REVIEW: WE STILL STEAL THE OLD WAY

CAST

Ian Ogilvy (Death Becomes Her)
Billy Murray (The Bill)
Christopher Ellison (Buster)
Tony Denham (Revolver)
Patrick Bergin (Lawnmower Man 2)
Julian Glover (Game of Thrones)
Lysette Anthony (Krull)
Vas Blackwood  (Creep)
Cristian Solimeno  (Highlander 5)
Sean Cronin (London Hood)

ad09c1612fb7c2f78c25ab399c4ed58eRichie Archer and his geriatric cronies amble gently back for an opportunistic sequel which looks to cash in on its moderately successful predecessor, but sadly co-writer (with Simon Cluett) and director Sacha Bennett make no attempt to add any flesh to its cardboard cut-out characters.   The title’s reference to stealing applies only to a fraction of the storyline, but presumably Bennett felt that We Still Break Old Lags Out of Prison the Old Way was too much of a mouthful.ad09c1612fb7c2f78c25ab399c4ed58eWe Still Kill the Old Way saw retired London gangster Archer (Ian Ogilvy – Witchfinder General) returning from retirement in Spain to seek revenge on the street gang that killed his brother, but this time Bennett tries to turn him into a modern-day Robin Hood intent on forcing a crooked banker to donate his ill-gotten gains to charity.   When the banker refuses, Archer, Roy (Christopher Ellison) and Butch (Tony Denham) raid his vaults but are caught red-handed and thrown into prison.   Don’t worry though, because it turns out the wily old foxes allowed themselves to be caught red-handed so that they would be banged up in the same prison as old lag George Briggs (Patrick Bergin) who they intend to break out for a reunion with his wife before she finally succumbs to Alzheimer’s.   Quite how they knew they would all be assigned to the same prison is never explain,.   Once inside, Archer finds his plans disrupted by old nemesis Vic Farrow (Billy Murray) who arranges to be transferred to the same prison so that he can have his revenge for a betrayal dating back thirty or more years.IMG_0439-2While there was a certainly novelty value in We Still Kill the Old Way’s idea of a bunch of ageing old-timers polishing their vintage knuckledusters to mix it with Britain’s new brand of near-feral street gangs, this sequel mostly pitches gangsters of pensionable age against one another, and one has to wonder who the target audience is supposed to be.   Young men are hardly likely to be interested in a bunch issuing threats against one another for 90 minutes, while more mature audiences will see We Still Steal the Old Way as nothing more than the empty-headed DTV fodder that it undoubtedly is.

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REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES – SEASON 6

MAIN CAST

Peter Dinklage (The Boss)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Headhunters)
Lena Headey (The Purge)
Emilia Clarke (Terminator: Genisys)
Kit Harington (Pompeii)
Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises)
Liam Cunningham (Dog Soldiers)
Carice van Houten (Black Book)
Natalie Dormer (The Forest)
Indira Varma (Human Target)
Sophie Turner (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Nathalie Emmanuel (Fast & Furious 7)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Maisie Williams (Cyberbully)
Conleth Hill (Serena)
Alfie Allen (The Other Boleyn Girl)
John Bradley (Patient Zero)
Tom Wlaschiha (Valkyrie)
Gwendoline Christie (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Hannah Murray (Dark Shadows)
Jonathan Pryce (Stigmata)
Kristofer Hivju (After Earth)
Michiel Huisman (The Young Victoria)
Michael McElhatton (Blow Dry)
Iwan Rheon (Misfits)
Dean-Charles Chapman (Will)
Isaac Hempstead Wright (The Boxtrolls)
Jerome Flynn (Ripper Street)
Iain Glen (Tomb Raider)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Daniel Portman (Outcast)
Natalia Tena (Harry Potter)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Ellie Kendrick (An Education)
Alexander Siddig (Star Trek: DS9)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Keisha Castle-Hughes (Star Wars – Episode III)
Kristian Nairn (Ripper Street)
Gemma Whelan (Gulliver’s Travels)
Joseph Mawle (Abrham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter)
Diana Rigg (The Avengers)
Julian Glover (Troy)
Finn Jones (Iron Fist)
Art Parkinson (Dracula Untold)
Owen Teale (King Arthur)
Patrick Malahide (Fortress 2)
Joe Naufahu (Power Rangers RPM)
Ben Crompton (All or Nothing)
Brenock O’Connor (Dickensian)
Charlotte Hope (The Musketeers)
Elizabeth Webster (Cockneys vs Zombies)
Tim McInnerny (Notting Hill)
Bella Ramsey (The Worst Witch 2017)
Michael Condron (High-Rise)
David Bradley (Harry Potter)
Tamer Hassan (Sucker Punch)
James Faulkner  (Underworld: Blood Wars)
Toby Sebastian (The Hollow Crown)
Clive Russell (The 13th Warrior)
Brian Fortune (The Inside)
Jacob Anderson (Adulthood)
Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist)
Ian Whyte (Prometheus)
Luke Roberts (300: Rise of an Empire)
Murray McArthur (The Last Legion)
Anton Lesser (Wolf Hall)
Roger Ashton-Griffiths (The Brothers Grimm)
Eugene Simon (Casanova)

