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Final Destination 3
2006 - R - 92 Mins.
Director: James Wong
Producer: Glen Morgan, Craig Perry
Written By: Glen Morgan, James Wong
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ryan Merriman, Amanda Crew, Sam Easton
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.fd3movie.com/
   

Deciphering Death's Design
Death returns with a vengeance to stalk another group of teens in 'Final Destination 3,' starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The upcoming remake of 'Black Christmas', also directed by James Wong) and Ryan Merriman ('The Ring 2').

Following the format that has served the franchise well thus far, the film begins with a teen (Winstead) having a premonition of an accident about to occur (a roller-coaster literally flying off the tracks) and coaxing her friends to get off right before said accident occurs. The group is saved but some not for long as her premonition and subsequent actions have put a kink in Death's design. They were supposed to die on the roller-coaster and now Death has to finish the job. Shortly, the teens begin dying in a series of increasingly elaborate "accidents", ranging from becoming a human roasted marshmallow to crushed mincemeat, among other delicacies.

Let me get this out of the way right away: 'Final Destination 3' is pretty much only going to be enjoyed by fans of the first two films. Not only does it make repeated references to prior events, it gives fans what they expect but doesn't offer anything new for those not already willing to accept a premise that gets more outlandish every entry.

The film strains its already thin credibility here with the introduction of Death's plan and links to 9/11. In essence, there exist clues in pictures of the World Trade Center that it was going to be rammed into by planes hijacked by evil, heartless terrorists. The introduction of pictures with clues as to the future destiny of the characters at first provides a new twist with which filmmakers can play with but really nothing too pertinent or interesting ever becomes of the idea. It is introduced and given cursory discussion before being pretty much dropped as the film speeds through death after death. On top of that, it isn't even a new idea as films as far back as 'The Omen' (look for the remake, June 2006) have utilized the same basic idea. Other than this development, the film fails to bring anything new into the mythology surrounding the idea of destiny and Death's design.

It is also worth noting that the opening accident that propels the film forward is far less exciting than the brilliantly conceived and constructed pile-up that set the stage in part two. It even pales in comparison to the plane crash in the original as a result of what was likely necessary special effects that far too often look like just what they are: computer-generated images that fail to cohesively blend into the real world environment. The film also contains cliched character types with the football-playing jock, the two conceited and dumb as rocks cheerleaders, and the introverted Goth with psychotic tendencies, all played without an ounce of subtlety or discernible talent by a cast of unknowns who are sure to remain that way. The script doesn't help matters as it is mostly devoid of the cheeky dark humor that made the second worth seeing.

In spite of all this, the film still manages to be entertaining for those who know what they're getting themselves into. After the opening accident, the creativity and staging of the deaths is well-done and appropriately gory, playing on common phobias, themes, and locations in today's society. In fact, if it is gore you're looking for, this film is by far the goriest of the three films, sometimes brutal in the way Death deals with the unfortunate. The film also benefits from the best acting of the series thus far from its two leads. Both Merriman and Winstead create endearing and likable personalities without ever crossing over into cloying weepiness or annoying territory. Winstead gives the best performance of the three films thus far with her ability to alternate between dark and light moments, showing more screen presence and intelligence than A.J. Cook and Devon Sawa put forth in the two prior films.

'Final Destination 3' has its fair share of flaws but is still worth seeing for fans of a series unlikely to end anytime soon as long as writers keep thinking up ways in which to kill people and audiences keep going to see the fruits of their labor (This film opened with 19 million during its first weekend in release on a budget of 25 million).
 
Movie Guru Rating
Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental.
  3.5 out of 5 stars

 
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