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"ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY": The entire franchise strikes back!

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Right from the first few opening frames of moisture evaporators and blue milk and other referential ephemera all on a planet we haven’t seen before, it becomes apparent quite quickly that the reason why the standalone flick Star Wars: Rogue One works so well is because of the nostalgia—not nostalgia, mind you, for the actual movies, but nostalgia for being a kid and taking your Star Wars action figures (and probably even some compatible G.I. Joes) in the back the yard and making up your own characters and adventures, creating new storylines and new worlds, whittling the afternoon away in pure creativity.

It was a pure feeling that The Force Awakens—in retrospect, a passable retread at best—wasn’t able to muster even with a foisted wunderkind like J.J. Abrams flying the proverbial X-Wing. Here, free of those boundaries and able to actually play with the mythos instead of being bound to them, director Gareth Edwards is allowed to craft an adult entry in the series that, for once, seems more concerned with telling an actual story rather than trying to sell me a Happy Meal.

A rebel without a cause from a young age, steadfast survivor Jyn Erso (a solid Felicity Jones) is broken out of prison and thrown together with other assorted warriors, mercs and down and dirty scum, Dirty Dozen-style, to retrieve the plans to the Empire’s massive planet-killer, the erstwhile Death Star. Without too much unnecessary plot, this men-on-a-mission outing finally puts the “wars” in Star Wars, heroically showing the underbelly of the Rebellion, the one that uses assassins, killers and scoundrels who shoot first to get their dirty work done.

Like a really good World War II actioner, the Empire is at their worst and the Rebels, while not much better, are still well-developed heroes with personality peccadilloes and finishing moves that make each action set-up and set-piece an explosive good time. Featuring an internationally diverse cast made up of mainly minorities—Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker, Jiang Wen, to name a few—and plenty of well-played surprises including a finale I was sure that I’d never see outside of an extended universe one-shot comic book, the PG-13 rated  Rogue One, is a hyperspace blast of action and excitement.

Rogue One won’t change the world, set it on fire or blow it up, but, for longtime adult fans of the franchise, this is the episode that you’ve have been waiting for since mom boxed up all those old figures and gave them to Goodwill.

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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