Following their escape from Winterfell, Sansa Stark journeys to the Wall, while Theon Greyjoy returns to the Iron Islands. In Winterfell, Ramsay Bolton secures his claim on the North by killing Roose and Walda Bolton and his new-born half-brother. At the Wall, Melisandre resurrects Jon Snow, who is reunited with Sansa; they gather loyalists and a battle ensues. Aided by the Knights of the Vale, the Starks defeat the Bolton forces. Sansa feeds Ramsay to his hounds and Jon is proclaimed the King in the North. At King’s Landing, Jaime Lannister and the Tyrell army attempt to liberate Margaery and Loras, but Margaery capitulates to the High Sparrow and Tommen forges an alliance with the Faith. During Loras and Cersei’s trial, Cersei uses wildfire to burn the Great Sept, killing the High Sparrow, Margarey, Loras, Mace, Kevan, and Lancel, while Tommen kills himself after witnessing the events. Unopposed, Cersei is crowned Queen of Westeros. Ellaria Sand and three of Oberyn Martell’s daughters kill Doran and Trystane Martell and seize control of Dorne, and Olenna meets with Ellaria to discuss an alliance. In Braavos, Arya continues her training with the Faceless Men, and soon regains her eyesight. When she refuses to accomplish a mission, the Waif is ordered to kill Arya, who kills her instead. Arya reasserts her identity as a Stark and returns to Westeros. In the Riverlands, the Hound pursues the Brotherhood Without Banners for massacring the people who saved him. He finds Lord Beric Dondarrion executing his quarry, and is asked to join the Brotherhood traveling north. Jaime Lannister besieges Riverrun and takes the castle, killing the Blackfish after forcing Edmure Tully to order a surrender. Walder Frey celebrates the victory before being killed by Arya. Beyond the Wall, Bran Stark trains with the Three-Eyed Raven but alerts the Night King, who launches an attack of White Walkers. Bran and Meera escape and are rescued by Benjen Stark. Sam Tarly, Gilly, and Little Sam travel to the Citadel at Oldtown, stopping to visit Sam’s family. In Essos, Daenerys Targaryen is captured by Khal Moro who takes her before the khals; she burns them alive and takes command of the Dothraki. Tyrion Lannister brings a short-lived peace to Meereen, which is reinforced when Daenerys returns and flies her dragons into battle against the slavers. Yara and Theon arrive and pledge allegiance to Daenerys after Euron Greyjoy kills their father and usurps leadership of the Iron Islands. Jorah Mormont departs to find a cure for greyscale and Daario is left in command of Meereen, while Daenerys sails for Westeros. Game of thrones is without a doubt the best show on tv ever! Hooked from the very beginning. Season 6 is packed full of beautifully shot battle scenes and exquisite smaller moments, all of which showcase the immense talent of the entire cast and crew.

