MADISON, Wis. - The first “Maze Runner” in 2014 evoked a terrific sense of mystery with its premise of kids trapped in a giant maze of traps. The sequel, "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials," deflated that mystery and turned into a generic plot of bad adults versus good teenagers.
Unfortunately, "Maze Runner: The Death Cure" continues the trend of the sequel, leaving the franchise to die with a whimper. At the very least, we can all be grateful the third book on which the series is based was not split into two movies, a la "The Hunger Games," "Harry Potter" or "Twilight."
Dylan O'Brien returns as Thomas, kicking off the movie with a decent action scene in which he and the rest of his friends hijack a train car to save some more of their kid friends. After the opening scene, however, the movie fails to deliver on the promise of such a strong start. It’s back to Thomas and his escaped buddies trying to shut down the evil corporation WCKD (truly an awful name).
You see, WCKD wants to find a cure for a deadly disease called the Flare that turns humans into zombies. A noble enough effort. However, the cure efforts are absolutely insane. Certain kids are immune to the Flare, and produce an enzyme that can be used to defeat the virus. In order to produce this enzyme, fear and shock have to be induced, so the best way to go about this is to build giant, elaborate mazes with scary manufactured creatures inside. Occam’s Razor just imploded. Cut to the third movie, and now the researchers are simply making kids dream scary thoughts. My only question as an audience member is, why not start with the induced nightmares? Far cheaper and less labor-intensive. I suppose “Scary Dreamer” doesn't sound as cool as “Maze Runner."
Ridiculous premise aside, the actual events that occur in the movie aren't any better. "Death Cure" mostly involves characters being held at gunpoint about a dozen times and always rescued at the very last second. It’s a trick that quickly becomes tiresome for the entirety of the movie. Brushes with death quickly become meaningless, as all tension is removed from each scene. If it had just existed as a film with decent action, "Death Cure" could have justified its own existence, but as it stands, this 2 hour and 22 minute film needs its own cure.
Loper rating: I give “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” 2.5 "Where's the beef?" ladies asking, "Where’s the maze?" out of 5
'Hostiles' an inferior Christian Bale western
"Hostiles" is a western starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Ben Foster. An army captain agrees to transport a Cheyenne chief through dangerous territory, despite hating Native Americans.
The film is a slow-burner with occasional bursts of violence; fans of westerns will enjoy it but its methodical pace will make others restless.
Loper rating: 3 Christian Bales in "3:10 to Yuma" out of 5. As far as Christian Bale in westerns go, "3:10 to Yuma" is his better one.
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