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Movie review: Maze Runner: The Death Cure

MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE (PG13)

Rating: 3/5

The Maze Runner (2014) was an interesting and effective sci-fi action flick. It was a box-office hit, and a sequel, The Scorch Trials, quickly followed a year later.

This concluding chapter of the franchise based on James Dashner's novel was meant for a 2017 release, but star Dylan O'Brien met with a bad mishap on the set that halted production, thus causing the delay.

Perhaps because of the delay, I do not remember much of The Scorch Trials. Adding to the problem is that director Wes Ball assumed the story is still fresh in our minds, as The Death Cure picks up straight after the events in film No. 2 without recaps.

The premise here is purely a rescue mission. Thomas (O'Brien) and Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) are determined to rescue Minho (Ki Hong Lee) from the dastardly scientists at WCKD, who are holed up in the fortified Last City and mercilessly putting Minho through a series of lab tests.

Story, characterisation and sci-fi elements - stuff that made the original film exciting - are dropped in exchange for action. It looks like Ball took a page from the Fast And Furious book.

This is a decent conclusion thanks to O'Brien's likeable lead. But it is Brodie-Sangster who captivates and tugs at your heartstrings. - JOANNE SOH

LAST FLAG FLYING (NC16)

Rating: 4/5

This dialogue-heavy road trip sees former Navy Corps medic Larry "Doc" Shepherd (Steve Carell) reunite with ex-comrades Sal Nealon (Bryan Cranston) and Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishburne) to collect the body of his son, who was killed in the 2003 Iraq War.

The film is based on Darryl Ponicsan's 2004 novel, and director Richard Linklater highlights the irreversible losses of war through a grieving father played masterfully by Carell.

From his depressing demeanour to the cracks of every cackle, the sadness conveyed is brutally convincing.

But the film has hilarious moments too, thanks to the immensely entertaining dynamic between the hot-headed Nealon and marine-turned-reverend Mueller, who attempts to be the voice of reason among the three while renouncing his past actions.

Cranston shines in his unpredictable maverick role, which is not over the top, while Fishburne makes for a sympathetic character.

Admittedly, it takes a certain level of patience to appreciate Last Flag Flying's slow pace - a tall order for the mainstream audience.

Yet, it is a fair trade if you can admire its earnest tone that is visceral and truly hits home. - SAMFREY TAN

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