Thursday, March 19, 2015




THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT raises the stakes for Tris as she searches for allies and answers in the ruins of a futuristic Chicago. Tris (Woodley) and Four (James) are now fugitives on the run, hunted by Jeanine (Winslet), the leader of the power-hungry Erudite elite. Racing against time, they must find out what Tris's family sacrificed their lives to protect, and why the Erudite leaders will do anything to stop them. Haunted by her past choices but desperate to protect the ones she loves, Tris, with Four at her side, faces one impossible challenge after another as they unlock the truth about the past and ultimately the future of their world. (C) Lionsgate

From IMDB:

Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,273 users Metascore: 46/100 


Average Rating: 4.7/10 | Reviews Counted: 26
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 18

Critics Consensus: Shailene Woodley gives it her all, but Insurgent is still a resounding step back for a franchise struggling to distinguish itself from the dystopian YA crowd.

AUDIENCE SCORE 97% want to see
Average Rating: 4/5 | User Ratings: 40,451


This man has the douchebag bad guy role down pat. Very hate-able. ©Lionsgate


So yeah, Divergent was showing on IMAX also I checked out the IMDB page for both movies and both had early ratings out and Divergent was much higher. Also I'm sort of tired of watching horror movies because they're pretty much the same thing, same story, same scare tactics. And since Demonic was done by pretty much the same folks that did a number of horror movies I saw last year I figured might as well try for something new or new-ish. 

Before we go any further I have a few things to tell you, this may of course color how you read my review and what you think of my opinion of it. I have not seen the first installment of this series, that is I have not seen Divergent (2014). Not even five minutes of it. I may have seen the trailer of it somewhere but I can't even be sure of that. Do I know anything about it? Well, yes. I know what it's about. Sort of. I know it's based off a popular series of books targeted at young adults. I know that it's been compared to the series of movies that stars Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games. And I know a few other things as well. But I have not seen it, ever. Nor have I read a single page of any of the books.

So this review will be based entirely on it's own merit. So there. 

They're running in an open area and dozens of baddies are shooting at them and every one of them misses. They must train with the Imperial Storm Troopers. ©Lionsgate

Ok so from what I gather off the interwebs is that this movie takes place three days after the events whatever happened in the first movie. From what I can gather of the first, Tris goes from nobody to being decided she should be part of a faction and then finding out that she fits into more than one faction and this is a problem. The 'factions' are people who are grouped together based on a common personality trait. This dystopian society's leaders believe that organizing people in this way is the best way to maintain peace. Of course, there are those that don't believe this and those people all volunteer to join a group called creatively the, Factionless. Then there are those that fit into more than one category and they're called the Divergents. These people are the the troublemakers. Anyway, when young people are a certain age they go through, I guess initiation rights to identify which faction they belong to and to nobody's surprise the main character Tris turns out to be a Divergent. She fits into everywhere which means that she doesn't feel like she fits in. I'm guessing. Also, there's this crazy lady who's the overall boss of sorts who doesn't like the Divergents and are actively trying to root them out. She's got a plan of sorts. I guess the first movie doesn't cover it. I don't know.

The go to Candor Town and walk around like they did nothing wrong and no one's looking for them. Sound silly to you? ©Lionsgate


Well, at the end of the first movie some stuff has happened, I'm guessing lots of shooting and killing and Tris and her group of renegades or Factionless or something are all on the run from the big mean boss lady played by Kate Winslet. They end up in the area where the faction called Amity live. The Amity faction are pacifist of sorts and have a very accepting way of living life. They aren't welcomed at first but for whatever reason are allowed to find refuge there. Also at this point Tris played by Shailene Woodley is having very, very bad nightmares where she dreams of dead people, like her mother and a guy named Will. Meanwhile, the big bad lady's soldiers are going through the ruins of what was once a small little town looking for something, which of course they find. Or at least this guy named Eric played by Jai Courtney finds it. He's the douchebag bad guy character. I remember seeing him in the trailer for the first one, I think. Anyway, what he finds is a box or cylinder actually with five sides. His buddy played by Mekhi Phifer immediately goes off to tell the bad lady of what they've found.

