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8/22/17

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 - REVIEW


The final part of the popular Young Adult movie franchise, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 delivers the war between the tyrannical President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the rebellion led by Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) we were promised.

Picking up soon after Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) returned from the Capitol not only physically drained but psychologically changed also, the film sees the rebellion send a team into the war-torn city in order to show that Katniss is fighting back, thereby inspiring the districts to do the same. She decides to find a way to personally kill Snow no matter what, putting an end to his cruelty once and for all. And since the city is completely booby-trapped, this leads to a somewhat grittier Hunger Games with Katniss' team having to avoid the likes of deadly black goo, sewer zombies and land mines. Before that, Katniss tries to convince another district to join the rebellion and Alma Coin's (Julianne Moore) motives are questioned. The scale of this final instalment is certainly more along the lines of what you'd expect this late in the game. Not that this is really a bombastic war movie as we're mostly focused on a small team engaged in yet another unlikely "game" scenario while the actual war takes place in the background somewhere. The first 45 minutes of the film are very much in the same vein as the last movie in that it's mostly build-up and people looking all kinds of miserable.

Between the war setting, the messier games, Peeta's confused loyalties and Katniss' thirst for revenge, this could have been the best instalment by far. Unfortunately, the film takes too long to get going and when it does, it lacks a critical punch and the whole thing leads to an anti-climactic ending that doesn't really make the series all that worth it. Archery skills-aside, Katniss is once again the least likeable character in the film as most of her time is spent making sad faces while everyone around her tells us she's super smart and a true hero. After the first film, Jennifer Lawrence has been exposed as being probably a little miscast in this role as she increasingly brings less and less to that character. In her hands, Katniss is a criminally dull and bland nothing person who only shows some form of emotion when she's dealing with the forced and unconvincing love triangle she's been saddled with or when she has to be on camera. The really good supporting cast that includes Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final film performance isn't given much to do besides quietly act impressed by whatever Katniss says or does. Luckily, the effects and action sequences are well done, the particularly bloody underground fight scene being the most exciting aspect of the film by far.

Perhaps this is partly the novels' shortcoming but, after a strong start, this series just disintegrates into a non-story about people you don't really care that much about set in a world you don't buy for a second. While maybe not the worst of the bunch, Mockingjay Part 2 is still a mostly vapid effort which will make you wonder why you liked the original film in the first place.

Unimpressive conclusion.

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