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Final Destination was a moderate hit when it was released and, as is the trend these days, was shortly thereafter earmarked for a sequel. Final Destination 2 had very little going for it. From the very beginning, it seemed to be a very unnecessary sequel that couldn't possibly add anything more to the already thin universe the first had created. Fortunately for us, though, the creators of this sequel understood the limitations and threw all caution out the window. What is left is a fun, albeit perverse, sequel that spends less time trying to explain itself and more time killing off its characters in interesting ways.

Final Destination 2
It has been a year since the terrifying disaster of flight 180 and the discussion of what caused the strange deaths of those that escaped the crash lingers on. On this anniversary of the flight, Kimberly Corman (A.J. Cook) and her friends are disembarking on a Spring Break road trip. However, Kimberly is about to experience the unthinkable.  In a vision that is harrowing to watch, the audience is treated to the most gruesome and realistic highway pileup ever committed to film. Anyone who is already afraid of the dangers of being on the road would do well to cover their eyes during some of this scene.  

As with Alex Browning in the first film, Kimberly is only experiencing a vision of what is about to happen. It is up to her to try to stop the lives of innocent people around her from coming to an end on that road. She decides to stop traffic from merging onto the highway and, in doing so, allows another group of people to cheat death. Among this colorful collection of characters is Office Thomas Burke (Michael Landes) who becomes the first to believe Kimberly and becomes her partner in crime (so to speak) as she begins the race to try to understand deaths design and how to bring the process to an end.  As in the first movie, of course, those who cheated death begin to die in creative, unexpected and gruesome ways.

The plot here is so very simple that it only works to the movie’s benefit that it is not always the focus. The clear reason individuals go to see a Final Destination film is obviously the death sequences. I am happy to say this film delivers in spades. The deaths here are harrowing and gruesome and every bit as imaginative as the first. All the actors here are above decent and add a strange bit of credibility to the ridiculousness of the film. The direction in the film is great and is ingenious in the tactics used to make sure even those who want to turn away at the gruesome moments are forced to share in some of the gory glory.

Through the film we see the return of a single character from the first film. Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) has locked herself away in a padded room to keep herself safe from death. Kimberly convinces Clear to help stop this new chain of events.  Along the way, we also learn about Alex Browning’s (Devon Sawa in the first film) ultimate fate. All in all, this film does an admirable job of building some suspense while not taking itself too seriously. Final Destination 2 also comes up with a clever way to tie itself to the first. This is a decent, fun follow up that does not really add anything to the mix but should be an enjoyable viewing for any fan of the first.

Final Destination 2
The video transfer here is extraordinary. The movie is presented in 1.85 anamorphic widescreen on one side and fullscreen on the other (watch the widescreen, of course). The colors are astoundingly vibrant; there is no evidence of any edge enhancement, dust or scratches on the source, or any compression artifacts. In fine New Line Infinifilm tradition, this is a near reference quality picture.

In addition to a supreme picture, the Final Destination 2 DVD comes with a choice of two impressive audio tracks. Both the Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround and the DTS ES 6.1 tracks are a joy to behold.  The highway pileup scene alone will rock your surround system and engulf you entirely in the horror. Dialogue is definitely crisp, the soundtrack is present from all sides and the rest of the movie's tense scenes give your system a work out. If provided the choice, I would recommend the DTS track as it is more percussive and tad bit clearer. A Dolby Digital Stereo Surround track is also available.

Final Destination 2
Infinifilm is a mixed blessing. I still do not know if I am sold on it. For those who have never experienced a DVD released under New Line’s Infinifilm arm, the viewer has the option to turn on pop up boxes that will give the viewer a chance to branch off into different segments related to the action on screen. On Final Destination 2 most of the segments are effects related or, strangely enough, cast auditions. While this is a fun interactive way to watch the film, most everything you will find during this watching mode is made up of bits and pieces of longer featurettes found under the “Beyond the Movie” section.  

The DVD includes an excellent commentary with director David Ellis (who has worked mostly as a second unit direct on everything from Harry Potter to the Matrix sequels), producer Craig Perry, and screenwriters Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber. The group keeps the information coming and there is very little dead air. The group is varied enough to provide details about everything from the scriptwriting process to casting to the effects. This is a very good commentary track that even the casual fan will find interesting.

In the “Beyond the Movie” section of the Infinifilm menu there are three options. The first is a short featurette called “The Terror Gauge”. This is a documentary type video that shows a group of people being hooked up to machines that measure brain activity. They are shown different, intense scenes from Final Destination 2 and a scary woman explains what is going on. I found this to be much less entertaining than it could have been. If you skip anything on this DVD, skip this one. Next is “Cheating Death: Beyond and Back” which is a series of personal accounts of near-death experiences. This is a pretty standard near-death documentary and only slightly more interesting than the previous featurette. Finally, there is an option called the “Fact Track”. This turns on subtitles that provide small tidbits of information throughout the movie. I may be stupid, but I could not figure out how to make the fact track run without having Infinifilm turned on at the same time.

Next is the “All-Access Pass” features section. These are features all related to the movie. The commentary is found in this section as well as a featurette called “Bits & Pieces: Bringing Death to Life”. This is a very informative, very well made featurette that starts off as a history of the splatter film complete with scenes from many horror films and interviews with some of the greats, including the godfather of splatter, Herschell Gordon Lewis (Blood Feast). After this very good (yet too brief) retrospective, each death scene of the film is broken down and explained. This works very well as a making-of special and an effects featurette. Bravo to whoever put this one together. There are a series of deleted and alternate scenes available both with and without commentary. Each one was wisely cut from the film. None of them are very memorable. Finally there are two music videos (The Blank Theory- "Middle of Nowhere" and The Sounds- "Seven Days a Week") and trailers for Final Destination 1 and 2 and some other New Line movies.  

Final Destination 2
Final Destination 2 falls into my guilty pleasure collection. The movie is not “good” by standard definitions and its appeal is limited. However, it is highly entertaining if you have the stomach and the patience. New Line should be admired for committing this one to their Infinifilm series as genre fans have been handed a DVD with good features, a spectacular picture and very good sound. There is mention of a third entry in the franchise being in pre-production now. This sequel quelled fears of horrible mediocrity ruining the first film. Hopefully this franchise will survive the transition into becoming a trilogy.