REVIEW: GULLIVER’S TRAVEL (1977)

 

CAST

Richard Harris (Gladiator)
Catherime Schell (Space 1999)
Julian Glover (Game of Thrones)

.
4Lemuel Gulliver (Richard Harris) is a brilliant medical student living in 17th Century Bristol. His father (Norman Shelley) wants him to go to London to make his fortune; but Gulliver prefers the idea of receiving rather less pay but a heck of a lot more adventure as a ship’s surgeon aboard a ship called the ‘Antelope’. During a voyage, the ‘Antelope’ is blown off course during a storm and hits a reef. The ship sinks and everyone is lost, apart from Gulliver…. who finds himself washed ashore in the kingdom of Lilliput. When he comes round, Gulliver finds that the strange land where he has washed ashore is populated by incredibly small humans, no taller than his toe. To them, he looks like a giant. They persuade Gulliver to help them in a war against another race of tiny people who live on an adjacent island. But Gulliver doesn’t like being manipulated for purposes of war and devastation, so he makes plans to escape….

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Harris is left to carry the entire film here. His first couple of scenes involve other actors, but once he is shipwrecked in Lilliput he spends the rest of the film striding over knee-high sets and acting alongside his animated counterparts. The idea of mixing live action and animation was not new at the time, but it certainly hadn’t been done a lot.

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A few Disney movies like Song Of The South, So Dear To My Heart and Pete’s Dragon had tampered with the idea, but it was still pretty much in its infancy. “Gulliver’s Travels” is not an especially well-animated film, but the scenes showing interaction between Harris and his cartoon co-stars are at least competently done. Occasionally the film tries to be true to its satirical origins . But at its heart, this is very much a kids’ film and the satirical overtones are barely dwelled upon. a nice old fashioned kids movie

REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

 

CAST

Daniel Radcliffe (Horns)
Rupert Grint (Cherrybomb)
Emma Watson (This Is The End)
Kenneth Branagh (Dead Again)
John Cleese (Rat Race)
Robbie Coltrane (Flash Gordon)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Richard Griffiths (Sleepy Hollow)
Richard Harris (Gladiator)
Alan Rickman (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Fiona Shaw (Jane Eyre)
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Julie Walters (Brooklyn)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Bonnie Wright (Before I Sleep)
Mark Williams (Agent Cody Banks 2)
Tom Felton (The Flash)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Matthew Lewis (Happy Valley)
David Bradley (Game of Thrones)
Julian Glover (Game of Thrones)

Harry Potter spends the summer without receiving letters from his Hogwarts friends. In his room, Harry meets Dobby, a house-elf who warns him bad things will happen if he returns to Hogwarts, and reveals he intercepted his friends’ letters. Harry chases him downstairs, where Dobby destroys a cake. The Dursleys lock Harry up, but Ron, Fred and George Weasley rescue him in their father’s flying Ford Anglia.

While buying school supplies, Harry and the Weasley family encounter Rubeus Hagrid and Hermione Granger, and they attend a book-signing by celebrity wizard Gilderoy Lockhart, who announces he will be the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Harry also encounters Draco Malfoy and his father Lucius, who slips a book in Ginny Weasley’s belongings. When Harry and Ron are blocked from entering Platform Nine and Three-Quarters (later revealed to be Dobby’s doing), they fly to Hogwarts in the Ford Anglia and crash into the hostile Whomping Willow. Ron’s wand is damaged, and the car throws them out before driving off. They are allowed back into school but face detention.

While serving detention with Lockhart, Harry hears strange voices and later finds caretaker Argus Filch’s cat, Mrs. Norris, petrified, and a message written in blood announcing the “Chamber of Secrets has been opened, Enemies of the Heir, beware”. Professor McGonagall explains that one of Hogwarts’ founders, Salazar Slytherin, supposedly constructed a secret Chamber and placed inside it a monster that only his Heir can control, to purge the school of impure-blooded wizards and witches. More attacks occur over the course of the year. Harry and Ron suspect Malfoy is the Heir, so Hermione suggests they question him while disguised using polyjuice potion. Their makeshift laboratory is in a disused bathroom haunted by a ghost, Moaning Myrtle.

