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Film of the Week Five-Star Wars

The latest intergalactic extravaganza is top-drawer, says ALAN FRANK

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (12A)
Directed by Rian Johnson

IT'S been 40 years since legendary intergalactic hero Luke Skywalker made his debut in the first Star Wars film in 1977.

He’s back, still played splendidly by Mark Hamill, and now a sullen, bearded recluse living alone on a lonely rocky island — “the most unfindable place in the galaxy” – until, that is, Rey (Daisy Ridley) arrives to nag him into inducting her into the ways of the Jedi.

She wants to use those unique powers to save the Resistance from their evil would-be destroyers the First Order.

Which is all the plot you really need to know — there’s much, much more — to enjoy to the hilt a terrific, adrenaline-fuelled space story that packs in enough action and Oscar-worthy film magic to entertain you for two-and-a-half hours.

It’s an eye-boggling epic packed with terrific action and, a real asset, fully-fledged characters making their unique marks on a larger storyline embellished with perfectly achieved eye-boggling spectacle.

Director Rian Johnson, doubling as writer, makes the most of his incident and character-packed screenplay.

Carrie Fisher, in her final film, is genuinely emotional in the role of Resistance leader Princess Leia, while the other players in the strong cast score too and, thanks to the long running time, impress as more than mere plot-moving ciphers.

The action sequences — notably the soaring space battles between the bad guys and The Resistance — are alone worth the admission price.

And there's a kaleidoscope of settings, including a corrupt casino-ridden planet, strange yet eminently credible creatures and an awesome climactic battle featuring monstrous giant animal-like war machines on a salt plain whose surface bleeds red when “hurt” by weaponry.

The force lives on.

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