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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Thoughts

January 26, 2017 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #394: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Thoughts

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that often wonders where, exactly, that galaxy far, far away actually is, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number three hundred and ninety-four, I offer up my thoughts on the latest Star Wars movie franchise effort, Rogue One. I’ll explain what I liked about it, what I didn’t like about it, and offer up my thoughts on what non-saga Star Wars movies we should get. Enjoy.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


The Good


Felicity Jones as Jynn Erso: At first, I wasn’t completely sold on Jones being the star of Rogue One. I’m not sure why I wasn’t on board, but her casting just didn’t gel with me. Ii should have known, though, that after Daisy Ridley’s performance in The Force Awakens I should just accept that the Star Wars people know what they’re doing with female stars and just go with whatever decision they make. Jones is excellent as Jynn. She’s a total badass with a dark past and, on some level, she wants revenge for what happened to her father. Revenge is always cool.

I will say, though, that I had a hard time believing that Jynn would ever join the Rebellion after finding out what she apparently went through under the tutelage of Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera. When we find out that Gerrera is an extremist, even by Rebellion standards, I figured that Jynn would try very, very hard to keep her distance from the Rebels. She would never believe in whatever it is the Rebels want and would only do what she wanted to within the confines of her capture/rescue by the Rebels. But then I forgot about all of that stuff when she came, face to face, with Gerrera. She could believe in the Rebellion, but she would never believe in Gerrera’s bullshit.

It’s a damn shame what happens to Jynn at the end of the movie. In fact, it’s a damn shame what happens to all of the Rebels at the end of the movie. I’d like to think that, somehow, Jynn survived the Death Star attack and went on to continue fighting the Empire under a different name. That’s possible, right, since she does have a knack for existing in the universe under different names? I think it is. We’ll probably never see another Jynn Erso cinematic adventure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw her “return” in a comic book.


Donnie Yen: When you have the Donnie Yen in your movie you are automatically awesome, even if, in the end, your movie is terrible. So, on that level, Rogue One was always going to be awesome because of Yen’s presence as the blind kung fu monk Chirrut Imwe. Seeing Imwe in action, with his battle stick and Force abilities (sensing the Force?), is a true highlight for the movie. You could easily see a full movie featuring Imwe, or a character like Imwe, dealing with the Empire and keeping the idea of the Jedi Knights alive.

I do wish, though, that the movie had at least two more kung fu scenes in it, simply because that would have been great. Because, come on, it’s kung fu in the Star Wars universe. Who the heck doesn’t want to see more of that kind of thing?

Am I the only one wondering who else in the universe has Force sensing abilities? And am I the only one who walked out of the theatre going “I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me”?

K-2SO: As portrayed by Alan Tudyk, K-2SO is yet another funny as hell droid in the Star Wars universe. He’s a total asshole, but he’s loyal to his new programming and that’s what you need in a droid. His honest answers to the predicaments his fellow Rebels face is always a hoot (has Disney made a talking K-2SO yet filled with phrases from the movie?). I was surprised, though, at his general lack of emotion. C3PO and R2D2 are chock full of emotion. Is K-2SO’s lack of emotion due to the fact that he’s an Empire droid and the Empire is all about controlling your emotions?

I’ll admit, I teared up a bit when K-2SO was destroyed by Stormtroopers. I didn’t want to see him go. I was hoping that Jynn would come back, pick up K-2SO’s head and bring him back to the Rebels so he could get a new body. That could happen, one day, in some new Expanded Universe comic book or something. Maybe.

The Red and Gold Leader cameos: I knew about them ahead of time so I wasn’t surprised when they showed up as part of the beach attack. I will say, though, that I completely nerded out when I finally saw them. It’s cool to find out what, exactly, they were doing before they both died in A New Hope trying to take out the Death Star.


The return of Grand Moff Tarkin: Or Governor Tarkin, whatever the hell his official name is. Regardless, the CGI used to bring back the character played by the very dead Peter Cushing is nothing short of amazing. The CGI Tarkin actually looks like goddamn Tarkin, moves like Tarkin, and even sounds like Tarkin (not completely but it’s so damn close). The character’s movement is also spot on and, more often than not, it really looks like Cushing is there, on the set, and in the movie. Now, yes, the CGI isn’t 100% perfect (there are some brief scenes where we see Tarkin’s face, up close, and his CGI dead eyes are very, very obvious), but it’s easily one of the best real person CGI special effects I’ve ever seen.

