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Review: The Maze Runner is a taut, edge-of-the-seat action flick

Last updated on: September 19, 2014 18:07 IST

A scene from The Maze RunnerIf dystopian post-apocalyptic films are your thing, swing by at your nearest cinema this weekend, says Abhishek Mande Bhot.

Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up with no memory of his past, smack in the middle of a huge maze.

Around him are a bunch of boys who've landed in the clearing they call the Glade in pretty much the same manner.

This week's release The Maze Runner, an adaptation of the book by the same name, starts in medias res and the audience, just as the boys in the maze, must wait, at the edge of their seats, to get their heads around this dystopian setup.

The boys have rather nicely divided themselves into groups taking charge of various day-to-day activities based on their skills.

One group, the athletic of them all, sets out every morning to map the maze but must return before sundown or be killed by the 'Grievers' who are revealed to be cyborg spiders.

The only things we (and the boys) know about the maze are:

a. It constantly keeps changing
b. The Grievers move around it in the night and will kill you if they spot you
c. No one has survived a night in the maze

By the time Thomas arrives on the scene, it has been three long years.

Needless to say, our young hero's arrival and his revolutionary idea of going after the Grievers changes things a fair bit in the Glade, disturbing the established order, much to Gally's displeasure.

Will Poulter plays Gally -- a revolutionary without a cause and no vision for the future.

We've seen Poulter earlier in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and the young British actor seems set to be the next villain-to-watch-out-for.

Another familiar face in the film but one who leaves no impression whatsoever is that of Thomas Sangster, the young boy in Love Actually and The Last Legion playing Dylan O'Brien's sidekick and one who I hope has a slightly more significant role to play in the sequels.

Also reduced to being a sidekick to Dylan O'Brien's Thomas is Teresa (played by Kaya Scodelario).

In a sense the film does belong to O'Brien, who carries it rather ably on his 23-year-old shoulders.

The Maze Runner does away with all the conventions of a young adult film.

There is no romance and coochie-cooing and the arrival of a girl in an all-boys village does not cause any sexual tension or jealousy whatsoever (thank you good lord).

Unlike most post-apocalyptic films, The Maze Runner also does not bother getting into explaining back story until the very end (because, come on, they're all pretty much the same) and dedicates only a few minutes to it.

Which helps it become a taut, edge-of-the-seat action film -- the kind you should consider swinging by to this weekend.

It is however not a film meant for kids.

The film doesn't flinch when killing little children and though the cyborg spiders can tend to look meh, I am not quite sure your little ones are going to enjoy this one.

So it is three out of five stars for The Maze Runner, which I hope will also be part of a trilogy much like the book.

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Abhishek Mande-Bhot/Rediff.com in Mumbai
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