“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” barely flickers.

Admittedly, the second instalment in the Maze Runner-trilogy has made some serious money at the box office. But, it’s truth universally acknowledged that high ticket sales don’t equate a good film. And The Scorch Trials is bad. Really bad.

The first film told the story of a group of teens who’ve lost their memories, stuck in the middle of a maze while they try to devise ways to escape. When they do, at the end of that film, they discover they were involved in a big experiment by the aptly named WCKD (pronounced “wicked”), but they’re not really given a reason for this.

The Scorch Trials begins after the group, led by Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), have been rescued. But soon they discover their “saviours” are actually part of WCKD. They escape (again), this time into a world that is basically an empty, apocalyptic desert dotted by the skeletons of derelict buildings and bridges. Amid rumours of a kind of ‘oasis’ run by rebel leaders, the Right Hand, the kids set off for the mountains.

They’re not alone in the desert though. They have to dodge a number of virus-infected Cranks, i.e. zombies. It was here I wanted to hit my head against a wall at the mindless, stereotypical, obvious plot turn: bleeding, corpse-like, screeching zombies. Come. On. There’s also a gang of military-style villains who capture the kids and want to sell them back to WCKD, and a bit of romantic tension between Thomas and his female lead, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario).

The first Maze Runner film at least had a mildly original concept and an air of mystery. There’s not an awful lot to say about The Scorch Trials. Director Wes Ball has simply pumped up the action and tried to add a few lame, clichéd plots ‘twists’. Yawn. Yawn. Yawn. The thought of having to sit through a third film is as welcome as the zombie apocalypse itself. Actually, the latter sounds like fun compared to this movie.

Director: Wes Ball

Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario

Rating: 2 out of 5

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials releases in SA on 24 September 2015.

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