Starring: A.J. Cook, Ali Larter, Michael Landes, Tony Todd Written by: Jeffrey Reddick, J. Mackye Gruber Directed by: David R. Ellis
The Story: The one thing about some movie sequels that can sometimes be a bad thing is when they don't really do anything different with the premise. Lets take the 8 billion Friday the 13th movies as an example. They're all pretty much alike. Stupid kids go to Stupid Camp Crystal Lake, Stupid Kids get high, drunk and have sex, Jason shows up and kills Stupid Kids in all kinds of gory, crazy ways. Without even watching those movies that's the basic plot to all of them. Hell, Even the last one (so far) Jason X had that SAME premise, and it was (gasp) in Space!
And so it is with Final Destination II. It has the same premise as the first movie. In the first one a High School student has a premonition about the airplane he and his classmates are boarding. He thinks the plane is going to blow up on takeoff, killing everyone. He manages to get several of his friends off of the plane, and as soon as it does take off....BOOM! Practically the entire senior class is wiped out! But the problem is Death has a schedule. When the people that got off of the plane didn't die, it threw Death's plans into the bin. So Death had to make up for lost time. It stalked the survivors and they get killed in freakish mishaps one by one. Well, Droogies, that's the same plot for this flick, practically. Kim Corman and three of her best friends are taking a road trip. Kim has a premonition of a huge pile up on the interstate where a lot of people bite the dust....including herself and her friends. Frightened by this vision Kim won't move her car off of the on-ramp, blocking traffic. Just when State Trooper Thomas Burke pulls up Kim's vehicle to see what's wrong the accident occurs. Many people get crushed and Burke manages to pull Kim away just as her truck is hit by an oncoming out-of-control vehicle and her friends are killed. But now some of the people that were stuck behind Kim on the on ramp are alive when they should have died in the accident. Death has to go a' stalkin' again.
Now that's so similar to the first movie I'm sure the script practically wrote itself! That's not really a bad thing. Face it, my droogies, you don't go rent a movie like this expecting some kind of serious plot. You rent it to see people get killed in some fantastic, improbable fashion. Period. I'm sure that any of us could sit down and write a list of million plot holes for this flick, but why bother? You know why you watched it....you wanted to see the characters get smashed, burned, impaled and disemboweled in crazy accidents.
Kim though has a leg up, compared to the characters in the last movie. She realizes that Death is gonna come after her. (Its helpful that she went to the same school as the characters from the last movie, and that those events took place a year prior.). Officer Burke starts believing Kim's crazy ideas when the first victim...I mean, survivor gets wiped out, a slacker named Evan Lewis. This guy even had a reason to live....he had just hit the lottery. Too bad he got his hand stuck in the sink, while fishing a ring out of the drain. Because then the food he was cooking set fire to his apartment. And then after making a narrow escape the fire escape ladder falls on him. I'm not making that up, folks, that's what happens. Which really raises the only question about the premise that I think needs questioning....why is Death killing these people in these complicated Snidely Whiplash-like-convoluted ways? I mean, if Death is some kind of intelligent force (it has a freakin' schedule, dammit) then there are a ridiculous amount of ways to snuff a person without having a pool ball hit a mouse trap, get flung into the air knocking loose a rope holding up a kayak that will swing violently and impale someone. (That is one of Death's traps in this movie!) Heck, I knew a guy that just [unwrite]in' dropped dead! No crap, folks, he just died watching TV one night and he was only a few years older than me! And lets be real....how many people out there have ever came close to dying but didn't because of sheer dumb luck? They always tell you if you're numbers up, its up. I don't think the Grim Reaper is going to bother to torture you first by setting up elaborate ways to get you killed. I think he'll just be like "Time for your Heart Attack!" and BAM!
Still Kim thinks she can outrun the Reaper, so she gets the other survivors together from her premonition with Burke and they plan to look out for each other. She also gets Clear Rivers, a character from the first movie to help out. Yep, that's the chick's name, Clear Rivers. I haven't seen the 1st movie in a while, but she was the lone survivor apparently. Clear has herself locked away in a sanitarium to keep Death from getting to her. Kim visits her for advice on how to deal with this threat, which I thought was chuckle worthy. I was all like "Bitch! She's in a nuthouse! Why are you asking her?". Funny thing is Clear told her if she's lucky she'll get a room in there with her to stay safe. Which is probably true...but strange....the nurse even tells Kim that Clear is in there on her own volition. She hasn't been committed. She just thinks that's the only place Death can't get to her. (Huh? In an asylum? Considering the elaborate ways Death has been putting the smack-down on these people you'd think an asylum would be like trying to stay safe from mosquitoes in a swamp)
Another returnee from the first film is Tony Todd as the creepy mortician. He can only give the advice that only new life can stop death. How he knows all of this I can't fathom.....I guess he's this movies equivalent of the All Knowing Magical Wino from Killjoy. But this at least gives the survivors something to do. They figure that the pregnant woman from the premonition, Isabella, must live to give birth. The birth of her baby is supposed to invalidate Death's list so all of them get off of it with a "clean slate". Works for me, I guess. The only problem I had with it was why wouldn't Death just go after Isabella first? I mean, if Death is acting to a plan, then Death must know that the baby being born will screw stuff up more. Call me crazy, but if I were Death, I'd smoke the pregnant chick first and then get the others. But I didn't write this movie. The person that did decided to add in the fact that Death is working up its list backwards. There's a half assed explanation for this, too. All of the survivors recall a time in the past where they would have died in another circumstance but sheer dumb luck saved them. I don't think this was really needed for the script, but what the hell. If I'm going to buy that the supernatural force of Death can't kill a couple of people why not believe the rest of it?