Later back at the bad lady's place of business we find out that the box was left by the founders of this fractured society and that they've left a message in it. But of course the box is locked and the only way to open it is to get a divergent and plug him into it. Sort of like Neo and the Matrix. So she tells her soldiers to round up all the divergents.

The people of Candor apparently don't lie. That alone makes this story hard to believe. ©Lionsgate

Back at Amity town, Tris is feeling restless. She wants to go back and do bad things to the bad lady since the bad lady caused her mother's death and also lots of other people to die too. So add that to the fact that she has bad dreams and she's on edge. So at lunch she gets into a fight with Peter played by Miles Teller, it's understandable though since Peter is a bit of an insensitive douche that picks on her about how she's the reason why everyone's dead. She swipes him with a dinner fork then pushes the table on top of him and straddles him with a knife. This gets all the runaways in trouble with the Amity town's female boss. So she calls them up to her office which is in a really nice looking barn/stable. While they're there being told they're no longer welcome to stay a big bunch of the bad lady's soldiers come crashing into the compound. They're looking for divergents.

The Amity boss goes down to meet with them while the factionless divergents wait upstairs. The soldiers start rounding up the Amity folk and start scanning them to see if any of them are divergent. Eric being the douche that he is scans the Amity boss to see if she's a divergent and the notices that she seems to be reluctant to move away from the front of the stable so he goes in to check things out. Noticing this, Four played by Theo James, tells the rest they need to get out and suggests they go out the window. So out they go when suddenly Peter starts screaming for Eric the douche. The bolt for it and run for the woods. The soldiers run after them shooting. They end up in a clearing and in the distance they see a train coming. They run and shoot, they hit some soldiers but all those soldier don't hit anything. Tris and Caleb played by Ansel Elgort run ahead while Four lays down some cover fire. When they cross the train tracks Four conveniently runs out of ammo, Tris starts shooting at the soldiers so that Four can run towards them and wouldn't you know it the train is coming but of course Four runs fast enough to jump over the tracks before getting hit by the train. The soldiers keep shooting and surprisingly they hit the train and make huge holes in the side. Eric the douche is not happy.

The weapons in this movie do look pretty good though. But only the one in this picture. ©Lionsgate

In the train they realize they're not alone. Caleb tries to make peace but they end up fighting with the folks on the train. This is where Caleb bludgeons a man to death. His first kill. He doesn't like the feeling. The fighting only stops when Four tells the train gang leader his name. Apparently the people on the train are from Factionless and not just train hobos and also apparently the Factionless have been looking for him. So they take the trio to the home of the Factionless and we meet the boss lady of the Factionless who turns out to be Four's mother. She abandoned him when he was young to live with his abusive father. Apparently mommy didn't fit in and decided leaving a baby with an abusive man in a society that's fractured and has rules to keep it fractured is a good thing. Anyway, I'm surprised that Four even remembers her since we hear him say she abandoned him when he was six. While there we also learn that Four's mommy doesn't like the bad lady and has ambitions to overthrow her and destroy the current society's rules and norms. Also that Four thinks she wants to be overlord of this new society once bad lady is gone.

The trio doesn't stay long though and after another night of bad dreams for Tris they leave for the city of Candor to look for the rest of the Dauntless. On the way there, Caleb tells Tris that he doesn't want to join them and that he doesn't share their goals. So of Tris and Four go to find the Dauntless. In Candor they find their Dauntless friends apparently hanging around in front of a big white building. Also Tris is greeted by Christina played by Zoë Kravitz who asks her about Will. She tells her he's okay but of course she's lying. As they walk around inside the big white building in Candor they get stopped by armed men who take them to the boss of Candor Town, a man named Jack Kang played by Daniel Dae Kim.

We are led to believe that somehow Four and Peter planned all this. Again, I find that hard to believe but wasn't all that surprised. ©Lionsgate

Jack tells them that they're under arrest since there's a bulletin out about them being rebels who just destroyed a town, or something like that. Four argues with him about where the best place to get a fair trial is and Jack agrees that that place is right there in Candor since everyone is basically a truth-teller. But if they are to stand trial in Candor then they will be administered with a truth serum which makes them tell the truth or it hurts like hell. So they do it. And during Tris's turn she tells Jack what he wants to know and basically tells the world as well as Christina that she killed Will. Jack now trusts Four and Tris and give them refuge in Candor.

