The Divergent Series: Insurgent movie poster
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The Divergent Series: Insurgent
The Divergent Series: Insurgent movie poster

The Divergent Series: Insurgent Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

You don’t have to look any further than Shailene Woodley’s hair than to know that The Divergent Series: Insurgent is a poor man’s version of The Hunger Games, a silly wannabe dystopian young adult action-thriller based on a silly concept that works better in writing than as a live-action movie.

To be more direct, Woodley’s hair is God-awful, and while that alone does not a bad movie make, it’s an indicator that something is off with this ugly franchise.

Insurgent is the sequel to Divergent, and both are about a ruined city in which the last vestiges of humanity live, separated by personality type because that apparently will prevent war from happening. Or something. It really makes no sense, but the Divergent series is a concept piece, meaning you must be willing to buy into the concept for the sake of entertainment value.

I actually enjoyed the first two Divergent books—the third and final book is literally the worst book I have ever read and wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy—and as a result was able to be entertained by the first Divergent movie, as routine as it was. Sadly, Insurgent is much more tedious than the last, no longer able to rely on the cliché-but-entertaining aspects necessary to introduce us to this screwed up world and forced to tell a real story, which it fails miserably at.

Directed by Robert Schwentke, who made the entertaining RED but also the disastrously awful R.I.P.D., Insurgent hops from one meaningless and bland action piece to the next, each dotted with ambitious but not very good visual effects. Whatever blackmail forced Kate Winslet into this franchise managed to snag Naomi Watts this go-around, and both Oscar-winning actresses look confused as to how their agents got them into this mess.

Much of the movie unfortunately takes place inside of Tris’ mind—after all, being “divergent” sort of means being a little more headstrong than the idiots around her—which quickly becomes tedious. A lot of money appears to have been spent on the elaborate “dream” action sequences, even though you a) know that what’s happening has no bearing on the real world; and b) Tris will survive these mind games—in other words, a lot of money appears to have been wasted on nothing of substance.

Ultimately, though, Insurgent just isn’t very interesting, and while it’s clear the filmmakers are trying to deviate from the books to hopefully avoid what occurs in the third book—seriously, anything can be better—the source material gets increasingly thin and has little to offer. Diehard fans of the book may find something to enjoy, but there are much better movies out there like this.

And Jesus, her hair…

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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