Seems like every time I make an effort to meet Hollywood halfway, they slap me down. Last night I watched Final Destination 2, and it used up all my good will towards idiotic consumer entertainment product.
In this case, Flight 180 Part 2: The Pile-Up is a better title. Partly because they mention Flight 180 even more than the first movie did, but mostly because you watch the thing and can’t help thinking about piles. In both the flaming, irritated hemorrhoid sense, and the big pile of crap and cliches sense.
I have to admit I’m impressed, but only because they somehow managed to cram every single thing that’s bad about sequels into one movie. They completely abandon any notion of subtlety. Even worse, they spend so much time beating you over the head with the “rules” of the movie, only to abandon them towards the end. (Apparently two people can get killed simultaneously, out of order, as long as one of them is a star from the first movie who really, really wants to get out of this franchise).
The only thing I can say in the movie’s defense is that there are two pretty effective death scenes — indirect death by airbag, and garroting by flying barbed-wire fence. But even that they screwed up, by putting them back-to-back with absolutely no sense of pacing. Earlier, they make an attempt to emulate the Rube Goldberg-style death from the first movie, but blunder it on several counts: it happens too early in the movie to be satisfyingly tense or surprising. And since they’ve already done it, the overly-complicated set-up later in the movie, with gas leaks and PVP pipes and cigarettes and airbags, loses any sense of tension. Plus, any tension in the scene is lost because you can’t stop thinking, “Who the hell comes home from buying a computer, then immediately takes his shirt off and starts frying up fish sticks?”
You can’t even enjoy it as a stupid horror movie, because it’s so aggressively stupid, it drains all the horror out of it.
I know nothing about the behind-the-scenes goings-on of this franchise. But I have to wonder if the reason Morgan & Wong came back for the third movie is because they saw this one and realized, “maybe ours didn’t suck as bad as we’d thought.”