORY with a token nod to a new gimmick--remember how last time some guy tried to kill himself to break the chain only to find that he couldn't?--at least this time the film PLAYS IT STRAIGHT and never resorts to cheating! As a result, even the ENDING works (oh, does it ever)!
No, I don't want to see them push it with yet another one--it's only going to be a matter of time before they come up with something completely generic and disposable. But in the spirit of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," I happily recommend FINAL DESTINATION 5. On the big screen. In 3-D. Only.
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