Review: Hunger Games stays ahead of the pack until the end

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Matt Adcock reviews The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (12A)

The end of the games is upon us and this time it’s war. The heroic ‘Mockingjay’ herself Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer ‘soon to be in X-Men Apocalypse’ Lawrence) leads the charge to try and take down evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

But her small band of resistance fighters, who include love interest options - the troubled Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and the dashing Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) will have to fight every step of the way.

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Things get messy though as Snow has rigged the Capitol with booby traps that turn the final assault into a twisted echo of the original Hunger Games. This really ups the excitement factor though as the team face flamethrowers, heavy auto-guns, tidal waves of oil and hidden mines – it’s compelling stuff.

You don’t have to have read Suzanne Collins’s best selling novel to realise that there may well be casualties on both sides before we get to the conclusion.

The stand-out scene for me was a breathtaking chase through the sewers where Katniss and her young soldiers are pursued by vicious ‘mutts’ - a kind of cross between fast running zombies and the aliens from the Alien films. Indeed, the scenes of the heroes standing in water-filled tunnels desperately firing their weapons at the cunning, seemingly unstoppable creatures will resonate with fans of the sci-fi classic Aliens.

If the odds weren’t bad enough for any sort of happy ending, Julianne Moore’s rebel leader Alma Coin begins to seem worryingly like another dictator in waiting. Is Katniss unwittingly trying to remove one despot only to empower a new tyrant? War, it seems, never changes.

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Mockingjay Part 2 is without doubt the best of the Hunger Games films since the plucky original but it fails to be the absolute classic it could have been due to the money-grabbing ‘split it into two films just to maximise profits’ trend that we have Harry Potter to thank for starting.

If you’ve seen any of the wave of dystopian-future-em-ups then this rousing finale sees off challenges by the Divergent and Maze Runner wannabes and claims the prize as the best of the genre.

Only time will tell if a new contender arises, but for now go and enjoy the games and may the odds be ever in your favour.

* Tweet Matt at @Cleric20

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