Matt Adcock at the cinema: Insurgent review

In the near future, a girl named Tris (Shailene Woodley) is on a mission to stand against the corrupt draconian government led by the evil Jeanine (Kate Winslet).

Tris can do this because she’s a ‘Divergent’, a person who exhibits powers from across the spectrum of Factions – the groups that people are divided into from which to service society.

So the youth friendly sci-fi dystopian novel series is back for a second big screen instalment. Insurgent sees the action pick up directly following the events of Divergent – with Tris and her hunky boyfriend Four (Theo James) having begun to take the fight back against the Erudite oppressors.

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Jeanine’s army are busy hunting down Divergents and searching for a strange totem box that might carry an important message from the founders of their society. Cue lots of running and negotiating between the heroic teens and the various people who might be able to help them survive.

The Divergent series is a strange cinematic beast as it feels a bit ‘me too’ in the shadow of The Hunger Games – but it delivers an interesting ‘what if?’ take on a broken society without ever really commanding much real emotion from the viewers.

It all looks good – as you’d expect from a film with a decent budget – but the direction from Robert Schwentke is more from his awful R.I.P.D. than his fun RED and it will take something quite miraculous from the final double bill of movies, ‘Allegiant – parts one and two’, to make this series go out with a bang.

Positives to be found here though are mostly from the female leads with Woodley making a gorgeous heroine and Winslet offering up a fun campy baddie. There are some cool action scenes peppered throughout, but even these could have done with a 15 rating to allow them more of a visceral punch. James is a decent potential action hero, too. It will be interesting to see what he can bring to the Underworld series that is rumoured to be being rebooted.

Perhaps the “One choice can destroy you” strapline should have been taken to heart by the makers as their ‘safe’ choices see Insurgent never really ‘fire’ in the way that other series’ have.

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