Meanwhile bad lady is plugging in the divergents her soldiers have found into the cube/cylinder thing and having them run through the simulations it has to unlock it. Most die. She tells them to look for more.

Back at Candor and it's night and the bad lady's soldiers mount a midnight raid. They shoot everyone with tranquilizers that apparently knock everyone but divergents out. So Tris escapes and makes for the armory. Just before she can get at any weapon, Eric shows up. She's dragged into a hall with a few other people who didn't fall asleep and Eric begins to scan each of them to see how divergent they are. The first guy he scans turns out to only be 10% divergent so he shoots him in the head. He moves on to a little girl and she's only 40% and just as he's about to shoot her Tris lunges at him. This happens with her hand tied behind her back and she's on her knees about 10 feet away surrounded by armed soldiers. Eric of course beats the crap out of her but just as he's about to have a lot of fun doing it, Four shows up with reinforcements. He and Eric have words and then executes Eric for all the people that he's killed. They go back to Factionless HQ and Four tells mommy that he agrees to help her take down bad lady.

Meanwhile Peter shows up at bad lady's office and asks for a job.

That cube thing there was left by the Founders of this society. How long ago? I heard something like 200 years being mentioned. Again, hard to believe. ©Lionsgate

Later that evening as everyone is either chilling or getting ready for the upcoming battle, the calm/preparation is broken when three girls, one of them Christina, are heard chanting something along the lines of, more will die if Tris doesn't surrender herself to bad lady. Why? Because bad lady now knows that Tris is 100% divergent after Eric managed to scan her before getting his ass kicked and executed. Tris not wanting anyone else to die for her sneaks out of Factionless HQ and heads to bad lady's lair. When she arrives there she's immediately taken into custody and surprise, surprise Peter is there too. Bad lady doesn't wait long before she plugs Tris into the cube/cylinder.

Tris turns out to be the one to no ones surprise and manages to go through four of the five simulations to unlock the cube/cylinder. Oh yeah, she also finds out that Caleb now works for bad lady. He's got this idea that working for her is for the greater good, to keep the current status quo as it were. And also the simulation that Tris goes through have themes based off the traits of the five factions present in this movie.

As mentioned above, Tris is about done with the fourth simulation and about to start the final simulation when Caleb notices that she's almost dying. Bad lady reluctantly stops the simulation. Tris is taken back to her cell to recover. When she wakes up Caleb is sitting across the room. Tris ask him why join the bad lady and Caleb tells her. Not long after Peter and a few other guards come to take Tris back to the simulation room. On the way there Peter shows Tris that Four is now the bad lady's captive then jabs something in Tris's back.

You see this in the trailer. It's one of the first simulations that Tris has to pass to unlock the cube. It wasn't all that impressive. ©Lionsgate

Back in the simulation room Tris is about to finish the final lock when she suddenly drops dead. Bad lady is disappointed and tells the soldiers to look for more divergents. Peter is in charge of taking Tris's dead body away but stops in front of Four's jail cell to show him Tris's dead body. Of course Four goes crazy at his insults and attacks Peter but just then Tris wakes up. Turns out that Peter and Four have been planning this all along and when Peter jabbed Tris in the back it was to put a drug into her.

Four tells Tris that they need to get out but Tris says no and tells him that she needs to finish the simulations. She thinks she knows what the cube is about. So Four tells Peter to go back and unlock some doors and he and Tris head for the simulation room. Peter heads to the control room to move Four's prison files into the administration folder so that he can unlock doors.

Now plugged into the cube Tris battles the final simulation themed after the Amity faction. She battles herself. It doesn't take her long though and she unlocks the hidden message in the cube. Turns out that the founders lied about there being nothing but toxic desert beyond the city walls and that their whole civilization and faction way of doing things was just an experiment to develop divergents. The founders believe that these divergents were the key to future. And now that the message has been found that they can all go beyond the wall.

