Monday, June 6, 2016

Mini movie review: The Scorch Trials

Although there is no longer any maze in The Scorch Trials, part two of The Maze Runner trilogy, there sure is a lot of running.  This sequel starts up mere moments after the end of the first movie and protagonist Thomas and his dwindling band of maze survivors/escapees basically start running and don't stop until the end: running down corridors of the base they're taken to after being "rescued" at the end of TMR; running across the desert; running through city ruins; running through an abandoned mall; running across the desert ahead of a nasty electrical storm; running through the ruins of a fallen skyscraper ... it's exhausting, if only for the sheer repetition.  Instead of giant mecha-spiders, the kids are running from evil scientists who want to experiment on them, from evil gang members who want to sell them back to the scientists and from fast zombies former humans afflicted by whatever virus has decimated the planet.  As such, the tone of the movie swings wildly from chase-thriller to near horror to dusty post-apocalyptic gun battle in the mountains.

Where The Maze Runner was a decent B movie, The Scorch Trials doesn't quite get there.  What dialogue there is is trite and despite having spent two movie with many of the main characters, we still don't really know anything about them.  Lili Taylor is wasted in a small role, while Giancarlo Esposito at least looks like he's enjoying blowing shit up.

Production on the third movie in the series is on indefinite hold, following a stunt accident that injured star Dylan O'Brien fairly severely: concussion and broken bones in his face but not life-threatening.  I'd like to hope the extra time will allow the production team to up their game a bit for the final installment but I'm not hopeful: well-rounded characters uttering meaningful dialogue is probably not going to happen at this point - so if what you like is running and shouting, you'll likely be in luck.

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