Darth Vader’s castle on Mustafar: I mean, that is Mustafar, isn’t it? That isn’t come new volcanic planet somewhere, right? It makes sense to have Vader live there as opposed to on his ship the Executor or in a room adjacent to wherever the Emperor lives. A guy like Vader has to have his own space to just hang out, train, exercise, and maybe walk around without the cape. I’d imagine that the cape would be the one thing he could live without when it comes to his suit. Look at how ridiculous the cape on Krennic is. It’s all there for show.

What does the interior of Vader’s castle look like? Do you think he does Jedi exercises with droids or prisoners? I’d love to know.


The final beach battle: When the people behind Rogue One described it as a “war” movie I didn’t quite get what the heck that meant. The Star Wars movies are all war movies on one level or another. It’s the goddamn title. But now, after actually seeing Rogue One, I see what they were all talking about. It’s like a World War II movie where the Allies are fighting in the Pacific (or one of those WWII moves where the fight takes place in Africa somewhere). That final battle on the beach is a thrill-a-minute sequence, with the ground war and the air battle happening all at once. Even the stuff up in space is pretty cool. I do wonder, though, how the people at Disney can market this beach battle as a toy for small children who don’t quite get what movies are. I mean, everyone goddamn dies on that beach. How is that fun? And why would a kid want to play with that scene?


That hallway scene with Vader: I had no idea it was coming. I figured that the big hooha Darth Vader sequence in the movie was just going to be the bit where Krennic goes to Vader’s castle and that was going to be it. So when Vader showed up in that smoky hallway on the Rebel ship, and he turned on his lightsaber I was literally shaking with fear. Holy shit! What the hell was happening?

And then it was fucking “go” time. The way Vader wipes the floor with the terrified Rebels, slicing them apart, using the Force to throw them all over the place, easily one of the greatest things ever committed to film in the history of cinema. Why the hell aren’t people clamoring for a movie about this as opposed to that Han Solo origin story shit?

Think about the possibilities. A lean and mean 85 minute sci-fi kung fu sword fighting movie where Vader has to track down a hidden Jedi (like a Jedi that managed to survive Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith). Or perhaps someone like Donnie Yen’s character, a badass fighter that can sense the Force and use it to fight or something. Think about how goddamn cool that would be, seeing the inside of Vader’s castle, Vader tracking down the Jedi, the epic lightsaber battle that would no doubt end the movie. This needs to happen at some point. Not doing it is nothing short of a wasted opportunity.

Who is with me on this? Darth Vader: Jedi Hunt? Why not have a “small” Star Wars story?

The Bad

No opening fanfare: Yes, I know that 20th Century Fox is no longer releasing Star Wars so the iconic opening fanfare from episodes 1-6 are not going to be present in the newer movies, but that shouldn’t prevent Disney and Lucasfilm from coming up with some sort of theme to mimic that old opening fanfare. I’d even settle for that music that plays before Disney movies, the one that plays as the camera moves around the Disney Land castle. Am I the only one bothered by this? It’s just so jarring to see the Lucasfilm logo with no music and then the start of the movie. Come on, Disney and Lucasfilm, come up with something here! Anything!


Cassian Andor: Diego Luna is a good actor but, to me, he just doesn’t have the quiet badass quality that a character like Cassian needs to be awesome. I just have a hard time believing that anyone would allow this guy to go on big secret missions. Even if the Rebellion is shorthanded, there has to be someone else to do what Andor does. Why couldn’t the producers hire Marko Zaror? He would have kicked ass, and I sure as heck would believe him as a sniper.


Krennic: Two new Star Wars movies and three terrible bad guys. Krennic is better than both Kylo Ren and General Hux but he’s still not all that intimidating. He has no real fighting skills, no icy evil demeanor, he’s just some guy wearing a white cape for some reason. Krennic is more like the guy that hires a badass killer to go kill someone in an action movie, the evil businessman or politician that you just want to see go down at the end. Perhaps if he shot Jynn’s mother in the head and we saw it I’d buy Krennic is a super cool killer bad guy. At the moment, he’s just another bad bad guy. Star Wars really needs to work on that.

Killing Chirrut Imwe: As I said up above, Donnie Yen’s Imwe is a damn cool character, and you just don’t want to see him die. You want to see him somehow survive the beach battle and go on to continue fighting the Empire. I understand why he and everyone else has to die, but it still sucks and isn’t cool.

“I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.”

