Moviedom's most fatalistic franchise returns in efficient form in Final Destination 5
, an installment that goes for broke in its big opening set piece. This time the initial disaster happens on a suspension bridge that turns out to be all too vulnerable to high winds and an over-aggressive repair project. The employees of Presage Plus (ha ha) are in a bus crossing the span when Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto) pre-envisions the bloody disaster to come; panicked, he urges his friends to scamper off the bridge just in time to avoid the collapse. You know what comes next: the survivors face certain death as Fate demands its deferred payment, and a coroner (Tony Todd, thankfully returning to the series) intones dark wisdom about the price that must be paid. Director Steven Quale understands that the audience expects the horrifyingly convoluted deaths of the previous pictures; each new demise is like the result of a crowd at an improv theater shouting out different ideas to weave together (hmm, what can we do with a leaky air conditioner, a loose screw, and a set of uneven parallel bars?). The results--shot for 3-D release, no less--will not disappoint die-hard fans, and even the actors are bearable this time around: D'Agosto, from the underrated Fired Up!
, pairs nicely with Emma Bell, P.J. Byrne gets off a few unctuous one-liners, and David Koechner does his clueless jerk routine as the Presage Plus boss from hell. The final sequence, while not making any sense according to the rules we've been watching, does tie up the entire series in a neat bow. Until the next sequel, anyway. --Robert Horton