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FINAL DESTINATION 2 ($28) proves the old adage that second helpings arenít as satisfying as the first. Personally, I really liked the original FINAL DESTINATION, and thought it was a really cool, reasonably intelligent fright flick from X-FILES alumnus James Wong and Glen Morgan. As for the sequel, it isnít quite as inventive as the first film and suffers from Hollywoodís preoccupation with turning any modestly successful horror movie into a formulaic franchise (perhaps that is why Wong and Morgan didnít take part). Of course, I do want to give credit to the sequel in the areas in which it deserves it- FINAL DESTINATION 2 shines in the areas of special effects, stunts and splatter; coming up with a number of creative and bloody deaths for the filmís cast of characters.

The plot of FINAL DESTINATION 2 trails on the events of the first film, opening on the anniversary of the day that flight 180 exploded, killing all but the handful of passengers that exited the plane, when one of them foresaw the disaster. In the sequel, teenager Kimberly Corman (A.J. Cook) sets out on a road trip with her friends to a spring break destination. Just before getting on the highway, Kimberly has a highly detailed premonition about a horrifying traffic accident, in which she, her friends and some of the people in the vehicles behind them are killed. Freaked out by her vision, Kimberly decides to block traffic to the on ramp, just as the fatal traffic accident begins on the highway ahead of them all. In saving herself and the others, Kimberly has upset "deathís design" and almost immediately, a series of grisly freak accidents begin claiming the lives of the those spared by the traffic accident. With nowhere else to turn, Kimberly seeks out Clear Rivers (Ali Larter), the only member of the flight 180 survivors, who has managed to stay alive, despite being continually stalked by death itself. The cast of FINAL DESTINATION 2 also features Michael Landes, David Paetkau, James Kirk, Lynda Boyd, Keegan Connor Tracy, Jonathan Cherry, T.C. Carson, Justina Machado and Tony Todd reprising his creepy little cameo from the first film.

New Line Home Entertainment has made FINAL DESTINATION 2 available on DVD as part of their Infinifilm Series in 1.85:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. As I have come to expect from New Line, the quality of this DVD is to die for. The image is wonderfully crisp and really finely detailed- offering virtually demonstration quality video throughout. Colors are highly saturated, with very natural looking flesh tones and absolutely no signs of chroma noise or bleeding (except for the characters). Blacks appear as pure as pitch, whites are clean and stable, plus contrast is uniformly excellent. The film element used for the transfer is pristine and displays very little by way of a noticeable grain structure. Digital compression artifacts are virtually absent from the presentation.

Featuring discrete 5.1/6.1 channel soundtracks in both the flavors of Dolby Digital and DTS, FINAL DESTINATION 2 is definitely a killer audio experience. While the subject matter may not appeal to every taste, this aggressively mixed track is slam bang amazing during the cataclysmic highway accident. Sound effects rush at the viewer and right through them during the high intensity moments, with the entire soundstage coming to life in a sonic storm. Although they are certain to impress the surround junkies with their efforts, the sound designers have also created a mix that maintains a cohesive sonic environment during the showcase sequences, as well as producing quietly creepy smaller moments. Dialogue reproduction is crisp and completely understandable, plus the actorsí voices have a distinctly natural quality. The bass channel is percussive and especially impressive during the filmís high impact showstopper. In comparing the two digital soundtracks, one will find that both offer demonstration quality material, although DTS does have a slight edge in providing warmth, dimensionality and more intensive bass. An English Dolby Surround track is also encoded onto the DVD.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVDís interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials contained on the DVD. This being an Infinifilm release, the viewer has the option of watching the movie in an interactive mode, in which supplements pertaining to a particular moment become available during the course of the film. Some of the supplements can be viewed standard fashion from outside of the movie and are accessible via the menu system. FINAL DESTINATION 2 features a running audio commentary with director David Elllis, producer Craig Perry and screenwriters Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, which is very interesting and gives a good deal of technical detail on how the film was made. A text based Fact Track is also included, which offers information in pop-up fashion throughout the course of the movie.

Up next are the featurettes. The Terror Gauge is a fourteen-minute program in which the reactions of various test subjects watching FINAL DESTINATION 2 are analyzed via scientific means. Cheating Death runs eighteen minutes and features a group of interviewees that relay their own near death experiences. Bits & Pieces is a half hour program that looks at the horror sub-genre of splatter movies, with its theatrical origins in Grand Guignol and its cinematic rise through the efforts of exploitation filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis. Also included on the DVD are five deleted scenes and scene extensions, which total about nine minutes of additional material. Two music videos, Middle of Nowhere by Blank Theory and Seven Days a Week by The Sounds, plus a theatrical trailer and the interactive Choose Your Fate game close out the supplements.

I found FINAL DESTINATION 2 to be a serviceable horror sequel that lacks the ingenuity of the original, but it does feature some great special effects and stunt work. However, if you like splatter movies with a grandiose scope and devoid of any sort of deeper meaning behind them, then you will probably love FINAL DESTINATION 2. As for the FINAL DESTINATION 2 DVD, New Line has produced another demonstration quality DVD; one with a solid compliment of supplemental materials.



Final Destination 2 (Infinifilm Edition) (2003)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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