Wednesday, 14 December 2016

REVIEW: ROGUE ONE-A STAR WARS STORY

4/5

X-Wing-Days Of Future Past: Rogue Cut.

133 Minutes. Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker & James Earl Jones. Director: Gareth Edwards.

Marvel at just how much Disney has milked the 'Star Wars Story' for all it's worth commercially. But people with a disturbing lack of faith beware because as Lucasfilm goes 'Rogue' in this one they don't even look or smell like going sour anytime soon. Or as they call it "going all 'Police Academy'" with these sequel like they fear all the red capes coming will. After the original Han, Luke and Leia, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher 'Star Wars' series became 'The Godfather' of science-fiction trilogies that all 'Lord Of The Rings' and 'Dark Knights' are measured by, everyone couldn't wait for George Lucas' Empire to strike back. But when the return of the Jedi's new 'Phantom Menace' milleniuum trilogy gave us the attack of the binks we all needed a new hope. And that's when energized 'Star Trek' reboot director J.J. Abrams switched sides and solar systems like a Siths revenge and took this formidable force of a franchise out of darkness and into the light speed of the Winter warmed fall that used to belong to filthy Hobbitses, that now shows the superhero Summer where the real blockbuster heat lies. Ever since Walt's kids strapped some Mickey Mouse ears on Darth Vader this has been a reawoken force. And the most iconic movie villain of all-time (cue the heavy breathing) that needs no introduction like he does cough drops is back too, with all his Stormtrooper men, some black, scarily sleek Deathtrooper upgrades and those "tall, walky things" from "that snow planet" as your friendly, neighbourly Spider-Man puts it for a war that is anything but Civil as they enter through the trees with 'Jurassic Park' goliath measures of equal intimidation and inspiration. As the rebel hearts armed with more X Wings than Oscar Isaac's hero poetic Poe-who began this new generation so boldly-look to cross out the blueprint plans of the Death Star before it shows us the real Dark Side of the Moon in the best cult, blockbuster heist movie since 'Ant-Man' grew to the big-screen. This is Mission Impossible for this Rogue Nation but boy do you want to light the fuse.

'Godzilla' director Gareth Edwards has given us a monster roaring onto our screens like a tie-fighter. You want a big movie done? This young directors going to spit one out like a blue, light flame, igniting and cutting through the competition like a saber. Illuminating IMAX with an aerial assault of vivid visuals and puncuated planets in a whole new cinematic universe. This goes beyond setting your phasers to stun. Never mind how good the latest trekkie installment was this year, concluding their long lived and prospered trilogy. Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away those iconic ascending credits may be gone but this 'Rogue One' still rolls with the classics...like Skywalker. Remember from all the 'Clone Wars' animations to Stan Lee comics. The books you read, the games you play, the cards you trade and even the sneakers you lace it's all tied together in one complex but cohesive story. It's not just merchandise...it's a movement. And our solo hero here is not Rey, but Mrs. Jones. As Felicity, who looked to have her big break as Felicia's Blackcat in a 'Sinister Six' like sequel idea (that came before all of D.C.'s 'Suicide Squad' and 'Gotham Sirens' villian movie callings) to the now Electro plug-pulled Andrew Garfield 'Amazing Spider-Man', come Tom Holland Marvel family 'Homecoming' got hers in her award worthy turn as Eddie Redmayne's Professor Stephen Hawkings' wife. Now in going head-to-head with her former on-screen love and his 'Fantastic Beasts...And Where To Find Them', 'Harry Potter' saga, Tom Hanks' 'Da Vinci Code' sequel co-star Felicity Jones is inferno hot, taking us through the theory of Star Wars history for this stellar, spin-off prequel that stands all on its own in more ways than one. If your looking for a sequel, you will have to find new hope. But never fear, there are solo Vader and Han movies that look as promisingly good as Donald Glover as Lando. That sounds as legendary legacy making as Childish Gambino's latest classic album 'Awake, My Love'. Jones' Jin character is just as legendary a heroine as Daisy Ridley's, albeit very different in her dynamics. This is beyond a stereotype as she shows there is more than just the force with this multi-cultural, band or rebels cast with more soul than usual Hollywood typecast stigma. There is more than the usual movie magic here that comes with the future vision of these fables. There's a spirit of us grouping together with a team against all the odds. Knowing that even if this Suicide Squad of anti-heroes for hire look like they are marching to their imperial death, we're more than willing to walk with these new stars.

