This is a sequel to 2012's HUNGER GAMES, and is set in the same future world: a post-apocalyptic world where an Empire, called Panem, has imposed peace on the survivors only to decay into brutal tyranny. The symbol of the tyranny is the Hunger Games, a gladiator-type combat where only one "victor" is permitted and the rest of the fighters die. To keep the flow of victims coming, 12 districts of Panem are required each year to supply a teenage boy and girl for the fight, ostensibly as punishment for decades-old rebellion. The theme of this movie is the moral issues over how to oppose such tyranny. Katniss Everdeen ( Jennifer Lawrence), the spirited girl who won the previous year's Games, wishes to stop the oppression, but fears that outright revolution will hurt too many people. There is another character (whom I won't identify to avoid spoilers) who doesn't care how many people are hurt as long as the revolution is advanced. Many of the subjects of the Empire are resigned to submitting until some messianic deliverer will appear. Meanwhile the ruthless President-for-life Coriolanus Snow ( Donald Sutherland) is determined to destroy the rebels before they can get organized. Who will win out? Therein lies the suspense. There are enough special effects to make the futuristic background and technology credible without overwhelming the movie. Aside from Lawrence and Sutherland as the impressive antagonists, the movie has a strong supporting cast: Woody Harrelson as Katniss's shrewd but alcoholic mentor; Liam Hemworth and Josh Hutcherson as two boys representing the aggressive vs sensitive sides of Katniss's character; Elizabeth Banks as a kindly but naive woman oblivious to the tyranny; Oscar-winner Philip Hoffman as Snow's Machiavellian adviser, and Sam Clafin, Jeffrey Wright, and Jena Malone as formidable former victors drawn into the conflict. The movie's only real flaw is that being part of a continuing story keeps the plot from being resolved in the end.
2 hr 26 mins
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