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|The Death Cure|
dir Wes Ball
scr TS Nowlin
prd Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Joe Hartwick Jr, Wes Ball, Lee Stollman
with Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Aidan Gillen, Dexter Darden, Rosa Salazar, Ki Hong Lee, Giancarlo Esposito, Patricia Clarkson, Barry Pepper, Walton Goggins
release US/UK 26.Jan.18
18/US Fox 2h22
Fighting corporate greed: O'Brien, Esposito, Darden and Salazar
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Wrapping up the Maze Runner trilogy with an oversized bang, this post-apocalyptic thriller certainly has plenty of eye-catching action. And its cast is seriously committed to the roles. But a badly cliched script deflates all of the tension from the story, leaving it feeling rather dull and predictable. It has its moments, and often looks quite spectacular, but never remotely gets the adrenaline flowing.
In the desolation of what's left of America, Thomas (O'Brien) and Newt (Brodie-Sangster) lead a daring rescue to save their friend Minho (Lee) from becoming a guinea pig in the search for a cure to the zombie-making virus epidemic. But Minho isn't among the rescued immune youngsters, so Thomas and Newt decide to see if he's in a mythical last city run by the WCKD corporation. Indeed he is. There they run into their former cohorts Teresa and Gally (Scodelario and Poulter), as well as the villainous Janson (Gillen) and his head scientist Ava (Clarkson).
The movie cracks along at a bombastic pace, with a series of breathless set pieces involving chases, sudden rescues, excessive gunplay and plenty of fiery explosions. The plot, on the other hand, never quite builds up a head of steam. There's so little to this story, and the characters are so thinly defined, that it's difficult to find something to grab hold of. Even with all of the action, there's never a hint of real suspense. And most of the dialog is merely a stream of corny platitudes.
Thankfully, the actors are all engaging. O'Brien is a bit bland in the focal role, but he holds the film together and generates some understated chemistry with both Brodie-Sangster and Scodelario. Poulter has the most intriguing role, stirring some sarcasm into his prickly, untrustworthy character. Everyone else is pretty much what we expect. Even Scodelario can't be villainous for long, while Gillen never shows even a flicker of humanity.
As in the first two movies, director Ball and writer Nowlin are never able to make the story resonate beyond the somewhat geeky sci-fi premise. Many plot points feel either far too convenient or deeply contrived. And the sequences become eerily repetitive: attack, fail, get rescued, explosion! The filmmakers also try to punch a number of big emotional scenes, but they are rather muted without more accessible characters and story. And the trite script belittles the underlying themes by shouting them far too loudly.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2018 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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