Tag Archives: Dylan O’Brien

Infinite (2021) Review

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Infinite

Time: 106 minutes
Cast:
Mark Wahlberg as Evan McCauley (Treadway 2020)
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Bathurst 2020
Sophie Cookson as Nora Brightman
Jason Mantzoukas as the Artisan
Rupert Friend as Bathurst 1985
Toby Jones as Bryan Porter
Dylan O’Brien as Heinrich Treadway
Director: Antoine Fuqua

Haunted by memories of places he’s never visited, a man (Mark Wahlberg) joins forces with a group of reborn warriors to stop a madman from destroying the endless cycle of life and reincarnation.

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I hadn’t heard about Infinite until the day it was released on Neon (a New Zealand streaming service)). It was quite surprising really, considering it is directed by Antoine Fuqua (whose work I like) and stars Mark Wahlberg in the lead role. As it turns out, Infinite was going to have a theatrical release, but it was dumped onto Paramount+ at the last second. I usually have a different opinion on situations like this, but after seeing Infinite, I actually feel like they made the right decision. It really does feel like another average and forgettable action movie with big stars dumped onto a streaming service. Even as someone who didn’t have any expectations going (in aside from the people involved), I was still disappointed with what I saw.

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To get this out of the way, Infinite is very derivative of other similar sci-fi action movies, definitely taking a lot from The Matrix and Wanted at the very least. Being derivative isn’t inherently bad though, in fact I thought the movie had an interesting premise. It’s essentially about a war between 2 groups of people, believers and nihilists, who both reincarnate endlessly while retaining memories of their past lives. When it begins, it’s not great by any means but it seems promising. However it’s not too long before the movie manages to take its somewhat interesting premise, and execute it in the most boring and forgettable way. Despite everything, the movie is very uneventful. Much of it is Mark Wahlberg going on a mission to discover himself and realise that his dreams are memories, not dreams. He begins to remember his past lives, and this organisation of believers is trying to help him remember so that they can find a particular important item. It really does feel generic and uninspiring throughout, even shockingly boring. The script feels like a first draft at best, and the movie does a lot of telling rather than showing. There is so much exposition dumped on you, explaining characters, the world, etc. The dialogue itself is very awkward and tonally confused as well. It’s impossible to get invested in what’s going on. The worldbuilding isn’t anything to ride home about either, you’ve seen these types of stories done many times before, and done a lot better. The movie feels longer beyond its 106 minute runtime, and for much of it, it’s rather dull. Towards the end, my interest picked up slightly for the climactic action, but that was it.

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There are some talented actors involved but the characters and writing doesn’t allow any of them to give good performances. This has to be one of the most uninterested performances I’ve seen from Mark Wahlberg. In all fairness, he feels very miscast, from the voiceover narration, to the attempts at humour, to the attempts at drama. In the movie, Wahlberg’s previous life is played by Dylan O’Brien, who has 5 minutes of screentime. He doesn’t get to do a lot outside of some action, but I wish he played the role throughout the whole movie, because he already seemed more fitting. Sophie Cookson was good in the Kingsman movies, but here she’s basically reduced to some passable action sequences and delivering a ton of exposition dumps. There’s really only two performances here that I liked, both of them play their parts in an energetic and silly way that it genuinely made the movie more enjoyable to watch. Jason Mantzoukas hams it up in a supporting role, and Chiwetel Ejiofor gives a very passionate and scene chewing performance as the villain. It is commendable that Chiwetel commits to this role considering how silly the character it is. The villain’s big scheme to end the world is just dumb and not well put together, but the performance made him enjoyable to watch.

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I like Antoine Fuqua as a director, and him helming this movie is what got me interested in it. However this is by far his worst work, at least of the films I’ve seen from him. The visuals are very drab and grey, right out of a straight to DVD or streaming movie. There are some action sequences, and I will say that they aren’t bad. Some of them are well put together, however they do feel quite stale and the editing can be clunky. It is strange considering that Fuqua is pretty reliable when it comes to action. The only action scene that really stood out to me was in the third act involving a plane, which was genuinely quite fun to watch.

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Infinite is currently the worst movie from 2021 I’ve seen, and unfortunately by far the worst I’ve seen from Antoine Fuqua thus far. Even as someone who went into this movie literally the same day I knew of its existence, I was quite disappointed by the end result. It’s not memorable enough for me to really dislike it, it very much is a forgettable straight to streaming action flick. A couple of the performances are enjoyable and some the action is fun, but otherwise it doesn’t really get anything right.

The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (2015) Review

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Maze Runner; The Scorch Trials

Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Dylan O’Brien as Thomas
Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt
Ki Hong Lee as Minho
Kaya Scodelario as Teresa Agnes
Rosa Salazar as Brenda
Jacob Lofland as Aris Jones
Giancarlo Esposito as Jorge
Aidan Gillen as Janson
Dexter Darden as Frypan
Alexander Flores as Winston
Barry Pepper as Vince
Lili Taylor as Mary Cooper
Patricia Clarkson as Ava Paige
Director: Wes Ball

In this next chapter of the epic “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all.

