‘Insurgent’ a ho-hum run through Hollywood’s best green

By Mati Davis, Arts & Culture Editor

Shailene Woodley, playing a woman on the run, looks the leader of the government in the eye, runs at her, crashes through a glass window and suddenly the building  around her explodes into tiny fragments as she falls onto the concrete 1,000 feet below — and lives. Though visually exciting, Insurgent, the second in the Divergent series based on the young-adult sci-fi series by Victoria Roth, is hackneyed to the point of ridiculousness.

  Based around a young heroine with a group of close friends battling an evil regime, these  Hunger Games-esque films offer nothing original.  The heroine fluctuates between self-doubt and selfless courage, but in the end even she remains pretty much the same.

   Also, the story doesn’t quite cohere. The plot holes in this movie are as numerous as potholes in downtown LA: people survive bullets shot straight through their chests, a character survives a fall from a skyscraper onto concrete, and characters who are key to the plot disappear after one minute of screen time.

   Shailene Woodley plays a soft-voiced, whiny, pouty heroine, clumsily named Tris, who has a penchant for a muscular man, devoid of emotion, with an equally insipid name: Four. Together they run, run and run through Hollywood’s best green screens. When they finally get to their destination, they run again.

   The patchwork of a plot is loosely held together by a plethora of unrealistic conflicts; Tris fighting to save her dead mother, Tris fighting and beating soldiers who were stronger and much more experienced than she, and the added cliche of Tris fighting herself.

   With notable exceptions, the acting was unconvincing, unless you enjoy the dull murmuring of Theo James (Four). Exceptions were Kate Winslet and Miles Teller. 

Kate Winslet, as the pragmatic and cruel leader of the government, cleverly balances the emotional and callous aspects of being a leader. Miles Teller whimsically provides comic relief when needed and flip-flops engagingly between devious and good-hearted. The rest of the characters melt into the background.

   The visual effects were passable. I’m not an aficionnado of CGI but the more enhanced scenes looked somewhat realistic.

  The resolution of the movie was very abrupt and it’s unclear if another in the series can be made. Usually, (good) film series end each film with loose ends untied to create suspense for the next one. But Insurgent ends so predictably that it’s hard to imaging stomaching a sequel. Instead of listening to Shailene Woodley’s piercing face cry yet again, see the next Hunger Games.