‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ keeps teens running for their lives

18 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Maze Runner sequel The Scorch Trials has hotter, scarier hazards in store: review.

If The Scorch Trials, the sequel to The Maze Runner (2014), has one obvious weakness, it’s that the movie — like a still-toddering child — really doesn’t stand on its own.When we last met Thomas and his teenage companions from “The Maze Runner,” the amnesiac heroes of that dystopian thriller were being whisked away, by helicopter, from their mysterious confinement inside a deadly maze. As its sequel, “The Scorch Trials,” begins, they are being held in another, seemingly impenetrable detention facility, under the supervision of a man (Aidan Gillen) who tells them that they’re on the way to a “sanctuary” where the folks who locked them up in the first movie will never be able to find them again. “How does that sound?’ he asks, with all the sincerity of a politician.

The film picks up immediately after the original, with the survivors Thomas et al alighting from a helicopter into a desolate desert landscape before being hustled inside a fortified compound by agents from World in Catastrophe Killzone experiment Department. Even if you’re not familiar with the Y.A. trilogy by James Dasher on which these films are based, anyone who saw the first film knows that no one in this expanding cinematic “Maze” universe is to be trusted. Before long, Thomas — aided by a new character, Aris (Jacob Lofland) — discovers exactly what the people from WCKD want from the young people and it ain’t pretty.

The element of suspicion will serve you well in a sequel — gripping and well shot but overly busy and filled with betrayal — that soon has Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and company on the lam from their saviors and dodging an obstacle course that includes a sandstorm, zombielike creatures called cranks, lightning, distrustful rebels and a doped-up human trafficker (Alan Tudyk) who lures adolescent victims with a creepy rave. After a daring escape, they find themselves wandering through sun-scorched sand dunes and derelict cities and trying to stay out of the clutches of their former captors and “cranks,” zombielike humans infected with the “flair.” If only they can connect with the Right Arm resistance movement, they might find sanctuary at last. Rosa Salazar is a welcome addition to the cast as feisty Brenda, a nice counterpart to the anemic Teresa (Kaya Scodelario); Giancarlo Esposito is fun as the treacherous Jorge. The action sequences are well-executed and there’s plenty of them and drabs of exposition along the way that marginally advance the story. (The series actually extends to five books.

The original Maze Runner amassed a tidy $100 million-plus at the box office and it’s a safe bet that fans will enjoy the new set of perils and pitfalls awaiting the band of intrepid Glazers. Scorch Trials isn’t particularly original or challenging, but there’s enough action and adventure to maintain audience interest until the arrival of Part 3 in 2017.

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