War ready your new favourite sidekick in our heroes corner like Rocky to Creed in this next gen is Diego Luna. Matt Damon's best friend in the Phillip K. Dick of sci-fi movies that aren't based on the amazing authors books Neil Blomkamp's 'Elysium' is soldarity soldiering great here as he was heartbreakingly good in his breakout blockbuster movie. But this is his mainstream breakthrough thank you. Time to give him his own movie...or at least Netflix show. 'Ip Man' Donnie Yen also comes to American audiences from Asian ones with a flurry as quick as one of his kung fu parries, as the martial arts legend who iconically played the legend that trained Bruce Lee steals the show like he did in the 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' Netflix 'Sword Of Destiny' sequel on a sheet of ice. This guy takes out more Storm Troopers than door frames...yet he's the one whose blind. These two are the standouts but they head an all-star, all-academy cast that may be the underrated, best yet that 'Star Wars' have assembled. Not to mention who on the third rock from the sun is under those storm trooper helmets like FN-007. Featuring another Chinese legend in Jiang Wen, 'Nightcrawling' breakout and 'The Night Of' star Riz Ahmed and 'Dodgeball' pirate, 'Serenity' star and forthcoming 'Frozen' and 'Wreck It Ralph' sequel voice Alan Tudyk furthering his studio work as prolific as Gollum, ape and of course Snoke Andy Serkis' motion-capture one as this years BB-8 favourite droid K-2SO that looks like the love child of C-3P0 and the Iron Giant with an 'Interstellar' TARS humor setting. What more would you expect from the man who voiced Sonny in 'I, Robot'? He really is one! The droid we've all been looking for. There's even legends here in the form of performance perspiring Mads Mikkelsen who just got 'Strange' with Marvel's new doctor and 'Ghost Dog' and 'Last King Of Scotland' star Forest Whitaker who has been on a resurgence ever since he was of service for Lee Daniels' 'Butler'. Hitting 'Southpaw' with Jake Gyllenhaal last year, before being part of Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner's alien 'Arrival' only last month, for what was the blockbuster of the year until he swapped military fatigues for a rebels unifom. Mentoring our hero Jim with Yoda or Lupita wisdom. But all these heroes for hire need a villain bigger than the Death Star. And 'Bloodline', 'Black Sea', 'Slow West', 'The Place Beyond The Pines' and 'Killing Them Softly' scene stealer (yes we had to mention them all...believe us we're leaving stuff out) Ben Mendelsohn destroys them all loudly, finally starred up as the big bad he and his villain classic voice has always deserved to be. With his cape dragging in the waters of a Bahama beach, sand in your eyes fight set-piece thats like 'Pirates of The Carribean' meets your greatest artillery of war movies like he doesn't care you would think no one could outshine or outshadow him. But this is the first film were the lord Anakin Skywalker became returns since the time he was just a hologram stood next to the late, great Sir Alec Gunniess' Obi Wan (yes...we're leaving the "NOOOOO" out), amongst a whole host of cameos here brought back to young, new life by the good people of C.G.I. No character, actor or villain is as legendary as Vader or the returning iconic voice of James Earl Jones who is no longer just Simba in the clouds. Spaces lion, the king of bad guys is the only thing that could stop a rebel. And in this 'Star Wars Story' that is a strong one and will choke you up with its force hold that's how you truly go 'Rogue'. May the lord be with you...yet always against you. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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