When Harry communicates with a snake (something Salazar Slytherin could do) the school suspects him as the Heir. At Christmas, Harry and Ron learn that Malfoy is not the Heir, but he mentions that a girl died when the Chamber was last opened fifty years ago. Harry finds an enchanted diary, owned by a former student named Tom Riddle, which shows him a flashback to fifty years before, where Riddle accused Hagrid, then a student, of opening the Chamber. When the diary disappears and Hermione is petrified, Harry and Ron question Hagrid. Professor Dumbledore, Cornelius Fudge, and Lucius Malfoy come to take Hagrid to Azkaban, but he discreetly tells the boys to “follow the spiders”. Lucius has Dumbledore suspended. In the Forbidden Forest, Harry and Ron find Aragog, a giant spider who reveals Hagrid’s innocence and that the dead girl was found in a bathroom. Aragog then sets his colony of Acromantula on the boys, but the now-wild Ford Anglia saves them.

A book page in Hermione’s hand identifies the monster is a basilisk, a giant serpent that instantly kills those who make direct eye contact with it; the petrified victims saw it indirectly. The school staff learn that Ginny was taken into the Chamber, and convince Lockhart to save her. Harry and Ron find Lockhart, exposed as a fraud, planning to flee; knowing Myrtle was the girl the Basilisk killed, they drag him to her bathroom and find the Chamber’s entrance. Once inside, Lockhart uses Ron’s damaged wand against them, but it backfires, wiping his memory, and causes a cave-in.

Harry enters the Chamber alone and finds Ginny unconscious and dying guarded by Tom Riddle. Harry realises Riddle is the Heir and he used the diary to manipulate Ginny and reopen the Chamber. Riddle then reveals his full name, Tom Marvolo Riddle, from which he created the anagram for his future new identity, “I am Lord Voldemort”. After Harry expresses support for Dumbledore, Dumbledore’s Fawkes flies in with the Sorting Hat, and Riddle summons the Basilisk. Fawkes blinds the Basilisk, and the Sorting Hat eventually produces a sword with which Harry battles and slays the Basilisk, but he is poisoned by its fangs.

Harry defeats Riddle and revives Ginny by stabbing the diary with a basilisk fang. Fawkes’ tears heal him, and he returns to Hogwarts with his friends and a baffled Lockhart. Dumbledore, reinstated as headmaster, praises them and orders for Hagrid’s release. Dumbledore shows Harry that the sword he wielded was Godric Gryffindor’s own sword, and says he is different from Voldemort because he chose Gryffindor House instead of Slytherin House. Harry accuses Lucius, Dobby’s master, of putting the diary in Ginny’s cauldron and tricks him into freeing Dobby. The Basilisk’s victims are healed, Hermione reunites with Harry and Ron, and Hagrid returns.

The movie sticks closely to the novel, but as in the last movie we miss some of those scenes where we start to learn a little more about the characters, especially the hate-hate relationship between Harry and Professor Snape. All in all it’s definitely worth checking out, the running time of 160 minutes may seem a little long but it doesn’t seem that long when you’re watching it.

REVIEW: TROY

CAST

Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly)
Eric Bana (Hulk)
Orlando Bloom (Lord of The Rings)
Diane Kruger (The Host)
Peter O’Toole (Venus)
Rose Byrne (Bad Neighbours)
Saffron Burrows (Peter Pan)
Brendan Gleeson (A.I.)
Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Julian Glover (The Young Victoria)
James Cosmo (Highlander)
Julie Christie (Doctor Zhivago)
Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy)
Vincent Regan (Lockout)
Tyler Mane (Halloween)

he opening scene shows the troops of King Agamemnon of Mycenae ready to fight against the troops of Triopas of Thessaly, a battle only avoided when the great warrior Achilles defeats Thessaly’s champion in single combat. Meanwhile, Prince Hector of Troy and his younger brother Paris negotiate a peace treaty with Menelaus, King of Sparta. Paris, however, is having a secret love affair with Menelaus’ wife, Queen Helen, and smuggles her aboard their homebound vessel, much to Hector’s fury. Upon learning of this, Menelaus meets with Agamemnon, his elder brother, and asks his help in taking Troy. Agamemnon, who has wanted to conquer Troy for a long time, agrees, since it will give him control of the Aegean Sea. On King Nestor’s advice, Agamemnon has Odysseus, King of Ithaca, persuade Achilles to join them. Achilles, who strongly dislikes Agamemnon, initially refuses, but eventually decides to go after his mother, Thetis, tells him that though he will die, he will be forever remembered.

