It was back in the first half of 2016 when word emerged that Maze Runner: The Death Cure had been indefinitely delayed after the serious injuries suffered by its star, Dylan O’Brien, while shooting a car action scene. Originally slated for a February 2017 release, it took nearly a year’s worth of time for Dylan to recover and production to spin back up. Fortunately, the accident hasn’t slowed him down in the least, and if anything it’s given him some additional time to further mature into the leading-man role.
Based on the young adult series of novels by author James Dashner, Death Cure is the third and final installment in the novels. The whole film comes across like a hodgepodge of constituent parts of most action and adventure films you’ve ever seen. It doesn’t make for a bad way to watch a film, since the pieces are generally well integrated under the veneer of the story. With it being focused on a younger audience, it’s less likely that they’ll notice elements of Die Hard, Speed, The Italian Job, Resident Evil, any runner-style zombie film, and most points in between, all liberally spread around the film’s more than two-hour running time.
The film opens up with Thomas (O’Brien) and Vince (Barry Pepper) chasing down a prisoner transport train to rescue Minho (Ki Hong Lee). The rescue doesn’t go exactly as planned, and before they know it they are following up on clues that seem to be leading them towards The Last City (a stunningly clever name, given that it’s the last known sanctuary city). It turns out it’s not just the last stronghold, but also the home base for
Umbrella Corporation W.C.K.D. (pronounced ‘wicked’). The organization has been the big bad behind the maze from the first film and collecting together the individuals who seem to be immune to the virus affecting the bulk of the world’s population.
It becomes a race to rescue Minho before W.C.K.D. winds up killing him with their experiments.
The effects are decent-to-good, the story is unoriginal but moves along well, and fans of both the books as well as the films will likely find it an enjoyable ride. There’s nothing really original to be found here, but then if you’ve already watched through the first few films and have an interest in the third, you will probably be happy with what you get.
What is more exciting than the film itself is the prospect of seeing O’Brien move on to other roles and see where his career takes him (of any young actors to come out of Teen Wolf, his star is definitely the one with the most solid potential).
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