“Final Destination 5” (2011)

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★★★☆☆

Think of this as more of a “4 + 2” than a true “3.”

This latest installment of the “Final Destination” franchise starts out very promising. The cast represents many stereotypes you’d like to see bumped off in colorful, gory, and creative ways. Including a Tom Cruise look-alike (and act-alike).

The initial set up is good. A bunch of management trainees going off for a team-building exercise. One person on the bus foresees them all dying – and that’s done pretty well – a super job of CGI on the bridge collapse. Then he wakes up, gets everyone off the bus before it goes over the side, and then the Grim Reaper (played by veteran actor Tony Todd) goes to work evening the score.

The first two make-up deaths are epic. The first one I didn’t see coming at all – I was expecting something completely different but they really thought it through and animated the hell out of it. It was hilarious. Yeah, it was something dying in a gruesome way, but the way it was presented was just plain funny. Well. To me, anyway.

The second death was almost as good as the first. But it was a little harder to buy. It was still funny, but it didn’t have that Rube Goldberg chain of events like the first death did.

At this point, they basically stopped trying. The deaths got easy to predict and lacked the attention to detail and humor of the first two. It got old in a hurry. Hence the “4 + 2” rating. The first half of the movie is a 4, the last half a 2. I give the second half a “2” because the acting and direction didn’t fall off even though the script did.

I don’t know if the writers lost interest or they ran out of money to do cool deaths or maybe it all ended up on the cutting room floor. Who knows? But with another 10 minutes of film and a little more work on the script this could have been a really great movie.

This is a good summer movie. Just don’t get too let down by the second half or the ending.