My Rating ***
Genre – Action
Run Time –2 hr 25 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – U.S.A
Awards – 5 Nominations
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So, after the huge success of the Hunger Games and the Twilight franchises, there are big opportunities to cash in on other popular Young Adult book series, the Maze Runner stuff deemed one with the most potential with younger teenage movie fans recently. The Insurgent series didn’t really work but the fans a little more grown up now and want to see the film of their favorite books so will go for it anyway, the same way Harry Potter exploded.
The Maze Runner concept is pretty good in this area and the original film by far the best, this one the third (Cockney Rhyming slang) in the series but the films getting progressively worse, I’m afraid.
The Maze Runner (2014) $38m budget – $383million gross
The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2016) $61m budget – $312million gross
The Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) $62m budget – $288million gross
Film one was set in a dystopian future where a zombie virus (fast running manic zombies) has ravaged Earth and no cure. Kids with potential are kidnapped from their families and wake up inside the giant maze, the idea being to isolate them from the world and toughen them up for the challenges to come in this virus ravaged word to form a new order. To escape the maze it takes great courage and many don’t make it, and ominous 50ft high concrete walls ready to crush the kids if they do get close.
Dylan O’Brien … Thomas
Ki Hong Lee … Minho
Kaya Scodelario … Teresa
Thomas Brodie-Sangster … Newt
Dexter Darden … Frypan
Will Poulter … Gally
Jacob Lofland … Aris
Rosa Salazar … Brenda
Giancarlo Esposito … Jorge
Patricia Clarkson … Ava Paige
Aidan Gillen … Janson
Barry Pepper … Vince
Nathalie Emmanuel … Harriet
Katherine McNamara … Sonya
Walton Goggins … Lawrence
Teenage maze escapees Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Terese (Kaya Scodelario, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and adult buddy Vince (Barry Pepper) are hitting a prison train and the kids lightly armed with some guns and a big plan. One of the kids on the train is their buddy Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and they are determined to get him back.
The heist goes well and they bust into a prison car but no Minho. The new kids are taken to a safe haven. The plan now is for the kids to go to the big city where the virus is kept out and where the healthy people live, Hunger Games style. Thomas is determined to get his buddy out as they try to enter the skyscraper city undetected.
A man called Janson (Aidan Gillen) runs the metropolis alongside head medical scientists Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) and had runs in’s with these particular kids before. They abduct kids and experiment on them to find a cure for the virus. Now inside the city another ruck beckons. But the kids catch a break when the run into an old friend, Gallo (Will Poulter), another survivor from the maze, who now runs the cities resistance groups. But a further distraction could derail them all and can they trust her?
So, no doubt the worse of the three film so far and I’m unsure if there is another film to come. I liked the first film idea but the second film outside the maze was rather perfunctory and lacking originality, as was film three. The maze was the move. The attractive teenagers shoot grownups and that’s about it. Aiden Gillen makes a good villain where as Patrice Clarkson dressed in virginal white makes it feel all too close to the Hunger Games in set up.
Dylan O’Brien, the handsome teen age star of the film, suffered serious injuries on set when he was dragged under a vehicle to which he was strapped, while filming the opening train chase sequence. His injuries included concussion, fractured cheekbones and smashed eye socket. His recovery took much longer than anyone thought and production shut down for one year. It was a brutal set as the director chased some sort of authenticity. The kids who read the books want the film to be like the books. That’s the producer’s audience.
If you read the books you will probably enjoy this. If you did not then it’s a run of the mill teen action movie that won’t do much for you. It lacks the brains and ideas of the first film and no real surprises here, other than not all the stars make it. It’s time to end the franchise. We have seen all this before.
Imdb.com –6.2 /10.0 (62, 324votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 42% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 50 % critic’s approval