In Troy, King Priam is dismayed when Hector and Paris bring Helen, but welcomes her as a guest and decides against sending her home, since Paris will likely follow her and be killed, choosing instead to meet the Greeks in open battle. The Greeks arrive shortly after and take the Trojan beach, mostly thanks to Achilles and his Myrmidons, among them his cousin Patroclus, who sack the temple of Apollo but allow Hector and the surviving Trojans to return to the city. Achilles claims Briseis, a priestess and the cousin of Paris and Hector, as a war trophy, but is angered when Agamemnon spitefully takes her from him and decides that he will not aid Agamemnon when they lay siege to Troy.

The Trojan and Greek armies meet outside the walls of Troy. During a parley, Paris offers to duel Menelaus personally for Helen’s hand in exchange for the city being spared. Agamemnon, intending to take the city regardless of the outcome, accepts. Menelaus wounds Paris and almost kills him, but is himself killed by Hector. In the ensuing battle, most of Agamemnon’s forces fall to Troy’s archers and Hector kills Ajax. On Odysseus’ insistence, Agamemnon gives the order to fall back. In order to keep their spirits up, he gives Briseis to the Greek soldiers for their amusement. When she is threatened with rape, she is saved by Achilles. The two fall in love, and Achilles decides that the war is a lost cause, resolving to leave Troy in the morning.

Despite Hector’s advice otherwise, Priam instructs him to retake the Trojan beach in the night and force the Greeks home. The attack brings the Greeks together and the Myrmidons enter the battle. Hector personally duels a man he believes to be Achilles and cuts his throat, only to discover it was actually Patroclus. Devastated, the armies agree to stop fighting for the day. Achilles is informed of his cousin’s death and vows revenge. Knowing of the coming retribution, Hector leads his wife, Andromache, to a secret tunnel beneath Troy and instructs her to take their child and any survivors she can out of the city should he die and the city fall.

The next day, Achilles arrives outside Troy and demands Hector come out. The two fight evenly for a while until Achilles wears Hector down and kills him, dragging his corpse back to the Trojan beach, straining his relationship with Briseis. Priam, in disguise, sneaks into the camp and meets with Achilles, imploring him to let him take Hector’s body back to Troy for a proper funeral. Ashamed of his actions, Achilles agrees and allows Briseis to return to Troy with Priam, promising a truce of twelve days so that Hector’s funeral rites may be held in peace. He also tells his men to return home without him, for he has a battle he must fight on his own.

Agamemnon becomes infuriated at Achilles’ actions and goes into a crazed rant that he will take Troy no matter what. Concerned that Agamemnon may lead them to destruction, Odysseus concocts a plan to get inside the city by having the Greeks build a gigantic wooden horse from their boat parts and abandon the Trojan beach, hiding their ships in a nearby cove to make it seem as if they have left. Priam orders the horse brought inside the city as a gift from the Gods, over Paris’ objections. A Trojan scout finds the hidden ships in the cove but is killed by the Greek archers before he can alert the city. That night, Greeks hiding inside the horse emerge and open the city gates for the Greek army, commencing the Sack of Troy. While Andromache and Helen are getting the Trojans to safety through the tunnel, Paris gives the Sword of Troy to Aeneas, instructing him to protect the Trojans and find them a new home. Glaucus is killed by Odysseus. Agamemnon kills Priam, and then Agamemnon finds Briseis and taunts her, and she kills him. Achilles fights his way through the city and finds Briseis, but is shot through the heel by Paris, which makes him vulnerable. Paris puts several more arrows into Achilles’ chest until he finally collapses. With his dying breaths, Achilles implores Briseis to leave the city with Paris. They escape Troy before the Greeks find Achilles’ body. In the aftermath, with Troy finally taken, funerals are held for the slain and Odysseus personally cremates Achilles as the surviving Trojans head to Mount Ida.Troy is definitely an entertaining movie, and the production is remarkable, but a few major historical inaccuracies, strange casting choices and a particularly cliché Hollywood ending lower my appreciation for the film.

