Let me state that I have not read any of James Patterson's books but that I have seen Kiss the Girls, Along Came a Spider and Alex Cross. Those films showed enough to tell me that he is an adequate writer of thrillers. Naturally that doesn't automatically mean he also writes good young adult novels. Although at first glance browsing the net it does look like the books are popular. So how does this adaptation fare?
To put it bluntly. Terrible. It's a real disaster. And I am pretty sure it is not the source material. It's the inexperience of director Jay Martin and the obviously low budget. Now I could have added the acting but considering what the young adults had to work with they did the best they could. It's not their fault that they don't come across as the dangerous weapons they are supposed to be. In one scene particular the cause of this becomes quite clear. Our main character Max (played by Allie Marie Evans) tries to rescue on of her own by swooping in from flight and kick the bejesus out of one of the goons. In theory this sounded great and up until the flaw it looked great. The flaw however ruined the awesomeness of the moment big time since it was so poorly executed that it made me wonder how much budget they actually had for the film. And what exactly was this flaw? You could clearly see that actress Allie was on a wire and had trouble balancing herself. The idea was for her to kick straight. Instead she retracts the leg like it was the first time she was doing this. You know what? They probably were on such a tight schedule that they did not do retakes. Basically the whole film feels like it's rushed through. Not enough time is taken to choreograph essential elements like the action and the stunts from what I understood one of the main draws of the books. It's almost like they wanted this film to fail. Although I think some of the people involved did want to make the most of it since Peter O' Brien as Jeb tried real hard to bring what was needed resulting in one of the best scenes this movie had to offer.
The story itself had the potential to become something like The Divergent , The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games. I mean the tale has all the ingredients of those film franchises combined with some super hero elements. That alone should have been enough for the big studios to invest into this. How could they not see that this movie was begging for high octane blockbuster spectacle? As it is now I can't recommend this one bit.