Adrenaline-pumping action meets blood-thirsty zombies in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

9 September 2015 / 1 year 1 month ago

Running time: 131 minutes

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Rating: PG

Leaving the maze was supposed to have been the start of a good life for the Gladers; or so they thought. 

Unbeknownst to Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and Newt (Thomas Brodie Sangster) however, escaping the laybrinth infested with huge mecha-scorpions known as Grievers was but an ominous foreshadow of what was to follow. 

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, helmed by Wes Ball who also directed its predecessor, picks up from where the first film left off. 

After leaving the maze, the protagonists known as Gladers, find themselves transported to an elaborate installation in a barren dystopia known as 'The Scorch'. There they meet 'Janson', the man presumably in charge of the facility who assured them a better life in return for their cooperation. Through a series of revelations however, the group soon learns that things are far off from what was promised. 

The Gladers knew they were part of an assessment to help find a cure for a plague known as the 'The Flare'. However, they soon learn that the experiment was a lot more sinister than what they expected. The shady World Catastrophe Kill Zone Department (W.C.K.D) that put the group into the maze as part of phase one of the elaborate experiment, also seemed to have a hand at all that was going on.

As the truth begins to dawn on them, the Gladers fight their way out of the facility to search for a better life elsewhere, putting themselves at the mercy of the almost insurmountable obstacles of The Scorch.

Their desire to escape their predicament is as strong as their yearn to unearth more answers about W.C.K.D's malevolent masterplan. During their search for both however, the Gladers find themselves plagued by obstacle after obstacle; one of which is the presence of mindless, blood-thirsty zombies affected by The Flare who dwell in abandoned buildings of The Scorch. 

Other than having to deal with the harsh realities of The Scorch, the Gladers also have to handle the emotional toll from their arduous quest. 

Relying on sheer grit and determination, the group takes on everything that stands in their way. As they overcome their problems, their bonds of companionship become increasingly stronger. In a cruel twist of fate however, they are forced to come to terms with the shocking realisation that the greatest of enemies comes from within...

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is undoubtedly more action-packed then the first installation of the series. The film has all the ingredients necessary for a good thriller. Other than intense fight and chase scenes, elements of suspense and to a certain extent horror and gore have also been incorporated seamlessly into the film. 

Another reason that makes the film a joy to watch? Zombies. Because who doesn't love zombies? Fans who thought the Griever scenes in the first film were thrilling will thoroughly love scenes with the disease-ridden zombies in the second film. Why settle for a few mechanical arthropods when you can have a hoard of mindless freaks chasing after the protagonists? 

Unlike its predecessor, the second film also features more backdrops and different environments. Not only does this make the cinematography more aesthetically pleasing, it also helps viewers visualise the post-apocalyptic environment that the film is set in.

Another obvious difference is that Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials places more emphasis on female characters as compared to its prequel. Ironically however the introduction of females injects more testosterone into the high-octane action scenes. And in case you are wondering, no. Similar to the first film, there is still practically no love scenes.

Other than the fast-paced action sequences, the film also makes viewers engage in a deeper level of thinking. A dramatic plot twist towards the end of the film puts the concept of utilitarianism into contention. Viewers have to grapple with the realisation that what seems right on the surface may not be what ensures the greatest good for the greatest number and formulate their own opinions based on that understanding.

This plot twist at the film's climax is film's icing on the cake. Not only does it make Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials end on a high note, it also serves as a delectable appetiser for 'The Death Cure', the next film in the Maze Runner franchise that is slated for release in 2017. 

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials lives up to its hype following the success of the first film.

Rating: 3.5/5

The film opens tomorrow (Sep 10).

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