This penultimate installment in the dour dystopian franchise offers stronger visual effects and more thought-provoking biopunk notions about genetic engineering than the two previous films, but even star Shailene Woodley looks bored. In a thinning plot that will somehow be extended into a fourth and final cash grab in 2017, the heroine, her hunky lover (Theo James), her brother (Ansel Elgort), and their friends (Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller) escape an embattled Chicago and discover an ultramodern compound—formerly O’Hare International Airport—where genetically unaltered (or “pure”) individuals observe the genetically altered (or “damaged”) as part of an incubated experiment. Jeff Daniels is a bracing addition as the “genetic welfare” bureaucrat obsessed with the heroine's miraculous purity, and the script raises some intriguing questions (whether harmony can be achieved without struggle, whether divided nations are more peaceful). But cautionary tales about eugenics have been told better in literature (Brave New World) and on film (Gattaca), which leaves Woodley and company to repeat some pretty tired tropes. Robert Schwentke directed; with Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer.
Director: Robert Schwentke
Producer: Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher, Pouya Shahbazian, Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman, Barry Waldman and Neil Burger
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Jeff Daniels, Zoë Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Keiynan Lonsdale, Daniel Dae Kim, Maggie Q, Bill Skarsgård, Jonny Weston, Nadia Hilker, Andy Bean, Ray Stevenson, Mekhi Phifer, Ashley Judd, Rebecca Pidgeon and Xander Berkeley