Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) walks past a strip of wallpaper in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.

Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) walks past a strip of wallpaper in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.

Reel Reviews: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials flame out

Taylor and Howe say the Maze Runner sequel "goes on a bit."

  • Sep. 25, 2015 12:00 p.m.

Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his Maze Runners, having escaped the maze, must cross a desolate landscape, in search of safety and sanctuary.

Those in control, known as WCKD, want to harvest the Maze Runner’s blood, seeking the immunity contained within, hoping to create a cure for the devastating zombie-like virus that destroyed civilization. Unfortunately, WCKD must do terrible things to achieve their goals.

The Right Arm is a resistance movement led by Vince (Barry Pepper) who works against WCKD. When Thomas finds The Right Arm, the real resistance begins, but at what cost?

We say, “It goes on a bit.”

TAYLOR: Readers may recall myself and Mr. Howe not really liking the first Maze Runner film because it provided no answers, no point, and was generally a fine film about a silly story.

The Scorch Trials continues in this vein. The characters don’t know who they are, where they are, what they’re doing or why. They move from chase scene to fight scene expressing their desire to know more about what is happening. Then, when they start to get an impression of a story, they discover it’s not really that way after all. Yes, this second installment provides more information than we had in the first, but there’s still a whole lotta ‘splaining to do.

HOWE: Well, it is becoming a little clearer. In fact I don’t really mind this series so far; it has some nice little touches. For example, in the first episode, they were fighting what looked like robotic Chinese dragon things.

This time out they are up against zombies out in the desert. It’s a little different than The Hunger Games and the Divergent series. There’s action galore and some good, yet not great special effects. But it seems to always be the same when it comes to the battle scenes. There never seems to be enough people involved; one final battle and only 40 people fighting? Come on. If there’s going to be an all-out fight to see who survives, make it big, and make it interesting at the very least.

TAYLOR: I will admit to getting a bit sucked in by the end of the film, but in fairness, that might have been relief because something was finally happening. For the most part, the film left me wanting and not in a good way. Now I have to wait for the final film to discover if their conclusions are going to be as disappointing as I expect them to be.

They had better not split the final story into two films. This whole adventure should have been crammed into one good film running two hours, rather than three or four mediocre hours, totalling six or eight hours. That’s ridiculous. Unfortunately, now they’re committed. Now they’ll have to finish it. Oh well. There is always hope.

HOWE: Well let’s just keep our fingers and toes crossed then that they don’t make the final chapter a two-parter.

– Taylor gives Make Runner: The Scorch Trials 2 italicized colons out of 5.

– Howe gives it 3 water canteens out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column Reel Reviews appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.