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Scorch Trials, The (Maze Runner series) (3D) (DQ)

4/10

Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Patricia Clarkson, Giancarlo Esposito, Kaya Scodelario, Aidan Gillen, Ki Hong Lee, Rosa Salazar, Lili Taylor, Barry Pepper, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Alexander Flores, Jacob Lofland

Director: Wes Ball

Gosh, Trials is right. Especially with four trailers preceding the film at the preview I attended, part two in the 'Maze Runner' series seemed to go on half the night.

Director Ball, however, does ensure that the first half-hour or so is quite exciting, with lots of pursuits through tunnels and ventilation shafts, as the surviving Glader escapees, led by Thomas (O'Brien), are herded into a facility whose chief, Jansen (a treacherously smiling Gillen), assures them of a better life.

It doesn't take long, however, for Thomas to discover that, batch by batch, the young residents, all immune to the 'flare virus' that has decimated mankind, are having their life fluids drained to provide an antidote to the disease.

Escaping with the help of Aris (Lofland), the Gladers embark on a seemingly endless desert trek (presumably the Scorch Trials of the title) towards 'civilisation' and escape from their pursuers, led by Jansen and the chalk-faced Dr Paige (Clarkson).

Alas, even as you shift restlessly in your seat, the story, which makes little sense, especially in relation to the first film, becomes increasingly barmy and increasingly boring, a Mad Max without the flair. And where do the kids get all those flashlights?

Although impressively mounted, this is, in fact, a typical 'mid-trilogy' offering that barely advances the story. Hopefully, all will be revealed and resolved in the next film for those prepared to stay the course. Parts of the film are, incidentally, far too horrific for a 12A certificate and the BBFC should be ashamed of themselves.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
131 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 08 Sep 2015