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I wasn’t very impressed with 2014’s Maze Runner, I thought it was quite predictable and I didn’t really care about what was going on, although it did have some good elements, such as the action and some of the performances were good. With Scorch Trials however, the Maze Runner franchise looks to be on the improvement. It still has its problems with its characterisation and character development, as well as having a lot of plot holes but I have to give credit to the people involved for creating an improved sequel.

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Like with the first Maze Runner I didn’t really follow the story that well but I could just go with it. There are still plenty of plot holes, most of them come from the previous film’s ending, that being I’m pretty sure that WCKD (not a very subtle villainous corporation name by the way) could test children more easily by testing them in smaller rooms and not build giant mazes that would be more time and money consuming. The characterization like in the first film wasn’t that strong, I didn’t feel like I knew any of the main characters, except for Thomas but even then you don’t really learn much about him. The movie also did feel a little long at 2 hours 15 minutes, there were a few moments in the final act that they could’ve ended the film and I think that would’ve worked better. And yes, this film does have the type of ‘there’s going to be another one’ ending, like the first film’s ending, however it’s not as bad here.

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Dylan O’Brien and the rest of the cast do a good job. I felt that I didn’t emphasise enough in my review of the first film that the cast did a good job, it’s just that the characters they played weren’t that interesting. I actually started to slightly care about the characters, which was a huge improvement over the original where I didn’t care at all what happened to them. I thought that Aidan Gillen and Giancarlo Esposito were great additions to the franchise (though that’s partially because Gillen is in Game of Thrones and Esposito is in Breaking Bad). I do genuinely think they did great jobs with what they had to work with and I’m looking forward to see them in the sequel.

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The film looked quite good and had some great cinematography, especially with its action scenes. The action scenes, like in the previous film was great and again are the best part of the movie. The zombies (I don’t remember what they are called in the movie) in the first half looked practical and real, and I thought they were quite effective. However in the second half, they swapped them for CGI, and I didn’t really understand why, it did sort of take me out of the movie.

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Although I wouldn’t call this film great, I will say that it was surprising and better than I thought it would be. This movie was definitely better than the first film, probably because it already had ‘established’ characters and the plot seemed to be moving forward faster. Maybe the next and final sequel might actually be great and even if it isn’t, it’s at the very least the first young adult franchise to not have a last instalment that’s broken into 2 parts, I’ll give Maze Runner credit for that.

The Maze Runner (2014) Review

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The Maze Runner

Time: 113 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] ViolenceCast:
Dylan O’Brien as Thomas
Kaya Scodelario as Teresa
Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt
Ki Hong Lee as Minho
Will Poulter as Gally
Patricia Clarkson as Ava Paige
Director: Wes Ball

Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in “The Glade” for three years, trying to find a way to escape through the Maze that surrounds their living space. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note (Kaya Scodelario), and their world begins to change.

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Young adult book adaptations seem to be all the rage now, with franchises like Harry Potter and Hunger Games. However as more of these franchises came out, I’ve been less and less interested like with Divergent and now Maze Runner. However, even Divergent, which is a series that I consider to be just okay, still manages to be better than The Maze Runner. The upcoming movie titled the Scorched Trials has potential to be better than this film but we’ll just have to see. The Maze Runner despite having great action scenes and an interesting premise has one dimensional characters, a surprisingly uninteresting and predictable story, and I didn’t really feel for any of the characters. It’s around this point that I’m starting to feel sceptical about any young adult adaptations.

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For a movie about teenagers stuck in an isolated location, I wasn’t really invested in the story. It didn’t help that this movie was so predictable, and a mystery movie shouldn’t be predictable. A big part of it is that it has so many clichés, many of them are in young adult book adaptations, I could probably list the entire review with them if I wanted. The only young adult cliché that isn’t repeated here is the love triangle. What really fails the movie is the ending as not only is the ending pretty much “There’s gonna be another movie” but it just makes no sense when you find out what happened and why the characters are where they are.

In this image released by 20th Century Fox, Dylan O'Brien appears in a scene from "The Maze Runner." (AP Photo/20th Century Fox, Ben Rothstein)

One of the biggest failures of this movie are the characters. The actors hold up pretty well but they play some of the most one dimensional characters I’ve seen in a movie. Dylan O’Brien plays a generic hero whose only characteristic is that he’s heroic and we also have Will Poulter, whose job is to be the generic bully (but actually has more to work with than the other actors). Also the girl played by Kaya Scodelario is supposedly an important character but once she comes into play, her importance disappears in the next scene. Eventually we do find out her significance but that’s really done as backstory, she doesn’t do anything of significance. I don’t really remember any of the characters other than those three previously mentioned. I didn’t really feel like I knew the characters, so when some of them are being killed off, I didn’t feel anything for them.

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The effects and action scenes are the best part of this movie. Everything looks on a grand scale and the film is (fortunately) well shot and made the scenes really intense. Also the actors do actually sell the action scenes quite well, that’s sadly the best they did in this movie.

The Maze Runner, 2014

The Maze Runner was one of the weakest young adult adaptations I’ve seen but it’s not bad. I’m still hoping that the series can improve because I wasn’t very impressed by its first film. Even Divergent for all its faults had good acting and some three dimensional characters. Even if the story wasn’t riveting, it was still more interesting than Maze Runner’s. I’ve heard the books are great but judging the film as a film, it’s not that great. I just hope that the sequels finally get it right.