(2003) dir. David R. Ellis
Having Enjoyed the original Final Destination (2000) so well, I felt moderately compelled to watch its half-assed sequel, despite suspecting that it was likely nowhere as interesting, clever, or funny. Still, I harbored a moderate hope, despite the fact that most of the principals, including star Devon Sawa and director James Wong, had nothing to do with the film.
The idea of this film has tons of potential: after surviving a freak accident, survivors are doomed to perish in some complex system of deadly “accidents,” ruled over by a fate or death that is never physically represented, and though somewhat personfied theoretically, is as abstract as the concept of “fatalism” or “death”. The film’s attitude toward this concept is largely comical and morbid. At its best, the film depicts characters in heightened states of paranoia at the entire world or physical objects, all crazed, lugubrious situations that could ultimately lead to their deaths.
Set one year after the events of the original, the characters of this film, who escape death in a gruesome, highly-choreographed freeway pile-up, are already aware of the scenario that they are in. The film wastes (spends) no time setting them with as character development or narrative, but rather winds them up and lets them go. For the viewer, this means that the film hits the ground running (and assuming you are familiar with the first film, the filmmakers guess that you don’t need any situating in the new narrative), but fails to build much emotional connection to the characters or even really ground any of the clever theoretical ideas that are embedded in the scenario.
So, ultimately, this is much less of a film than the original (unsurprisingly), but still has some amusing points about it. I still like the fact that death, though acting on the protagonists, is still pretty much unpersonified. When one of the characters starts screaming about how he controls his own fate, and then is proved wrong, not by some figure of death, but by circumstance, it is easy to see that there is a lot more potential here than is realized. There is a lot more room for cleverness and philosophical posturing than is tapped into. But, it’s still moderately fun.
I will continue to have a soft spot for the original.