Insurgent is the difficult middle instalment of Verionica Roth’s teenage rebel sci-fi dystopian trilogy Divergent; so more of the same running, jumping, fighting, crying, and ‘it’s all about family, innit’ [copyright Eastenders or your choice of soap here].
Expect more punch-ups, shoot-outs, train-jumping, big CGI landscapes, teary heroines, betrayals and a bit of snogging (but not too much, we can’t have teenage sex in the movies, even though our leads are 25+).
What’s most disturbing is the sheer amount of gunplay and violent death in what is supposed to be a 12A certificate movie. No wonder the American psyche is so screwed up with this perpetual Western frontier mentality of solving every problem with a bullet.
The setup is all in Divergent. Suffice to say the caste system in post-apocalypse Chicago continues to unravel with Jeanine’s (Kate Winslet) murderous fascist dictatorship licensed to massacre as many people as possible. But she’s an intellectual so its okay to hate her.
This time she’s trying to decrypt a message from the Founders in hope of justifying her license to kill, but it turns out she needs a five-star all-talented divergent to unlock it. Hmmm, who do we know who qualifies?
Our heroine Shailene Woodley, as the waif-like Tris Prior, is on the run with her tattooed beau, the ludicrously named Four (Theo James), with post traumatic stress; but that doesn’t stop her getting into the sort of fights that should snap her like a twig on the first punch.
Turns out Tris is The One – oh no, not the bloody One again. Cue five trials in an Inception-inspired virtual reality simulator and a lot more running, jumping, punching in CGI environments that look a lot like Man of Steel. I’ll leave you to guess how that all works out.
Back in the real world, we get lots of aerial shots and underground shots of Divergent Chicago. You’d think somebody would have cleaned up a bit by now. Two hundred years on and most of Chicago looks like a bomb site, apart from the shiny caste corporate skyscrapers. Which would be fine if any of it looked real. No amount of artificial lens flare can cover the artificiality of everything else in shot.
Other than that everyone comes back to do the same as last time. The villains are suitably villainous, murderous and duplicitous, Winslet continues her best Cruella de Ville, and just for a change, some bad guys get summarily executed. Err, not sure this is still 12A territory.
Oh ,and Naomi Watts turns up brunette as Four’s untrustworthy mother (although she insists on calling him Tobias), leading the Factionless rebels living in their designer squalor.
It doesn’t really matter what’s in the message, because the only place to go next is where all good 70’s sitcom’s go when they’ve done everything else – go on holiday. Okay, so it’s a road trip beyond the Wall of giant Venetian blinds, boldly going into whatever’s left of civilisation. Which is exactly where Aeon Flux ended, if I recall. Ho hum. RC
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Akiva Goldsman, Brian Duffield, Mark Bomback
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Running time: 1 hr. 59 min
Related: Mockingjay (2014)