Insurgent review

>Early on in Insurgent, plucky heroine Tris (Woodley) cuts her hair to defiantly look more warrior­like. Bad move. It makes her look like a boy. No matter, swarthy beau Four (James) doesn't seem to notice. And they of course have far more pressing concerns, like evading capture from nasty power­made Erudite Jeanine (Winslet) and trying to round up enough rebels in each of the other factions of dystopian walled­in Chicago to depose her.

If you haven't seen Divergent, the first entry in this Hunger Games knock­off, then don't bother with this follow­up. It picks up directly after, trusting that you're already familiar with the characters. Tris is suitably anguished over the death of her parents ­ and does an awful lot of weeping to boot ­ while Four is reliably protective of her. Peter (Teller) is still a treacherous snake while Tris's brother Caleb (Elgort) is again lacking her determination and confidence.

It's a fast-moving chase adventure for much of the time, as they race to the various factions, encountering among others Four's mother (an underused Watts) as well as a box that contains a most enormous secret. So secret that only Tris has the power to unlock it, undergoing numerous tests forced on her by Jeanine that mentally tax her temperament in being a divergent. Consequently there are impressive CGI landscapes of destruction as the camera swoops through charred surroundings depicting fantasy carnage.

Visually then Insurgent certainly delivers but overall it's still a pale sibling to Hunger Games. Insurgent's futuristic world simply isn't as persuasive, and the two Divergent movies lack the force and epic grandeur of the JLaw franchise. This second go­round is solid and watchable of course, but it never becomes involving enough to make you really care. And it's all such nonsense to begin with that it takes real flare to capture the imagination. This series fails to do that, but the YA fanbase won't leave disappointed I'm sure.

Insurgent at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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