 

REVIEW: THE YOUNG VICTORIA (2009)

 

CAST

Emily Blunt (The Huntmans)
Rupert Friend (Homeland)
Paul Bettany (Legion)
Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow)
Jim Broadbent (Cloud Atlas)
Mark Strong (Green Lantern)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)
Julian Glover (Game of Thrones)
Harriet Walter (Sense and Sensibility)
Michiel Huisman (world War Z)
David Robb (Highlander: The Series)
Genevieve O’Reilly (The Matrix Revolutions)

Princess Victoria of Kent is the heiress presumptive to the throne during the last years of the reign of her uncle King William IV and is subject to a political tug of war for influence over her. On the one side is her mother, the Duchess of Kent, along with the comptroller of the Duchess’s household, Sir John Conroy, who tries to force Victoria to sign papers declaring a regency and giving him and her mother power.

On the other side is her uncle, King Leopold I of Belgium, who wishes to use his influence through family ties to secure an alliance between Britain and his kingdom. He decides to have his nephew Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha seduce Victoria and he is coached in her likes and dislikes. The Duchess invites the Coburg brothers, Albert and Prince Ernest of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to visit the household. Victoria and Albert develop an early fondness for each other, despite Victoria knowing that Albert was sent by their uncle to win her favours. They begin writing to one another after Albert returns home.

At a birthday reception in Windsor Castle, the King states his wish to be closer to Victoria and insults her mother. But when the King increases Victoria’s income, this is rejected by Conroy, who physically subdues her in front of her mother, heightening the animosity between them. The King then sends the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne to advise her. Victoria agrees to make him her private secretary, and he appoints ladies-in-waiting for her from political families allied to him.

King William dies after Victoria’s 18th birthday, avoiding a regency. After accession, Victoria immediately begins to exert her independence, including moving into her own room and banishing Conroy from her household and coronation. During her first meeting with the Privy Council, she announces that “I mean to devote my life in service of my country and my people”. Victoria now moves into the recently completed Buckingham Palace and her aunt, Queen Adelaide, advises her against giving in too much to Lord Melbourne’s direction. Albert then comes to England to spend more time with Victoria. They bond more, dancing together during her coronation and later discussing together the condition of the poor. Albert hints at taking their relationship further but the self-sufficient Victoria resists and he leaves.

When Lord Melbourne loses a vote in Parliament, the new Prime Minister designate, Sir Robert Peel, wishes to replace some of her ladies-in-waiting with supporters of his own party and the queen refuses. Peel in turn refuses the queen’s invitation to form a new government, allowing Melbourne to continue as Prime Minister. The subsequent crisis damages Victoria’s popularity, leading to demonstrations outside the palace and insults hurled at her in public. Her loneliness during the turbulence draws Victoria closer to Albert through their letters and decides her to invite him back to Britain. Since protocol prevents him suggesting marriage, she proposes to him herself.

Their marriage is loving and the birth of their first child helps heal the breach between Victoria and her mother, who had earlier sent a letter of support during the crisis. Nevertheless, Albert is frustrated at his initial powerlessness and Queen Adelaide advises Victoria to allow him to take on more duties. He then reorganises the running of the royal household and dismisses Conroy for mishandling funds. As Victoria’s primary adviser, he now blocks the influences of Lord Melbourne and King Leopold. However, Victoria quarrels with him fiercely for going over her head with Peel in the matter of her household.

Soon after, when Victoria is fired upon by a would-be assassin as they are riding in an open carriage, Albert throws himself across her and is wounded. This bravery leads to their reconciliation and Melbourne advises her to share with Albert also her work for the social welfare. The final title card sketches in their successful future until Albert’s death at the age of 42.

The film shows how lighthearted Victoria was in her younger years with that spring in her step, whilst at the same time pursuing her duty of becoming Queen and knowing her responsibilities. A great historical film.

