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Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
12.13.2016
9 10

PLOT: When an Imperial defector claims there are secret plans to the Death Star that reveal a weakness, the Rebellion recruits the daughter (Felicity Jones) of the man who built the weapon and a hard-bitten Rebel spy (Diego Luna) to steal the plans and get them back to the Rebellion.

REVIEW: Like many of you, I was a bit wary of ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, mostly due to those pesky re-shoot rumors surrounding Tony Gilroy and credited director Gareth Edwards. Having finally seen the film, I shouldn’t have worried and whatever post-production complications there were, they aren’t reflected in the movie itself.

This is exactly what Edwards always said he was going to make - a STAR WARS war film. While there’s no opening crawl, make no mistake - this is a STAR WARS movie. A true ensemble in the mold of WW2 adventure classics like THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, ROGUE ONE is grittier fare than you’d expect. People die, and tears are shed. Anyone who thought it would be watered-down should think again.

While Felicity Jones’s Jyn Erso is the beating pulse of the film, and a terrific character to hang the premise on, the ensemble nature of the film is being undersold somewhat. In fact, Diego Luna’s Rebel spy, Cassian Andor is just as central, having easily as much screen-time as she does. Her journey is relatively familiar for STAR WARS in that it doesn’t take long for her hard-bitten pragmatist to be won over. However, Andor is a far-different hero then we’ve seen before, being a cold-blooded killer willing to do whatever it takes to help the Rebellion win. That same goes for Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, who’s an even more cold-blooded anti-Imperialist, that even the rebellion doesn’t trust. All three of them are great and give the film some real flavor, something we don’t always get in big-budget tentpoles.

All that said, the real cult heroes are going to be three of the supporting characters. Like BB-8,, it’s the droid here that steals the show, with Alan Tudyk voicing K2-SO, who seems like a more bad ass version of C-3P0, using a similar British accent, but coming off as cooler a character than 3P0 ever did. If R2D2 could talk, he’d sound like K2-SO. Of course, Donnie Yen is legendarily cool, as is his onscreen pal, played by Mainland Chinese superstar Jiang Wen. The two play what seem like the Shaolin Monks of the Force. While Yen’s character has enough ability or awareness of the force that his blindness is only a mild handicap, Jiang’s character is more cynical and has completely given up on the Force. The make for a fun pair, with Yen getting more humor than you’d think. Also, watching him demolish stormtroopers with Kung-Fu is a seminal geek moment.

As the baddie, Ben Mendelsohn is as good as one might hope, but it’s hard to get too into his role without getting into spoiler territory, so a more comprehensive run-down will have to wait (a more detailed review will be posted Friday). Suffice to say, this gave me everything I wanted out of a STAR WARS movie, and seeing a standalone was actually a treat, in that it tells one complete story. If you want to see the ROGUE ONE sequel, just watch the original STAR WARS (A NEW HOPE).

My only caveat is that maybe Edwards and company err too much on the side of caution by shoe-horning in cameos. The minor ones are terrific, some of the others feel slightly tacked-on, but fans will eat them up. The score by Michael Giacchino is very impressive given how quickly it was assembled, and the occasional cut to the old Williams themes will bring down the house Overall, I had a terrific time with ROGUE ONE, and, fans forgive me, I think it might even be a shade better than THE FORCE AWAKENS. You all are going to love it!

Source: JoBlo.com

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