Last summer, the fourth “Final Destination” movie swapped a numeral for a definitive article, because producers figured the franchise had run its course. Then “The Final Destination” made $181 million worldwide, so this summer, we have another chapter, and the numbering system has been reinstated.
With airport, freeway, amusement park and racetrack exhausted, “Final Destination 5” has filled in the blank with “suspension bridge.”
That’s where our supposed hero (Nicholas D’Agosto, “Fired Up!”) convinces some cookie-cutter co-workers to get off the bus, because he’s just had a vision that the structure is about to go all River Kwai on them. Of course, it then does, and the unseen Grim Reaper spends the rest of the film getting them anyway, in methods seemingly invented via collaboration between Rube Goldberg and the Marquis de Sade.These five flicks — and you can bet there will be more to come — are critic-proof: Like the “Saw” series, either you like them or you hate them, and no amount of convincing is going to sway you to the other side.
Despite all their flaws — and admittedly, there are many — I happen to like them.
On the downside, you have stock characters that fill labels more than roles — i.e. Hot Girl, Token Black, etc. — essayed by actors of limited talents. Hardly anyone is likable, but that’s OK since none of them survive by the end credits. (Relax — that’s only a spoiler if you’ve never seen any of the previous four, which means you’re never going to watch the fifth, either.)
D’Agosto is as dull as his name is apostrophized; his “meh” presence is matched by a mopey, mousy Emma Bell, who was livelier in “Frozen” and season one of “The Walking Dead.” Briefly reprising his role as the sagelike coroner from all the chapters but the fourth is Tony Todd (TV’s “24”), and he’s like Laurence Olivier compared to the expendable kids.
On the upside, you have the death sequences, even if they lack the creativity, cleverness or intricacy of its predecessors. The highlights here involve a folding gymnast, a Lasik machine gone haywire and more acupuncture needles than are comfortable.
Director Steven Quale (“Aliens of the Deep”) and screenwriter Eric Heisserer (the remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”) save their only true surprise of the show for the last.
“Final Destination 5” is what it is.
I enjoyed it, even if, after 48 hours, I’ve mostly forgotten it.