Star Rating:


Actors: Ansel Elgort, Theo James

Release Date: Thursday 19th March 2015

Genre(s): Sci-Fi

Running time: 119 minutes

The second instalment of Veronica Roth’s young adult dystopian trilogy suffers the same problems as the first: it’s just not any fun.

Despite Kate Winslet’s introduction and Shailene Woodley’s flashback dreams, those coming fresh to this sequel will be completely lost as Insurgent drops us right into the mix. After fleeing an Erudite purge, Tris (Woodley), Four (James) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) race into the wilderness and seek shelter with Octavia Spencer’s Amity. However, events transpire to force them back into the city where they hope to make contact with Evelyn’s (Naomi Watts) factionless group and storm Jeanine’s (Winslet) stronghold.

Insurgent, and its predecessor, is less a movie and more a soap opera. Something that turns up on Sky One on Tuesday nights. Its reveals and twists are borne of TV - a shock revelation of parenthood here has as much emotional weight as one found in Neighbours.

The current sci-fi trait of having major action sequences set in a simulation (Sucker Punch, Ender’s Game, Divergent) has to stop as it robs the audience of potential investment in the character’s plight. Having Tris navigate a floating, tumbling, burning house is visually arresting but what’s wrong with putting the character in real danger? Like a TV series, directors and writers can come and go with little change to the overall plan.

Franchise movies like these aren't director's movies, who are there merely to ensure boxes are ticked. This is why Divergent director Neil Burger can make way for Robert Schwentke (RED, R.I.P.D) and original writers Evan Daughtery and Vanessa Taylor are elbowed aside for Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) and Mark Bombak (Total Recall) without anything actually changing. If Charlie Kauffman wrote this, it would still end up the lifeless bowl of porridge it is right now because the producers and marketing execs are calling the shots.

The movie is a mess with a reliance on convenience to get the heroine out of tight spots. One scene has a lethal bug implanted in the bodies of the good guys and it can't be removed without killing the host, but later they inexplicably find a way of removing the bug without killing the host.

With more to emotionally juggle (she has to deal with the consequence and guilt of being responsible for three deaths), the promising Woodley is a little more invested in the goings-on here than in Divergent. However, this franchise seems to suck the talent out of everyone in the room with Winslet, Teller and Ansel Elgort unable to liven up the inert dialogue. It's this sluggish dialogue that drives the entire plot; wonderful sets are built only for the actors to stand around uttering dull lines.

The two-part finale awaits that will take events outside the wall. Hopefully something interesting will happen then.