The Rebellion is filled with assholes: I’m thinking of the big scene where Jynn is interrogated on Yavin 4. Was I the only one who thought, outside of Jimmy Smits’ Senator Organa and Mon Mothma, the Rebellion is filled with fucking assholes? Yes, they’re in the shit and the universe is against them and the Empire is building the goddamn Death Star, but would it kill the Rebellion to be a little less on edge, jumpy, and fucking rude? The Rebellion needs people, bodies, it can’t afford to just dump people back in prison and whatnot. I get it, I get it, you guys are under a lot of pressure. That doesn’t give you the right to be assholes. Am I right on this?


Saw Gerrera: At first, I was sort of intrigued by what Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera represented. Rebellion extremists? What the hell is that all about? And, Jesus Christ, Gerrera is pretty much a cyborg of sorts, with the robot feet and the whole oxygen mask thing. He’s like a junkyard Darth Vader. But then the movie really doesn’t get into what being a Rebellion extremist is, what RE’s actually do, and where that all started. It would have taken less than three minutes to explain all of this stuff. Is Disney saving that stuff for a potential future movie? Are we going to see the Rebellion as less than noble at some point (because, I assume, that’s what being a Rebellion extremist means).

I also think that Whitaker’s performance is a little too batshit. I like that he always gives 110% in his performances, but, come on, man, you have two metal feet here. Why isn’t that enough? Why do you like you’re about to freak out every second you’re on screen? Is it safe to assume that it’s possible that Gerrera somehow saved his feet after he lost them and put them in some kind of ice storage so he could look at them every so often and get super pissed off all over again?


The Princess Leia scene: This, of course, is the last scene in the movie, where we see a CGI Princess Leia. Holy shit is that thing fucking creepy. Dead eyed, freaky, scary. Why didn’t the movie just show Leia from behind, maybe show her face in shadow, and have her say “Hope” in Carrie Fisher’s voice from back then? I think that would have worked better and would have been less fucking creepy. But then, hey, I get why it was done the way it was done. It makes sense. Still…


I liked Rogue One quite a bit. After the underwhelming The Force Awakens, it’s good to know that Disney can make actually make a thoroughly good Star Wars movie. There’s hope for the future.

Rating: 8.5/10.0


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The Star Wars movie franchise ranked

There are, at present, eight movies in the Star Wars movie franchise. I’m not including the two Ewok TV movies or the Clone Wars cartoon movie here because I’m just not. This list will obviously change in some form when Episode VIII comes out this December. This is my personal ranking. Feel free to disagree with it. The list starts with my #1 pick and then goes down in descending order.


The Empire Strikes Back
Revenge of the Sith
A New Hope
Return of the Jedi/Attack of the Clones (tied)
Rogue One
The Phantom Menace
The Force Awakens


Things to Watch Out For This Week


Jack Reacher: Never Go Back: This sequel to the badass awesome Jack Reacher is pretty good. It isn’t as badass as the first Reacher but it’s got some pretty good fights in it and star Tom Cruise is obviously having tons of fun beating the shit out of people. The story is a little too convoluted, with the kid on the run and whatnot, but the presence of Robin Scherbatsky herself Cobie Smulders makes up for that. She has a future in action movies if she wants to have one (I think it’s high time she kick more ass in the Marvel movies she appears in). I have no idea how much money Never Go Back made, but I’m all for a third Jack Reacher adventure. Just, next time, cut out the filler and put in more badass fighting stuff.


USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage: Wow. A low budget historical action flick starring Nicolas Cage. Tom Sizemore, Thomas Jane, and James “Ganz, Albert Ganz” Remar and directed by Mario Van Peebles? How is this movie not a bigger goddamn event, especially since it’s essentially the cinematic version of that creepy story Quint tells everyone in Jaws? IMDB claims this thing is over two hours long, which is usually way too long for low budget cinema. However, since it’s based on a true story and whatnot I’m willing to give it a shot.


The Monster: I’m not sure what to make of this. Yes, it looks creepy and sort of stylish and has just the kind of story to freak you out (people trapped out in the dark with a monster lurking somewhere ready to strike), but at the same time I’ve seen way too many movies with this kind of general setting that are just long ass bores. I’m hoping for the best, though. I like the trailer. I want this movie to succeed. Anyone out there see this at a film festival or anything like that? Anyone at all?


