Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails - Zombie overload

September 26, 2015 05:00 pm | Updated 07:33 pm IST

A still from Haze Runner: The Scorch Trials

A still from Haze Runner: The Scorch Trials

A curious sense of déjà vu engulfs you while watching this second installment of James Dashner’s Maze Runner trilogy. Even more than the book itself did — and It doesn’t help that director Wes Ball hasn’t entirely been faithful to Dashner’s storyline. The Scorch Trials feels like a dubsmash of many films, from Coma to Aliens to The Matrix to I am Legend to World War Z.

A more appropriate title for this film about a dystopian world of the future would have been The Curse of the Sequel. For, it succumbs to the fate that befalls virtually every follow-up to a successful first run. The element of suspense, which kept the first episode going, is taken away, leaving the writer and the director to conjure up plot contrivances to take the story forward.

Genre: Sci-fi drama Director: Wes Ball Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Aidan Gillen, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee, Rosa Salazar Storyline: Escaping from the Glade, the Immunes believe they are being taken to safety, without realising that more dangers lie ahead.

In the first outing, we didn’t know about the evil corporation that had isolated a group of boys (and one lone girl) in The Glade for much of the film: we were dealing with countless WTF questions in our heads. But here, that’s known from the outset, but the story still has to be kept moving. There’s a twist in the tale, fairly early on. The Immunes, who are clinically valuable because they hold the key to developing an enzyme cure for the Flare virus epidemic that has ravaged the planet, believe they have been rescued from The Glade, and from WCKD, the wicked medical company that wants to harvest them. But things are not what they seem. , and the Immunes are forced on the run again — to seek an alliance with The Right Arm group of rebels who are fighting WCKD. But first, the Immunes must overcome the sense of complacency that overcomes some of them: after all, the soft beds and the wholesome meals they get in what they believe to be the ‘safe house’ is infinitely better than the wasteland of The Glade, right?

Soon, they are besieged by an army of Flare-infested zombies, and spend an interminable stretch of movie time running away from them. It is In these passages, that the plotline frailties show up glaringly: startling viewers with the living dead can work only for so long.

Towards the end, there’s another twist in the narrative, a Teresa-esque treachery that sets the Immunes back. There’s a feeble effort at exploring a bio-ethical issue that lies at the heart of the storyline: is it wrong for some members of a group to be ‘sacrificed’ for the greater common good? But the director merely skims the surface, focussing instead on the fight-scene fireworks to razzle-dazzle viewers. And when all else fails, he pulls out the zombies yet again.

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Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Genre: Sci-fi drama

Director: Wes Ball

Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Aidan Gillen, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee, Rosa Salazar

Storyline: Escaping from the Glade, the Immunes believe they are being taken to safety, without realising that more dangers lie ahead

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