Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Movies, Science fiction
3 out of 5 stars
Maze Runner: The Death Cure

This sporadically exciting trilogy-closer is set in an all-too-familiar dystopian landscape.

Somewhere between the beloved, blockbusting Hunger Games and the fizzled-out Divergent franchise, YA dystopia has found its uncomfortable middle ground in director Wes Ball’s Maze Runner trilogy. Adapted from James Dashner’s novel, this weighty third chapter continues the series’ concerted journey away from the high-concept action-puzzle milieu of 2014’s The Maze Runner into less-interesting genre territory. So where the last instalment, 2015's The Scorch Trials, took us out of the monster-stalked labyrinth into a parched, depopulated Mad Max-meets-I Am Legend wasteland, The Death Cure draws us into a skyscraper-packed, Blade Runner-ish metropolis. "I know it’s hard, but act like you’ve seen it before," one character says to gawking young hero Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) on arrival. Not hard at all.

Having survived robot-spider things and raging zombies, the earnest Thomas and his fresh-faced compadres are on a mission to rescue their one-time maze-running bro, Minho (Ki Hong Lee), having lost him to the shady white-coat corporation W.C.K.D. following a devastating act of betrayal by Thomas’ kinda-girlfriend Teresa (Kaya Scodelario). For Teresa, the end (saving humanity from a killer virus) justifies the means (torturing virus-immune children to extract serum). For Thomas, freedom—from human lab-rat torture, mostly—is paramount.

The moral wrangling doesn’t get more complex than that, and it takes a back seat to the action, which maintains a zippy momentum throughout the overly generous 142-minute running time. Ball is a sure-handed set-piece orchestrator and has a good ear for whams and bangs, which here variously involve trains, cranes and automobiles. So for the core crowd (millennial and under) it should add up to a satisfyingly sustained, uncomplicated adrenaline jag. But any longer-in-the-tooth fans of gritty sci-fi action will find this maze a little too easy to escape.

BY: DAN JOLIN

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Release details

Rated: PG-13
Release date: Friday January 26 2018
Duration: 142 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Wes Ball
Screenwriter: T.S. Nowlin
Cast: Dylan O'Brien
Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Rosa Salazar
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