Final Destination 5

Latest in series lacks compelling characters

Steven Quale, a second unit director on Avatar, knows how to make good use of 3-D effects. If you want to see gushers of blood and guts or the individual fragments of shattered glass or impossibly sharp knives or the edges of jagged metal pipes launched at you as if to impale themselves in vital parts, then he is the guy to call. But, truth be told, it is not Death that he’s trying to cheat with all his insane tricks during the latest installment of the Final Destination series, but narrative logic and character development, without which no one, not even Candyman (also a Destination vet) Tony Todd, can survive.

As the survivors of a horrific suspension bridge accident attempt to figure out how and why they were deemed worthy of their temporary reprieve, a huge (and rather risky) missed opportunity opens up. No one really cares about any of the blandly pretty walking deadheads (Nicholas D’Agosto from Fired Up! and Rocket Science assumes the role of the unwitting psychic visionary who leads everyone from the frying pan right to the gates of horror hell) awaiting their elaborately staged comeuppance, but a federal agent (Courtney B. Vance) starts asking — and then quickly stops — questions that could have made from a more grounded and thrilling movie.

What if Death had been re-imagined here as a terrorist in his (or her) approach to striking insane and irrational fear into the hearts and minds of the survivors? There might not have even been a need for 3-D effects for that kind of thrill ride. Grade: D-plus

Opens Aug. 12. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.
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