Runner Goes Nowhere Fast with Cure
While the film adaptations of The Hunger Games took full advantage of the dystopian adventure craze that swept through the youth literature sector, the similarly-plotted Divergent movies petered out, the final segment currently in production limbo, likely never to see the light of day. The Maze Runner series falls somewhere in the middle, in regards to their success and quality. While the first entry proved to be a well made, intriguing introduction to its plague-ridden world, the second segment, The Scorch Trials, was an overlong, plodding affair that generated more yawns than thrills.
The final part of the franchise, The Death Cure, combines the best parts of the first part and the worst elements of the second to create a curious film that effectively wraps up all of the story’s narrative loose ends but makes the audience wait and wait and wait for its denouement. Director Wes Ball does his level best to deliver the requisite overlong, overloud action sequences that are part-and-parcel of films of this sort but he’s bogged down by the script from T.S. Nowlin, who must have loved every single aspect of James Dashner’s novel that he didn’t excise a single scene.
For those of you coming in late, the particular form of global crisis wiping the film’s global population out is a disease known as the “Flare,” which turns the afflicted into raging, uncontrollable zombies. However, the secret to a cure lies in the blood of a select group of young people, including our hero Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee), who happens to be a prisoner of WCKD, an organization that has no idea experimenting on and even killing children in their search for a cure.
While the kids’ adult allies Vince (Barry Pepper) and Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) are repairing a large ship to take all of the kids they’ve rescued off to paradise, Thomas and his crew decide they are going to break into WCKD to rescue their friend. Needless to say, it does not go smoothly as they thought so we are treated to a seemingly endless parade of chases, gun battles, fist fights and other assorted bits of action that, ironically only succeed in moving the plot along glacially.
The film is acted in an acceptable manner, the production values are high, the action is, while repetitious, staged as it should be and the cast is appealing. The problem though is Dystopian-fatigue. What with the above-mentioned franchises running their course, the continued saga of The Walking Dead continuing to unspool and the prospect of nuclear annihilation hanging over us all, there’s no way The Death Cure could hope to bring anything new to the end-of-the word table. It’s the same old, same old where the end of the world is concerned and making us hang around for two hours and twenty minutes to reach the end, is a trial no one should have to endure.