I just watched Cellular on Channel 4, because – well, the Human Torch, William H. Macy and Jason Statham were in a movie together, how could I not watch that? And it was awesome, but I didn’t figure out why until the credits finally rolled. It was directed by David R. Ellis. Suddenly, all the pieces fell into place, and I realised that I am going to have to watch every movie David R. Ellis has ever, or will ever, direct.
Not that it’s hugely difficult right now, because his IMDB profile shows he’s only directed 7 movies, and two of those are still in production. If I wanted to be a real completist, I’d start watching the 12 movies he’s acted in, the 39 movies he was AD on, or the 72 movies he did stunts on. But I’m not that masochistic, so I’ll stick to the 7 he’s directed.
The first of these, rather disappointingly, was Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco, in which the two talking dogs and talking cat from the first movie somehow get lost and find their way home again, I guess. Doesn’t sound all that awesome. But the next movie David R. Ellis directed was Final Destination 2, which is arguably the best Final Destination movie thus far. (I’d actually be more likely to argue that Final Destination 3 was the best, but there could be no Final Destination 3 without Final Destination 2, so, y’know, credit where credit’s due.)
Final Destination 2 opens with probably the most jaw-dropping death sequence ever: a massive pile-up on a motorway in which people get blown up, chopped up, set on fire, decapitated – you name it, it happens. Cars, lorries and motorcycles all smash into one another in a flaming mess of metal and flesh and it just makes you cringe and never want to leave the house again. That’s how you start a movie, people. As for the later deaths, well, without describing each and every one of them in loving and obsessive detail (and you know I’d do that…) it’s hard to get across the sheer awesomeness, so I’ll just say that if you haven’t seen it already, you need to rent this movie.
Next up was Cellular, which, as already mentioned, features the Human Torch (aka Chris Evans – not the ginger one), William H. Macy, and Jason Statham, all running around at high speed. The plot is, admittedly, complete bobbins, but since when has that ever stopped a movie being awesome? Even the supporting characters in this movie are perfectly cast – Rick Hoffman needs to be in more movies, because he’s amazing, and it’s always fun to see Lin Shaye. I enjoyed the references to Final Destination, because I’m a geek, but also enjoyed the high speed car chases and increasingly ludicrous situations the Torch found himself in. Also, William H. Macy in a face mask. It’s a brainless popcorn movie, sure, but it’s non-stop joy, which is a far better use of celluloid than most of the stilted, incoherent shit that passes for blockbusters nowadays. 2004 was a vintage year, that’s for sure.
If, for whatever reason, you’re still doubting the incredible awesomeness of David R. Ellis, let me just say four words to you: Snakes on a Plane.
Damn straight. Snakes on a Plane was another one of those brainless popcorn movies that nonetheless managed to hang together convincingly enough that you didn’t notice the holes till you were all the way out of the cinema. That’s more than I can say for Transformers, at any rate. Snakes on a Plane was just… well, Snakes on a Plane is self-evidently awesome, and if you can’t see that, there’s no hope for you.
Ellis’s next film was something called Asylum, which I’ve not seen, but I bet it’s fantastic. And next on his slate are Final Destination 4, which I am already counting down the seconds till, and Dead of Night, a movie based on the same Dylan Dog comics as the brilliant Dellamorte Dellamore, so it’s a fairly safe bet that’ll be great, too. Obviously, I haven’t seen any of those three movies, but I definitely intend to, so all that remains is to say this: I salute you, David R. Ellis. Thank you for making cinema fun!