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

CAST

Mark Hamill (Batman: TAS)
Harrison Ford (Blade Runner)
Carrie Fisher (Sorority Row)
Billy Dee Williams (Batman)
Alec Guinness (Doctor Zhivago)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Kenny Baker (Labyrinth)
Peter Mayhew (Killer Ink)
David Prowse (Comic Book: The Movie)
Frank Oz (Inside Out)
Jeremy Bulloch (Swing Kids)
Julian Glover (Game of Thrones)
James Earl Jones (Conan The Barbarian)
Three years after the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance has been driven from their former base on Yavin IV by the Galactic Empire. The Rebels, led by Princess Leia, set up their new base on the ice planet Hoth. The Imperial fleet, led by Darth Vader, continues to hunt for the Rebels’ new base by dispatching probe droids across the galaxy.
While investigating a potential meteor strike, Luke Skywalker is captured by a wampa. He manages to escape from its cave with his lightsaber, but soon succumbs to the brutally cold temperatures. The ghost of his late mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, instructs him to go to the Dagobah system to train under Jedi Master Yoda. He is found by Han Solo, who uses the warmth of his dead tauntaun to keep Luke warm while he sets up a shelter. Han and Luke make it through the night and are rescued by Zev Senesca.
On patrol, Han and Chewbacca discover the asteroid Luke had planned to investigate is actually a probe droid, which alerts the Empire to the Rebels’ location. The Empire launches a large-scale attack, using AT-AT Walkers to capture the base. Han and Leia escape on the Millennium Falcon with C-3PO and Chewbacca, but their hyperdrive malfunctions. They hide in an asteroid field, where Han and Leia grow closer. Vader summons bounty hunters, including the notorious Boba Fett, to assist in finding the Falcon. Luke, meanwhile, escapes with R2-D2 in his X-wing fighter and crash-lands on the swamp planet Dagobah. He meets a diminutive creature who is revealed to be Yoda; after conferring with Obi-Wan’s spirit, Yoda reluctantly accepts Luke as his pupil.
After evading the Empire, Han sets a course for Cloud City, a floating colony in the skies of the planet Bespin. Cloud City is run by Han’s old friend, Lando Calrissian. Unknowingly, the Millennium Falcon has been tracked by Boba Fett; shortly after they arrive, Lando leads the group into a trap and they are handed over to Darth Vader. Vader plans to use the group as bait to lure out Luke, intending to capture him alive and take him to the Emperor. During his training on Dagobah, Luke sees a premonition of Han and Leia in pain and, against Yoda’s wishes, leaves to save them.
Vader goes back on his agreement with Lando and takes Leia and Chewbacca into custody. He intends to hold Luke in suspended animation via carbon freezing, and, as a test, freezes Han in a block of carbonite. He hands the frozen Han over to Fett, who intends to leave for Tatooine to deliver Han to Jabba the Hutt and claim the bounty on Solo’s head. Lando, who was forced into cooperating with the Empire, initiates an escape and frees Leia and the others. They try to save Han but are unable to stop Fett. They then flee Cloud City in the Falcon.
Luke arrives at Cloud City and falls into Vader’s trap. The two engage in a lightsaber duel that leads them over the city’s central air shaft where, as his mentors warned, Luke proves to be no match for Vader who severs Luke’s right hand, causing him to lose his weapon. After Luke refuses to join Vader against the Emperor, Vader reveals that he is Luke’s father. Horrified, Luke falls through the air shaft. He is ejected beneath the floating city and makes a desperate telepathic plea to Leia, who senses it and persuades Lando to return for him in the Falcon. R2-D2 repairs the Falcon’s hyperdrive, allowing them to escape the Empire. Later, aboard a Rebel medical frigate, Luke’s amputated hand is replaced with a robotic prosthetic. Lando and Chewbacca set off for Tatooine in the Falcon in order to save Han. As the Falcon departs, Luke, Leia, R2-D2, and C-3PO look on and await word from Lando.
Tho more famed for its dark undertones, Empire is for sure still a very fun movie, C3PO goes into camp overdrive and Han Solo ups his quip quota by some margin. Then of course there is Yoda, in himself a comedic joy. The action sequences beg for repeat viewings, a battle on the ice laden planet Hoth is a marvel and the choreography for Skywalker’s fight with Darth Vader is out of the top draw. But ultimately it’s with the dark side that the picture excels. Complex and amazingly posing moral quandary’s, The Empire Strikes Back is quite an experience, one that will forever hold up to repeat viewings for this particular viewer.