Film Reviews

FINAL DESTINATION 3

By • Feb 10th, 2006 •

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QUOTE: I’m a fan. The guys in the audience shouted at the clever, cruel deaths: “Nice!”

What do I like about the ‘Final Destination’ movies? They fly in the face of the established supernatural theory that if you escape death you are blessed. Or, likewise, if you have an NDE (a near-death experience) and Jesus tells you “Go back. You have a mission,” somehow you are special. Most people I have read about who had NDE’s usually come back and just continue their lives, disappointing Jesus and avoiding their “mission.”

You never hear of NDEers walking the Earth doing good like Kwai Chang Caine.

With the ‘Final Destination’ movies, the “freak accident” theme is the star and with FD3 the bar is raised once again with clever and cruel deaths by Death. And some nudity! Death is everywhere! Who can escape Death? Death is not amused if you somehow avoid getting on the plane (FD1) or circumvent a freeway accident (FD2). In FD3, it’s a roller coaster ride.

I live in Las Vegas, where there are four roller coasters on “The Strip.” The Sahara Hotel & Casino’s has “Speed,” a ride that is 1,365 feet long and lasts 45 seconds. New York, New York has “Manhattan Express.” It is the biggest coaster on The Strip. The track is 4,777 ft., goes 67 miles per hour, and lasts two minutes 45 seconds. Circus Circus’s Adventuredome has the “Canyon Blaster,” the only indoor double-loop coaster. The ride has a top speed of 55mph over a track that is 2,000 feet long. The ride is one minute forty five seconds. The Stratosphere Tower has the “High Roller” coaster. It sits 900 feet above the ground with a maximum speed of 30mph with a thirty-foot drop. And finally, there is “The Desperado” at Buffalo Bills in Primm, Nevada. The Desperado is over a mile long with a 5,843-foot track. The maximum height is 225 feet with the first drop at a 55-degree angle. The coaster reaches a top speed of 80 mph.

This time, high school senior WendyChristenson (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is hesitant to get on a roller coaster with her friends. She gets a sudden premonition there will be an accident. She sees the accident happening. It is quite exciting, executed well, and foretells for us what kind of gruesome mischief will follow. It’ll be ugly, messy, and no one will survive. Screaming, Wendy jumps off, leaving her boyfriend on the ride. The mayhem causes some of her friends, and her sister, to jump off with her.

Figuring out that the digital photos she took are clues to the deaths to follow, Wendy and a friend, Kevin Fischer (Ryan Merriman), try to warn those who got off. Sure, Kevin did some research on the Internet, but no one has found out a way to cheat death. Why not try some voodoo or at least a ritual sacrifice? How about a scapegoat? It worked for the ancient Hebrews.

All the surviving teenagers ignore Wendy and Kevin as grief stricken kooks . The first two girls get trapped in tanning beds. Athlete Lewis Romero (Texas Battle) is the only “survivor” with a strong personality of defiance. Home Depot outcast “survivor” Ian (Kris Lemche) cleverly posits that if they somehow disrupt the order, they will outsmart Death. Ian has another good idea. If the last person on the list – Death has a sense of order and likes to kill sequentially – voluntarily dies, that will end the series of deaths. Wendy, whose roller coaster seating order puts her last, disagrees. So, instead, the deaths quickly proceed.

While Winstead and Merriman are bland teenagers, the real star is the imagination of the screenwriters, Glen Morgan (who co-wrote FD1) and James Wong (who co-wrote FD1 and FD3 and directed FD1 and FD3).

Of course, what made FD1 so pleasurable was the shock of the sudden, unexpected ending. We are used to it now, but still, FD3 delivers. It’s not for the GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK crowd – let them see THE PINK PANTHER on opening weekend, but the fans will guarantee there will be a FD4. Morgan & Wong: How about some really smart teens who attempt to outwit The Grim Reaper? (Oh, wait a minute, haven’t they done that already…?)

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