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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 31, 2003

Sequel to 'Final Destination' proves accidents do happen

By Eleanor O'Sullivan
Asbury Park (N.J.) Press

FINAL DESTINATION 2 (Rated R for violence, nudity)


Ali Larter, A. J. Cook star as women desperately trying to cheat death in this hokey horror film aimed squarely at the teeny-bopper set. Directed by David R. Ellis, New Line Cinema, 100 minutes.

As gratuitously gruesome teeny-bopper flicks go, "Final Destination 2" is an improvement over last week's hideous "Darkness Falls."

But that is what's known as damning with faint praise.

"Final Destination 2" investigates the mind of college student Kimberly (A. J. Cook, "The Virgin Suicides "), who sees a horrific highway accident before it happens, tries to stop it from happening, and manages to save herself but not several friends driving with her back to school.

However, about a half dozen other drivers do survive because of the girl's intervention. Which brings her and the survivors together in a rather tedious series of rap sessions about the guilt of surviving. But the guilt disappears rapidly when the scenario deteriorates into a series of "and then there were none" vignettes.

One by one, the survivors pass on, in the most exploitative means. People are impaled by safety devices, strung high from trees, blown up, burned, etc., etc. Are we meant to be titillated by their particularly graphic demises?

Kimberly, whom Cook plays with a mixture of horror and resolve, is considerably shaken by these events, which she is helpless to prevent. She is given moral support by the cute officer called into the case (Michael Landes), and the tormented survivor of the first movie's rampant deaths, a woman named Clear Rivers. Is she any relation to Muddy Waters? Sorry, couldn't resist.

Anywho, Clear is portrayed by "Legally Blonde's" Ali Larter, who has the soft, sexy demeanor of Lisa Marie Presley and a no-nonsense attitude about death's ugly march.

Any movie with the title "Final Destination 2" (can there be a second part to finality?) would not seem to suggest many brains behind the scenes. However, at least the writers and director get off a few good visual puns and homages to celebrated directors, such as Val Lewton ("Cat People," "I Walked with a Zombie") and the king of B movies, Roger Corman. Other than that, "Final Destination 2" is teeny-bopper movie business as usual: instant gratification from very questionable means.

Rated R for violence, nudity.