Alex Chance Browning got off an ill-fated plane and Kimberly Corman stopped short of driving onto a highway disaster only to discover they'd cheated death and he still intended to call in his cards. Now, six years later, Wendy Christenson (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, "The Ring Two," "Sky High") talks a number of her high school chums from getting onto the roller coaster she's had a premonition about in "Final Destination 3."
Cowriter (with Glen Morgan, "Final Destination")/director James Wong ("Final Destination") returns to his roots after stunt man David R. Ellis (the upcoming "Snakes on a Plane") upped the ante directing the sequel and while "3" isn't as deliriously enjoyable as "2" was, Wong manages to milk just enough mayhem out of the concept to make the third movie viable.
After Wendy manages to get off the doomed coaster, she realizes too late her boyfriend's still on it. He perishes along with her best friend and so she teams up with survivor Kevin (Ryan Merriman, "The Ring Two"), her best friend's boyfriend. Wendy doesn't want to believe it when Kevin tells her about the earlier incidents, but then she notices something unsettling about the high school year book pictures she took the night of the accident - they foretell death.
One by one those that escaped their fate begin to die in manners most gruesome, staged for laughs with the absurd amount of omens Wendy sees just beforehand and the sheer cheekiness of their setups. "3" mostly dispenses with the Rube Goldbergesque device used by "2," instead going with "The Ring-like" photography cues, one of which is misread by Wendy neatly setting up the film's finale.
Overall, the cast is pretty dismal, although star Winstead holds her own and engages sympathy. Crystal Lowe and Chelan Simmons are amusingly over the top (and frequently topless) as the vapid valley girls Ashlynn and Ashley who check in to the tanning salon but don't check out. And you gotta love a film whose cast includes an actor named Texas Battle.
This clan never bands together to fight the grim reaper, so the film is less about the legend now, more obviously an excuse for a strung together series of inventive ways to go. It's a surprise, really, that this entry is as much fun as it is, but trilogy looks about as far as this destination can go.
Robin did not see this film.
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