Bad lady doesn't like what she hears. She believed that the cube would tell her how to get rid of divergents and maintain the status quo. She orders the cube to be buried and forever forgotten. But just then Four's mommy and her Factionless army show up and take the bad lady away. Four posts the founders cube message all over the place. In the end Tris says she's scared and wonders what will happen next. Pretty much everyone everywhere starts walking towards the city walls.

The end.

They drag her out past the other cells so that she can see that Four has been captured. So what a surprise when Four was used to get Tris to do what they want. ©Lionsgate

Didn't see Divergent so what did I think of Insurgent?

Not having the original to compare it to, this movie for me lies somewhere between mediocre and decent. Nowhere near good. I sat throughout the whole movie just not being moved, impressed, excited or anything at all. The only thing I found mildly amusing were the scenes with Miles Teller who plays Peter. Kid can act even when he has so little lines. The rest of the cast? Well, Shailene Woodley can't pull of her character very well in my opinion, she's not believable when she kicks ass either. Didn't enjoy her performance at all. Same goes for Theo James, just nothing in his performance to latch on to. Basically what I'm trying to say I guess is that when it comes to character development there's nothing much to sink your teeth into. At the end of the movie I couldn't be bothered about what happens to them. Maybe if I watched the first movie I might have felt something but looking at their performance in this one, I doubt it. Even the established actors in this movie didn't make it any better. It's like they signed up for this to get some extra cash or maybe get their name in the heads of the young people that will go watch this movie. Who knows?

The story? Well, that didn't do much for me either. A society founded a few hundreds years ago that turns out to be an experiment to look for special people that didn't fit into clearly defined moulds? A society that has been told that outside those high walls there's absolutely nothing and if you go there you'll die and of course everyone obeys including the so called Factionless and all those Divergents? Seriously? Actual Divergents and other people that don't fit would've gone to that wall and be curious as hell as to what was really on the other side. Someone from one of these people would have found out the truth. To believe that these Factionless and Divergents who based on their classification clearly mean they don't follow rules somehow never broke that rule about the wall for hundreds of years is ridiculous. If they didn't then they deserve to live forever in this retarded experiment of the founders. Hell, if I was a founder I'd give up on them after the first couple of years. And that's just one of the things that makes this movie seem ridiculous. There are lots of things that make this movie ridiculous.

Throughout the whole simulation segment it felt like I was watching something like the Matrix. ©Lionsgate

I mean there's nothing wrong with a ridiculous story line, Look at the Fast and Furious series, each one has a ridiculous storyline and for the most part even more ridiculous car related antics and yet it is entertaining. Same thing with Micheal Bay movies but Divergent isn't like that. I didn't enjoy the ridiculousness. It was sort of bland. No real ups or downs. Nothing that excited me or moved me. Surprising even more when you're watching it on an IMAX screen.

Basically, this wasn't a good movie. Like I said up there it's somewhere between mediocre and decent and that's being generous. My guess is if you enjoyed the first one you'll enjoy this one. If you didn't enjoy the first one then you probably won't enjoy this one. I don't know. But if you've never seen the first one and for whatever reason are watching this one to see what the fuss is about without watching the first one you probably won't be impressed. And if you haven't seen the first one and don't plan to, don't worry about missing out on anything. The story is so simple even without watching the first one you'll catch up real quick. If this is what gets young adults to the cinema then good for them. But, bad for the rest of us who want a good story, decent acting and decent action.

The last simulation she has to fight herself. You'd think there'd be an epic battle but no. And then the movie ends and I still couldn't care less. ©Lionsgate

My suggestion is if you want to watch Shailene Woodley in something, avoid these kinds of movies. I think she's more suited to rom-coms or stuff like The Fault in Our Stars. The rest I don't know. Except of course for Miles Teller, he's good especially in Whiplash. I think he's got a pretty good career ahead of him.

To sum it up, I'd give this movie a 2 out of 5. Only go watch this if you're a fan of the first one. If not, go watch everything else first before you watch this.



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