By Bo Rhodes
James Wong makes his feature film directorial debut in what will most likely be the end to a potentially great career. To say Final Destination is bad would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions. It is easily the Ishtar of the year 2000.
Final Destination starts with an oh-so-common high school trip to Paris. While on board the plane Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) has a mysterious premonition in which the aircraft explodes, leaving no survivors. In a serious case of over-emoting, Browning throws a hissy fit and screams about the doom and gloom that lies ahead. Seven people, including him, are ejected from the plane in the following commotion. As the plane takes off, Browning and friends watch in horror as the plane, unexpectedly, bursts into flames.
Slowly (very slowly) the survivors start to die and all seems hopeless. That is until Browning cleverly figures out that death has a master plan and that there is a pattern. Hey Scooby, get the gang! There’s a crime to solve!
This film has a very amateurish quality to it which most likely comes from Wong’s lack of directing experience. It would be equivalent to a movie company giving millions of dollars to a group of 16-year-olds and asking for a scary picture.
The glacial-pacing of the movie is utterly frustrating. The audience knows who is going to die yet Wong seems to take pleasure in dragging out the inevitable. Will he slip with the razor in his hand? Or with the nose-hair clippers? Oh wait, he’s going to be electrocuted. No? A pack of wild dogs might tear him to pieces while he’s on the toilet, and so on. The first time Wong pulls this little stunt it’s amusing, but the third, fourth and 15th time it is very, very annoying.
The black shadow that eerily passes by before a character meets their maker is about as frightening as Mr. Rogers. It’s assumed that the shadow is death, but it’s never really explained or justified.
The liberal doses of gore upon death are also completely unnecessary and only enhance the juvenile feel of the picture. Although, the opportunity to see a human being explode upon contact with a bus shouldn’t be passed up.
The supporting characters are equally weak. Clear (Ali Larter) is supposedly Browning’s love interest, but their relationship is never fully developed. Clear also has created a sculpture of him because–oh wait, the movie doesn’t explain that either. During an after-hours visit to the morgue, Browning and Clear meet the mortician (who happens to be the bus driver from a Backstreet Boys video) who promises, "[he’ll] see them real soon." They have nothing to worry about though because he’s never heard from again. The addition of the FBI, who are investigating Browning’s premonition, elevate the flick from the inane to the completely ridiculous.
Final Destination will ascend to the ranks of such great works as Evil Curve, Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity and Earth Girls are Easy. In other words, it will add to the ever-growing pile of crap on film that Hollywood pumps out. Final Destination opens on Mar. 17 and, God willing, should be out of theatres the following day.