I’m sure if you read my column on a regular basis you know I am a fan of science fiction films, even those that are cheesy. Thankfully, there is nothing cheesy about the new sci-fi/action thriller “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.” The film is the third in a series based on “The Maze Runner” novels. The first film hit theaters in 2014, followed by the 2015 release “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.” For those unfamiliar with the series, the story has been following sixteen-year-old Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), and how he has become a very vital part in saving humanity.
In the first film, Thomas wakes up in a rusty elevator that takes him to the middle of a functioning maze where he is held with other boys who are merely surviving to find their way out of the maze. At the end of the first film (*spoiler alert*) Thomas and several of his new friends, including Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), the first girl in the maze, manage to escape the maze, and discover they have been held by the World Killzone Department (W.C.K.D.) for the purpose of saving humanity. In the story, Earth was devastated by a massive solar flare, which was followed by a pandemic of deadly virus named the Flare. The kids have been studied by W.C.K.D. in the hopes a cure could be found. The virus has the effect of fast moving zombies on those infected, so you can understand why a cure would be top priority for the uninfected.
In the second film, Thomas and his friends are searching for clues about W.C.K.D. through a desolate landscape named the Scorch. Thomas and crew meet up with some resistance fighters and they take on W.C.K.D. However, one member of the resistant fighters betrays the group, and leaves with W.C.K.D. The new film picks up Thomas and company rescuing some kids who are being shipped to W.C.K.D. headquarters for more experiments. Thomas hopes to find his dear friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee) in the group, but sadly discovers he is being held at W.C.K.D. headquarters. The aforementioned discovery leaves Thomas more determined than ever to rescue his friend, but even with the help of the resistant fighters, and some new people he has met outside the Last City, a huge metropolis behind a massive wall, he faces an uphill battle.
The Last City was created to protect those living there from the infected until a cure can be found. Undaunted, Thomas and his friends find a way into the Last City, where they run across the person who betrayed them. Thomas and crew manage to infiltrate W.C.K.D. headquarters, where they are able to rescue some kids being held, but the rescue of Minho proves quite the challenge. Eventually Thomas reunites with his friend, but not after he discovers the real reason he has actually been the main target of W.C.K.D. Along the way to the films conclusion, several favorite characters are lost, and they devastate Thomas.
The film has an optimistic ending, and even though this appears to be the end of the film trilogy, there could easily be a fourth film. The actors are all marvelous in the film, with O’Brien truly embracing his role over the course of the trilogy, and proves he is an action film star to be reckoned with. This film is action packed, and I felt little time to catch my breath, as the action kicks into high gear at the beginning of the film and never lets up. The special effects are top notch, and you can see the films $62 million dollar budget in every scene. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” is a cinematic thrill ride that will leave you hanging on to your theater seat.
Rated PG-13; 3 1/2 Mazes (out of 4)