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Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Cover Media logo Cover Media 01/02/2018

Closing out the trilogy, Maze Runner: The Death Cure is certainly one for diehard fans.

Directed by Wes Ball and written by T.S. Nowlin, the third instalment of the dystopian sci-fi adventure franchise jumps right to the point where the second film, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, left off.

Foregoing any sort of recap, the plot follows the characters of Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Frypan (Dexter Darden), who are the last of the "Gladers" immune to the "Flare" virus that has infected the world's population, causing them to transform into violent zombies.

a group of people posing for the camera © Provided by Cover Media

Turning against the orders of The Right Arm resistance, the trio leaves their safe camp base with the aim of rescuing their friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee), from the Last City, where organisation WCKD is using him as a guinea pig to try and find a cure for the disease.

Headed up by leader Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson), the vengeful Janson (Aiden Gillen) and traitorous scientist Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), the group have built up a metropolis with fortified wall - a pretty obvious allusion to U.S. President Trump's desire to build a barrier on the Mexico border - as means of segregating those infected from the healthy.

Thomas, along with other resistance fighters including Gally (Will Poulter), Brenda (Rosa Salazar), Harriet (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), formulate a plan to break into the Last City, and navigate the WCKD-controlled labyrinth in the process.

The Death Cure is most exciting in the action sequences, which are full of stunts and clever choreography. A train carriage heist at the opening of the flick is particularly memorable and evokes the thrilling pace of classic action movies such as Die Hard and Speed. The backdrops of ravaged wastelands and futuristic cities are nicely rendered too, all down to rusting shipwrecks on empty beaches to slick electronic billboards flashing propaganda for WCKD in the city.

As far as the performances go, the actors manage to do a pretty convincing job with the pretty uninspiring dialogue. O'Brien does his best to juggle playing a heartthrob and quick-thinking action hero, and the few humorous moments come from British stars Brodie-Sangster and Poulter, though both are wildly underused.

While Scodelario gives a credible performance as a conflicted chemist, and Salazar really dazzles in the most dramatic scenes - she could most definitely carve herself a career in action films if she wanted.

Apart from the actors pretending to play teenagers, when they're all at least in their mid-20s, there is another flaw in this flick - it runs for a ridiculously long 142 minutes. Ball could have done with a ruthless editor on board to cut through many of the pointless scenes in the second act - 30 minutes could have been removed and it wouldn't have made the slightest difference to the narrative.

Yet, if it is action you're after, the finale has plenty of it and enough drama and firefights to keep teenage boys entertained.

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