Friday, August 26, 2011

Final Destination 5

Not So Flexible After All

Who would have thought that Final Destination could have spawned a franchise that is five films strong now over the last 11 years, each depending on what's essentially a very standard formula where a cast of relatively unknowns get put through the special effects paces, having their characters involved in one introductory tentpole death sequence twice with a premonition and the actual in which they escape from, followed by individual deaths through extremely rigged scenarios of coincidence designed by Death himself.

And please don't judge me when I say this - that I had thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of those sequences from its predecessors and continue enjoying those gory moments up until this film, not that I'm sick or deprived, but you have to salute the filmmakers ingenuity in coming up with these set pieces that get to crawl under your skin, and then some. It's an exercise in building anticipation, where one has to put out the obvious red herrings and little clues, some requiring more elaborate work in distracting your attention, while others being very explicit and quick to shock.

Touted as being shot in 3D, the filmmakers here have left no stone unturned nor missed any opportunities at any time to play up on the 3D gimmick. Right from the get go the opening credits scene consisted of objects being hurled toward you, with references of course to the tools of the trade used and exhibited in the franchise being responsible for some deaths in the series. Then there's the very bloody and in your face death sequences that's completely gory and bloody, it makes one blush when you're secretly rooting for the next death to be more gruesome than the previous one, with its dismemberment, skewering, and death through every means possible from crushes to hooks to falls from height all done toward the screen to maximise its 3D impact - even without watching this in 3D, you'll just about sense and experience the same, so you can save some money there. At times though the visual effects are found a little wanting, to think they can get away with shoddy green screen work, but then again the bulk of the budget probably went to spruce up the 3D moments.

Story wise, as mentioned, it's the formula of a bunch of young adults having cheated death thanks to the premonition of one, and death reclaiming their souls one by one, before someone in the team discovers a certain set pattern. There are some changes to the rules here that wasn't made known before, that one can substitute one's time for another's, that is, kill someone else to take your place in the sequence, and you get to live out your victim's lifespan. Which makes for a good laugh actually when you see how those some get their just desserts for scheming, and the finale here being a big surprise that's best kept under wraps in any review, but which will leave you wanting more and warrant a repeat viewing just so to spot any references (they were many) involving time and space. Fans of the series will probably deem this the mightiest of all its sequels.

Unfortunately the distributor here had opted for a bigger pie at the box office, and pared the film down from R21 to M18, though it's hardly noticeable except for the portion I suspect just before the end credits involving the montage reel, which was included as a sort of Thank You for the Support to fans who have stuck by the series, and now richly rewarded with being able to re-experience the earlier death designs in 3D, which was a little cheesy with its blatant sound effects and letterbox design to allow blood and gore to spill out through the sides for that 3D effect, but still fun nonetheless.

Strictly for its fans, and for those thirsting for a gory film to hit the screens. Anyone looking for strengths of story should look somewhere else. Final Destination 6, anyone?

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