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"Final Destination 5" Movie Review

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Published on Aug 11, 2011

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"Final Destination 5" surprised the heck out of me. Having exceeded my expectations, the fifth installment of the popular franchise comes with an unpredictable twist that makes the sequel one of the best "Final Destination" movies.

I'm not saying that this is Oscar quality. By all means no. Like most "Final Destination" films, the fifth movie is still saddled with amateurish acting paving the way to unintentionally funny scenes.

But there are genuinely laugh-out-loud moments in the movie. Besides the nervous laughter that each clever but over-the-top death scene elicits, audiences will warm up to some cast members escaping Death's vengeance.

The main crux of "Final Destination" movies is how our heroes cheat Death, at least initially. The first film showed us a group of people escaping death by a freak airplane accident; this time around it's about running away from a freak bridge construction accident.

Each "Final Destination" movie has a character who could foresee their grim future and is able to warn their friends before Death arrives. In "Final Destination 5," Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto) has a premonition in which he and most of his friends and co-workers headed for a corporate retreat, die in a horrific bridge collapse.

Before the accident happens, Sam is able to frantically usher as many of his colleagues to safety including his friend, Peter (Miles Fisher), and girlfriend, Molly (Emma Bell). But Death doesn't like to be cheated, and soon, the ill-fated group must find a way to escape their fatal fate.

Being billed as the first "Final Destination" movie to be projected on IMAX 3D screens, viewers will be treated to larger-than-life gore carefully executed by director Steven Quale. Making his feature film directing debut, Quale, a longtime James Cameron collaborator, delivers a sequel with above-average production values.

The bridge collapsing scene featuring the series' signature chain reaction style kills is bigger and better than all of the "Final Destination" sequels. Even though most of the death scenes are ridiculously (but intentionally) cartoonish, you will still cover your eyes in quasi-terror.

My favorite among the cast is P.J. Byrne as Isaac, the ladies man of the group. The comedian, who stole scenes in the recent comedy "Horrible Bosses" as the barfly who would do anything for money, is the much-needed comic relief of the movie. Byrne and fellow comedian David Koechner, who appears as the group's boss, elevate the fifth installment.

The addition of Courtney B. Vance as Agent Block is also interesting. For the first time in a "Final Destination" movie, guilt enters the picture because the federal agent makes the characters think about the consequences of their actions.

After the screening, I found myself keenly aware of my surroundings. Having watched a violent film about consequences and the death and mayhem that follows made me paranoid about my environment.

"Final Destination 5" had that effect on me. Too bad some of the lines written by scriptwriter Eric Heisserer (the upcoming "The Thing" remake; 2010's "A Nightmare on Elm Street") are hokey, delivered by overacting actors. Fisher, who's supposed to bring rage and pathos after experiencing sorrow, delivers an annoying and whiny performance. It doesn't help that the actor looks, talk, and acts like Tom Cruise.

But the inclusion of franchise veteran Tony Todd is inspired. You know him as "Candyman" and you may have seen him in previous "Final Destination" movies as Bludsworth, the man who mysteriously knows too much.

"Final Destination 5" takes the franchise to full circle but I doubt if this will be the final film. As long as we keep watching the sequels, Death will always appear. But at least in "Final Destination 5," he's a bit smarter and sharper in IMAX 3D of course.

RATING: "FINAL DESTINATION 5" GETS 2 ½ KISSES

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