As it turns out, the birth of the child isn't what the mortician meant by a new life. Kim realizes this....when everyone else but Burke is dead...and figures out it must mean that she must die clinically and then be resuscitated thus getting a new life. Now, that's contrived, and a bit frustrating. Isn't that really just a USED life, not a NEW one? Ah well, who cares....at least it helped to end the movie.
As with the first movie, one cool thing is Death is not personified...there's no figure in black cloak with a scythe around. Death just comes around in a sneaky way and starts whacking people. That at least made it different from other "Watch 'em die" movies.
Best Lines: “I don't want to die!” -Nora just before she bites the dust. Its not the most dramatic line of the movie, but I found it ironic because five minutes before Nora was telling Kim how she isn't afraid to die because she has nothing to live for.
Are you kidding me?
1.) Kim doesn't seem as freaked out as one would expect shortly after her friends are killed. Most people would be on some serious medication after watching their three best friends get killed right in front of them. I damn sure would be...especially if I had a vision of them dying 2 minutes before it happened.
2.) Thank you Mr. Exposition Soul Brother. Eugene, (T.C. Carter, the only black person in the movie) practically goes over the entire story of the first movie to the other survivors in a clunky way. Its set up so that you know its only for the benefit of people who haven't seen the first movie. Too bad we all know that Eugene is a dead man. You practically know that everyone but Kim and the hunky State trooper are toast, but hell, Eugene is black. Its a horror movie. He should have just shot himself at the beginning.
3.) Speaking of Eugene shooting himself...he actually tries to! And all six bullets are duds! Everyone in the room is in disbelief that this could happen. So am I. If Death wants him dead, why not just let him shoot himself? Was Death like "Aw, Hell No! I've spent all day concocting this unlikely scenario where you die at the end! I'm not gonna let you shoot yourself! Then I'd have wasted a whole day figuring out convoluted plots to kill you!"?
4.) Evan has won the lottery for 250,000 bucks. He's living in a real rat hole, too. You'd think the first thing he'd do is move out of that dump.
5.) What exactly does Kim expect Clear to do? When she visits clear in the asylum she leaves in a huff, calling Clear a coward for not helping her. (eventually Clear does agree to help, but that's besides the point) First of all, Kim, she's in an asylum. I don't know about you, but people in an insane asylum are the last mutha f***a's on my list of people to ask for help from in a life and death situation. Kim doesn't know if Clear is really insane or not, so you can't use the fact that Clear isn't nuts to defend this. Also, how is Clear paying for this? She must have a great insurance policy. One that allows her to stay indefinitely in a psychiatric hospital even though she's not crazy.
6.) Nice of the doctor to leave Kim's Bra on while trying to resuscitate her with the shock thingies. Reminds me of Flat liners. Remember that? Whenever someone else was being shocked they were topless, but when Julia Roberts character was being shocked she had a bra on. Ruins the little bit of suspension of disbelief you might have.
7.) Okay, This has been bugging me for awhile. Evan begins his scheduled meeting with the hereafter by a chain of events starting with his hand being stuck in a drain. Has ANYONE....I mean anyone reading this EVER had their hand stuck in a kitchen sink drain? You see it a lot on sitcoms, but outside of Lucy, Ralph Cramden or Al Bundy, have any real people ever had this happen? I can't recall the last time my hand was stuck in anything I couldn't recover it from and I'm clumsy!
SEX AND NUDITY: None.
Considering the ludicrous amount of ways people can die, why would death need to come up with elaborate plans to smite anyone? And why would death give you clues?
Burke uses his police resources to find out that the white van belongs to Isabella. And the record shows up on his computer with a photo. Now, yeah it could be her drivers license photo, but man I hope it ain't. Few people would even let a photo like that be taken of them for their license. There's no dialogue to indicate that Isabella has ever, ever been in trouble with the law, so how does the police computer find a photo of her...an embarrassing one at that?
Kim awakens at night to see the shadows from a tree outside of her window cast on her ceilings. The shadows clearly form 2 skeletal hands grasping...and I mean clearly. There's no way that those were just the branches of the tree from Kim's point of view. If I saw that there's no way I'd sleep again that night. I'd be too busy cutting down that damned tree to make sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me.
Rory, the drug addict guy sees the shape of a "man with hooks" in some shadows. This occurs when all of the survivors decide to band together for mutual protection from death. Well, all except for Nora and Eugene. Instantly the others figure that Nora and Eugene are in danger. How? "I see a man with hooks" being screamed by a cokehead aren't the best friggin' clues I can think of. Its not like he said "I see a man with hooks killing Nora!". Rory could have just said "I see a dog with a top hat on!". Its the same thing. From the character's point of view it means nothing!
The Final Judgment: Despite the fact that a lot of this movie can be crushed by the sheer idea that Death can be thwarted by mere mortals, and despite the fact that its a carbon copy of the original in so many ways, the Infernal Demons grant it 3 devil heads. Why? Because if you shut off your brain and just enjoy it, its not that bad. No, it doesn't make a lot of sense and no, its not the best movies ever made. But its entertaining enough for a lazy day when all you want is something to watch. Well, everyone has to go when its time to go, they say. Man, I feel like some Blue Oyster Cult now...don't fear the reaper.