Movie review: The third and presumably final movie in the “Maze Runner” series is the longest entry — and feels even longer thanks to endless chase sequences that quickly become numbingly repetitive. Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4.
I thought it would never end.
At two hours and 20-plus minutes, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” is by far the longest entry in the “Maze Runner” trilogy. The original “Maze Runner,” released in 2014, clocks in at a relatively compact one hour and 53 minutes, while the sequel, 2015’s “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” runs around two hours and 12 minutes.
As long as the third and, one hopes, final installment is, it feels even longer. There’s more of it, much more, yet paradoxically, much less.
Movie Review ★½
‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure,’ with Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen. Directed by Wes Ball, from a screenplay by T.S. Nowlin, based on a novel by James Dashner. 142 minutes. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and some thematic elements. Several theaters.
Less originality. Its opening sequence of battered, crusty cars kicking a ton of dust in the air as they speed across a parched, post-apocalyptic desert landscape seems straight out of “Mad Max.” A gleaming walled city rising from the wasteland looks suspiciously similar to Raccoon City from the “Resident Evil” series. Lurching zombie hordes and a sadistic megacorporation — the Umbrella Corp. in “Resident Evil” and WCKD here, as in “Wicked,” get it? — reinforce the sense of “I’ve passed this way before.”
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We’re in dystopia land, courtesy of James Dashner, from whose series of best-selling young-adult novels the “Maze Runner” movies are derived. Wes Ball directed all three pictures from screenplays credited to T.S. Nowlin.
Civilization is in ruins, and the movie’s hard-pressed young heroes are being hounded not only by ravening ghouls but also by heavily armed agents of WCKD, whose scientists conduct heinous medical experiments in the shiny towers of the city that is modernity’s last outpost.
The kids on the run (all played by actors in their 20s and 30s, and yes, that’s a little jarring), are led by a moody fellow named Thomas (Dylan O’Brien). He and his companions are genetically immune to the virus causing the zombie plague and so are sought by the WCKD people, who want to drain them of their life juices to brew up a cure. Wicked indeed.
And so they run. And run some more. Run for their lives. Run for much of that bloated, ah, running time. They’re captured, imprisoned, freed, pursued, recaptured and … you get the idea. They run endlessly, through tunnels and corridors and sewers. They get injured and are lugged to safety by their uninjured pals, who themselves are then injured, and the cycle repeats. Before long you find yourself wondering, “Say, didn’t I just see this?” Answer: Yes. And then you see it again. And again.
I thought it would never end.