The Final Destination: Race to the Bottom
Dir. David R. Ellis (2009)
The “3D installment” of the series, this one involves a group of folks who dodge two bullets by escaping both Death and having to watch a NASCAR race.
It’s usually around the third-to-fourth installment in a franchise where things start to take a turn for the worse, and it’s usually around this time that the producers decide to try out the gimmicky 3D angle that seemingly every series has tried (and failed) to monetize. As all of these other franchises have discovered, making your film 3D will just help the audience to see that it’s a bad movie while wearing dark glasses, because I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever seen a feature-length 3D movie that didn’t suck ass. Thankfully, The Final Destination comes along and shows that, even with a series that hasn’t had a bad movie yet, that old adage still holds true, because this movie kinda sucks.
I’m having a vision that this movie isn’t going to be any good.
Don’t get me wrong: there are still some great kills, and there’s enough gore to please people who dared to suffer through the movie on multiple rewatches. This one is just trying too hard, whether it be the jammed-in racism angle, which is quickly (and “ironically” handled) with a “reverse lynching” or the multiple visions filled with things popping out at the screen. TFD take the tongue-in-cheek, super-fun gore of the first three films and hits you over the head with a sledgehammer of “irony” and gratuitous plot devices that in no way serve to make it a better film. Its continuous attempts to shove its 3D machinations down our throats makes the film all the worse for it. If they had simply avoided the temptation of 3D, which has only been properly used at theme park rides in Disney World and Universal Studios, they may have had a more watchable movie that fit a little better into the FD franchise.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, unlike the other films in the series, The Final Destination is NOT a good movie. It’s entertaining, which one could argue makes it worthwhile, and if you’re streaming the entire series you can’t not watch it. But it’s not a great movie, and it really should be. All of the pieces are there, including the throwback to the first films in the opening sequence, and it definitely makes an effort at adding to the lore surrounding Death and its plans for our characters. The problem is, it’s a rehash of all of the old ideas from the previous movies. You can’t kill yourself if you’re next in line, which we discovered in 2, and multiple people can have visions of the future, which we saw in 3. We have two wild visions of mass destruction in this one, but more isn’t better because none of it matters anyway. While there are truly some gruesome scenes of carnage, its all left with the feeling of “meh” when you should be standing and applauding.
I think there are two lessons that we, and future filmmakers, need to take from this film. The first lesson, in case you haven’t picked it up already from this review, is that the second it comes across your mind to make your film 3D, you need to go back to the drawing board and question whether it’s the 3D itself that’s going to make your movie suck or if your movie would suck in whatever dimension you try to view it in. Second, if you have a series that has outstanding cameos from Tony Todd in every movie, but he’s on a time crunch and has to turn down your film to work on a Transformers movie, you wait to film your movie until Tony fucking Todd is available. This one isn’t even hard: if anyone said hey, Tony Todd can make your movie in like eight months, my movie will have to win the Oscar for Best Disembowelment in 2024 instead of 2023. This movie has 100% less Tony Todd than it should. And that, among other reasons previously discussed, is why it sucks.
And just imagine how his hand would come out at you in 3D!
Who this movie is for: Final Destination completionists; The most dedicated gorehounds; People who got suckered into buying a 3D television from Best Buy and don’t understand the Sunk Cost Fallacy
Bottom Line: This movie really isn’t any good, but hey, there’s way more gore than in your normal romantic comedy (except for the beheading scene in Pretty Woman, which is pretty gnarly). If you’re just wanting to watch all of the Final Destinations, this is, in fact, a Final Destination movie, so you can’t really avoid it. If you want to watch a great, gory movie, just rewatch the third installment in the franchise. It’s not a terrible movie, but it’s definitely not a good one. And it doesn’t have Tony Todd. Watch it to say you’ve seen it, but just pretend it doesn’t exist when you do your yearly rewatch of the series.