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Film Review: "Insurgent"

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Another in the line of adaptations of dystopian Young-Audlt novels hastily greenlit by studios hoping to capitalize on the success of the "Hunger Games" franchise, the "Divergent" series is precisely the variety that gives the genre a bad name. More than just hopelessly generic, the basic premise of this world -- that in a post-apocalyptic future, society is split into factions based on a single personality trait -- is deeply stupid.

The first film alternated exclusively between exposition and training montages, while "Insurgent" concerns itself with a plot by an icily villainous leader (Kate Winslet) to get her hands on a mysterious box that will supposedly provide her with the means to destroy so-called divergents (individuals who have characteristics attributed to each of the five factions), who she believes threaten the social order. Naturally, the box can only be opened by one of these special few, necessitating the capture of our divergent heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley), since she's the most special of all the specials.

As the second chapter settles into this world, it allows us the opportunity to consider how nonsensical this universe really is, and aside from some nice effects work, director Robert Schwentke brings little of previous helmer Neil Burger's visual flair to distract us. Woodley and the rest of the cast do what they can, but they're left stranded by the dopey material. Whereas "The Hunger Games" finds plenty of real world resonance (quotes from those books were seen scrawled on signs held by protesters in Ferguson), the allegory behind "Insurgent" is depressingly empty.

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