Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – “The Rebel Film”


DIRECTOR: Irvin Kershner

Watching Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back makes me ponder and ask myself were some of the story elements intentional and would a few more acting lessons enhanced a certain performance.

lplatesSo at the start of the film left the characters are helping The Rebellion against the Empire. Young Luke Skywalker starts using “The Force” with L Plates and makes his way to see Master Yoda to learn the ways of the Jedi. Meanwhile Han Solo needs to pay off debts and strikes up a little romantic conversation with Leia while he’s at it. While all of this is happening Dark Lord Darth Vader is on the witchhunt for young Skywalker and wants him alive.


You know the plot of the film.  Why do I need to tell you? The film itself is good, it has more darkness, adventure and suspense than New Hope but there is one performance and character that  runs over speed bumps the whole way through. I am reminded of watching a whiny teenager who won’t listen to anybody. Who’s the whiny teenager? Luke Skywalker. He’s called “boy” by Yoda and Kenobi and for very good reason, Skywalker acts like the teenager who’s just got  his big engine car and wants to drive it without knowing the road rules. How does he show that? He ignores wisdom that is around him from Yoda and acts in arrogance by taking a lightsaber into a cave, he doesn’t listen to anyone on how to get his X-Wing out of swamp lands and ignores how harmful going to the Bespin is regardless of potential conflict. He’s like the driver on the road that fails to give way causing a crash and leaves the scene after the  accident.


Luke Skywalker is the cocky teenage rebel Jedi with a light saber and L plates. Mark Hamill acts “on the nose.” Is that intentional or was it his character? Only the galaxy knows and perhaps Alexander Technique and Performing Arts lessons aren’t available on Dagobah systems.

Lando-hd-500x246The other rebel of the film is Lando Calrissian and at least you can empathise ever so slightly with his circumstance. Coming to the aid of the Millennium Falcon when they’e in a tight spot is helpful. But at what cost is it helpful and who is benefiting?

Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back will be considered the stronger film by critics and fans. It has it’s moments and executes certain sequences well such as when the Millennium Falcon hides from the Empire or Han Solo’s carbon freeze moment.

Watch the film again and ask yourself, is the memory of watching it again what makes it  good or is simply  a well made film?  One or the other? Both?


Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker

Harrison Ford as Han Solo

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia

Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian


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