Final Destination 2 (2003)
Director: David R. Ellis
Kim (Cook) and her buds are driving to Daytona Beach for some sex, dope and fun. But when Kim has a premonition about a car pile up, she manages to avoid the disaster when it really happens, therefore altering fate, saving herself and a group of strangers’ lives. That sets the peeved and unseen "Angel of Death" into motion and he starts checking the RIP checklist in gory and groovy ways. Death is okay in my book. He knows how to CLEAN HOUSE!
When I go to my local strip club (or "Gentlemen’s Club" as I like to call it), I know exactly what to expect. A free drink every other night, a handjob after lap dance #3 and my table on the edge of the stage for that oh-so special view of womanhood in all of its glory. Day or night, every time I go there, I get the same service and there’s a certain comfort in knowing what’s to come when I stroll in drunk off my ass, acting like a jerk-off. "Final Destination 2" is very akin to that Gentlemen’s Club.
If you’ve seen the first "Final Destination", you’ll see where this sequel is headed from frame one. It's pretty much the same game here minus the chilling atmosphere which the original wore on its sleeve (this sequel was mostly shot in the daytime and that toned down the “brrr” factor). On the upside, this movie was not really about getting under one’s skin, it was about putting out unadulterated fun through circumstantial humor and death sequences that had me howling like a wolf with his wolf dick stuck in a car door.
The physical action freakin' bowled me over, starting with the opening car wreck which has to be "hands down" one of the most impressive car mashes in the history of film. This jacked-up sequel followed the pile up with a slew of relentless, imaginative “human disposal” set pieces that pushed the envelope as far as possible. Every time I’d think to myself: “No way, they’re not going to go that far”, they would and pleasurably smack me around silly in the process. I have no shame when I say that I was this flick’s beeyatch. I was wiggling in my seat in anticipation, laughing out loud, squinting my eyes and slapping my knee in the purest of “fun times” mode.
On the downside, character-wise, I didn’t give two shits about most of the players here. In the first entry, the victims were a group of friends that we got to know to various degrees throughout. Here, they were random strangers with stereotypes as personalities and the words “victim” carved on their respective asses. But they were bearable and expired so damn well. Then there was the Tony Todd character returning once more to stick out like a sore clit. Why didn’t they expand his character? Who is this freaking guy anyways? Get rid of him for Part 3 or do something with the role already! This "aloof" shite has gone too far. Lastly, I was confused at times when it came to figuring out the intricacies of Death’s design. What a brain numb! I can’t say I fully “get it” yet.
In the end, "Final Destination 2" more than compensated for its shortcomings via its excessive, suspenseful and insane kills, a quick pace, a great looking lead in “puppy dog eyed” A.J. Cook, the return of Ali “hottie” Larter, its clever ties to the first film and a sly sense of humor which, at times, almost bordered on parody. This one had "rollercoaster" written in blood all over it and for me it was a great way to start the day. I’m in a good mood; I’m checking for the signs and am ready to attack the world. Thank you Final Destination 2! Is Death really coming? Is it really? BRING IT ON!
Since the gory murders are basically the reason to see this dish, I won’t give them away here. I will say that they’re "out there" and very graphic. YIPPEE!
A.J. Cook (Kim) was very credible as the lead girl with death on her tail; she hit all the right emotional notes and was a cutie to boot. Michael Landes (Thomas) gives a low key and sympathetic show. I couldn’t help but like the guy. Ali Larter (Clear) did what she could with the sometimes tacky dialogue she had to spit out. She came out of this looking decent. Jonathan Cherry (Rory) stole the show in my opinion as the coke-loving, porn-loving bad boy. He was very natural and likeable.
T & A
We get a nice tit shot early on (thank you, much appreciated) and the chicks get some blonde dude shirtless.
Ellis showed much pizzazz via the kill scenes, building the right amount of momentum and delivering the gory punch lines with balls. He also showed touches of style here and there via slow motion, quick zooms and gnarly scene transitions. I would’ve like more horror-inclined atmosphere, but hey, you can’t have everything in death. Bang on!
We get some solid pop/rock songs and one hip-hop tune. The score by Shirley Walker gets the job done.
Even though I gave the original "Final Destination" the same rating as this sequel, on paper, the first film is a better one. It had a creepier mood, the formula was novel then, the screenplay was tighter and the characters were more engaging. But this sequel took two aspects from the first one, being “the kills” and “the humor”, and ran with them as far and fast as it could to deliver one hell of an excessive and highly entertaining piece of body count candy. This one had me smiling like Corey Feldman getting a whipping from Corey Haim….on cocaine and that, my undead friends, can take you a long way in the circus that we call life. Check it out; forget real life and HAVE A GOOD TIME! Now where’s Death already? I’ve seen the signs, avoided the grave more than I should. Where you at bitch? COME ON! I’m right here! I’m waiting! I dare you to take me out! DO IT!
One of the officers in this piece was named Sheriff Perry; a nod to producer Craig Perry, no doubt.
The film was shot in Vancouver BC.