Truth or Dare: Okay, so this low budget horror flick has apparently been around since 2013, although I’m not entirely sure it has ever received a release. Imdb claims it has, but that doesn’t mean anything. I like the premise and it looks creepy and messed up, which is all a horror flick really needs to have in the big scheme of things. Very rentable. Anyone out there see this?


B-Movie News


Jim Cameron possibly coming back to The Terminator?: Well, is this good news or is this news where we get our hopes up only to have it not happen? We don’t quite know yet what Cameron has planned for the next and, I assume, final Terminator movie. Will it somehow work in all of the stuff explored in Rise of the Machines, Salvation, that Sarah Connor Chronicles TV show, and the disappointing Genisys, or will Cameron’s involvement be the “real” Terminator 3?

I’m hoping that this is good news and that, in the end, we get another good Terminator movie. 1-3 are all different kinds of awesome, while Salvation has its moments and Genisys is just… it still hasn’t gotten any better. Tim Miller, of Deadpool fame/infamy is apparently Cameron’s handpicked director for whatever it is he wants to do when the rights revert back to him, so I guess that’s good. All the same, isn’t Cameron neck deep in Avatar sequels, like four of them or whatever? Is he going to have enough time/energy to get a new Terminator off the ground?

And what will Ahnold’s involvement be? He’s going to have to be involved, but how?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Anyone else out there both excited and worried about this?


Phantasm boxed set coming in March!: Well, there are apparently two different Phantasm boxed sets coming, with Arrow Video doing one for the UK and Region 2, and Well Go USA, the people behind the release of Phantasm: Remastered and Phantasm: Ravager are doing one for North America. It looks like the Well Go one will be 6 discs, with each movie getting its own disc with various special features (they look like the special features that were present on the previous single disc releases from MGM, Anchor Bay, and with Phantasm II the Scream Factory release) and a sixth disc with new special features.

I’m surprised this is happening in Region 1, as the Scream Factory release isn’t that old, but at the same time it still sounds like something worth buying, even if it’s mostly filled with stuff from the previous releases. The franchise deserves to have a major, all-encompassing home video set, although, I do wish that each movie would get its own Dawn of the Dead: The Ultimate Collection style DVD release, with four discs devoted to each movie. I have no idea what the hell the extra discs would be for (alternate versions, more behind the scenes junk, major documentaries on the making of each movie, stuff like that) but it would be cool no matter what. It’ll never happen but it’s still worth dreaming about.

Anyway, this set comes out in March at some point, so be on the lookout for it. I also want to announce that The Gratuitous B-Movie Column will be reviewing all five Phantasm movies in March. I had planned on doing that before I read about the Well Go release, so that was a nice coincidence. Sort of.

So, you know, be on the lookout for both the boxed set and the reviews. March Madness: the Phantasm marathon!


Star Wars Episode VIII has a title and it’s The Last Jedi: A cool title? Yeah, sort of. I don’t like what it seems to imply, though. The Last Jedi. That has to be Luke Skywalker, right? The title better not mean, in the end, that Kylo Ren, one of the least impressive movie villains in recent history, takes out Luke in order to become the new last Jedi. If that happens I don’t think I’ll be participating in future Star Wars “saga” movies. It’s bad enough that Ren killed Han Solo. Now, if Luke sacrifices himself like Kenobi did in A New Hope in order to allow Rey and other members of the Resistance to escape for some reason, I’ll buy that. But Ren getting the actual drop on Luke and killing him? Yeah, fuck that shit. Luke would wipe the fucking floor with Ren. So we better not get the bullshit it sounds like we’re going to get. Who is with me on this?


Who is the Douchebag of the Week? Go here and find out!


Next Issue: This time, it will happen: Daylight’s End !


Check out my review of david j. moore’s The Good, the Tough, and the Deadly here!

Check out my interview with the man hisself david j. moore here!

Check out the interview I did with the great Jino Kang here!

Check out my interview with character actor Vladimir Kulich here!

Check out my interview with martial artist and actor Paul Mormando here!

Check out my interview with director Michael Matteo Rossi here!

Check out my interview with actor Tyrone Magnus here!

Check out my interview with Hector Barron here!

Check out my interview with Jeffrey Orgill here!

Check out my interview with director Michael Baumgarten here!

Check out my interview with actor and stuntman R. Marcos Taylor here!

Check out my interview with action movie legend Don “The Dragon” Wilson here!

Check out my interview with Paul Kyriazi, the director of Ninja Busters and Death Machines, here!


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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.