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The Divergent Series: Allegiant


Stars: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Jeff Daniels, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Keiynan Lonsdale, Daniel Dae Kim, Maggie Q, Bill Skarsgard, Jonny Weston, Nadia Hilker, Andy Bean, Ray Stevenson, Mekhi Phifer, Joseph David-Jones, Ashley Judd

Director: Robert Schwentke

Shailene Woodley returns again to lead Theo James, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Maggie Q and Ansel Egort in their continuing fight for freedom inside post Apocalyptic Chicago and in the toxic wasteland that is The Fringe for the third bite at the highly profitable cherry that is the series based on novelist Veronica Roth’s bestselling science fiction trilogy.

If, like me, you find that rather too much of the time Allegiant seems to be marking time rather than going where no Divergent has gone before, that’s because Hollywood never knowingly maims a cash cow, and so writers Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage and Stephen Chbosky deliver a scant screenplay that halves the final book in the trilogy and leaves the way open for one more movie.

Let’s hope the finale has more to offer than this rather underwhelming episode.

Divergent addicts, of course, should be happy enough, since director Robert Schwentke makes good use of excellent special effects to tell the continuing story of Woodley and Company when, having escaped from the walled future Chicago where violent Factions “keep the peace”, they survive the Fringe and land up in the futuristic Bureau of Genetic Warfare where sinister smoothie Jeff Daniels tells Woodley, “You’re genetically pure” and asks her to “Help me save the world”.

And, of course, she and her friends will doubtless eventually do just that in the final film.

Not here, though.

Sensibly Schwentke settles for fast-storytelling where possible and, in lieu of a strong screenplay and three-dimensional characters (with the exception of Daniels and, in a brief cameo during an uncomfortably unpleasant execution sequence at the start of the film, Hawaii Five O’s Daniel Dae Kim), he concentrates on delivering liberal helpings of action and suspense whenever he can.

Woodley and Co. are adequate without being memorable; it’s possible you might not notice Naomi Watts, while Miles Teller‘s competently clichéd character is light-years away from his milestone performance in Whiplash.

Series fans will almost certainly make Allegiant a box-office success. Newbies and series virgins will simply have to settle for an avalanche of action, stunts, movie magic, noise and an overwhelming musical score.

Alan Frank

USA 2016. UK Distributor: EntertainmentOne. Colour.
120 minutes. Widescreen/IMAX. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 10 Mar 2016