Long ago in a galaxy before Luke, Leia and Han Solo, the Rebellion and the Empire duke it out in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
Felon Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is held captive in a rolling vehicle manned by Storm Troopers. The vehicle is ambushed by Cassian (Diego Luna) and his group of rebels. They escort Jyn to the rebel base.
Jyn is the daughter of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), an engineer for the Empire. He built an evil weapon for the Empire. Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reiley) asks Jyn to assist the Rebellion in finding him.
When the rebels agree to make Jyn’s laundry list of charges (including assault and carrying deadly weapons) disappear, she obliges. Jyn accompanies Cassian and the bad-droid-turned-good K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) to Jedha, to locate Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). Saw claims to have intel on the weapon. He also took care of Jyn as a child.
After their short reunion, Saw shows Jyn a hologram of Mon, calling the deadly weapon the Death Star. In case you forgot “A New Hope,” the Death Star can destroy planets in a single blast. Mon says he built it with a weak-spot that, when penetrated, can disintegrate.
It’s up to Jyn and the Rebels to claim the plans of the Death Star, bringing them one step closer to defeating the Empire and restoring peace to the galaxy.
“Rogue One” is a mostly true Star Wars film. The visual effects are amazing with explosions from the Death Star and explosions of ships that greatly improved from the original films.
There are memorable characters in “Rogue One.” K-2SO is a droid that says whatever’s on his hard drive. He has more spine than C-3PO and R2-D2 combined, shooting Storm Troopers without hesitation. Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), a blind warrior who believes in the force and accompanies Jyn, swiftly fights with his staff. His fight scenes make you ask, “You sure he’s blind?”
James Earl Jones lends his voice to Darth Vader one more time. Darth Vader with a different voice would easily kill this movie. “Rogue One” also shows a more ruthless side of Vader with deadly lightsaber action and his classic force chokehold, even though he only appears in a few scenes.
The death scenes are far too predictable for Star Wars fans. The scenes may not bother those who want to see “Rogue One” before they see the other films.
Two big mistakes occur.
The original theme song is nowhere to be found and the scrolling words after “Long ago in a galaxy far, far away” are absent! Why, Disney? WHY!
Although “Rogue One” isn’t Episode 8 with Rey under Luke’s wing, it helps Star Wars fans understand all the trouble the Rebellion endured to destroy the Death Star. Despite the flaws, this prequel is far more worthy than “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Studio: Disney (2 hr. 13 min.)
Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, James Earl Jones
Story: Before the legendary trilogy, the Rebellion risk their lives to retrieve plans of the deadly Death Star from the Empire.
Final Score: B+
This review first appeared on Blackflix.com