Why Is No One Talking About Rogue One's Biggest Flaw?
Rogue One does everything it needs to do. It has all the little nods to the original that'll trigger your nostalgia, it fills the gaping Star Wars void in your soul (or at least your year), and keeps the struggling small business known as Disney afloat until the next movie in the franchise premieres in 2017.
And because this is a stand-alone film, it's removed from much of the pressure that made the prequels and The Force Awakens so stressful to watch. It's kind of OK if Rogue One isn't perfect because it's just "A Star Wars Story"—this ain't the main event, folks, so we can just sit back and have fun. You don't have to watch it with the fear that director Gareth Edwards fucked up a beloved Star Wars movie. It's a spin-off—chill out and have fun!
With that, Rogue One finally puts you down into the trenches to truly get the sense of this war between good guys with lasers and evil guys with lasers. Most importantly, it introduces audiences to the best new character in the Star Wars universe, K-2SO—a reprogrammed droid who is the film's only comic relief and also presents the ethical dilemma of droid slave labor and the morally ambiguous ideological "choices" of machines. Plus, the final five minutes are fucking awesome.
It's easy to overlook the half-baked characterization, a few truly dull performances, and a script that would even embarrass George Lucas, because Rogue One is a relentlessly exciting, and often beautiful looking, space adventure. But what I really can't forget is one annoying plot hole that bothered me throughout the entirety of Rogue One:
How are Storm Troopers incapacitated by getting hit with a blunt stick?
I get it. Storm Troopers go down easy. They always have, for better or worse, in the Star Wars universe. Lasers, lightsabers, grenades, magic powers, whatever—they always kill Storm Troopers, despite their armor. I can suspend disbelief there. I could even be forgiving when the Ewoks took down that AT-ST with the two tree stumps in Return of the Jedi, because that was the fucking '80s.
But how can a wooden stick knock out, or even kill, a Storm Trooper? When I was a kid, I played lacrosse for some reason (I was not good!). Since I spent most of my time on the bench, we would entertain ourselves by hitting each other in the head with our lacrosse sticks. Those were made of metal, and we swung those damn things as hard as we could into each other's heads. All we were wearing were helmets designed to protect us from the body weight of a skinny teenage boy. Assuming the Storm Trooper helmet is at least the same toughness of a sports helmet, a wooden stick wouldn't do too much. Hell you'd probably only be dazed if you were wearing a bike helmet.
If this happened one or two times in Rogue One, it would be fine, but it keeps happening in this movie. Again and again. Watch below as Jyn takes down a few armed Storm Troopers with the space equivalent of a night stick.
Sure, there are other plot holes in Rogue One: Why does the Empire always just send a few guys to check out a strange docked ship? Why is it always so easy to fit into a Galactic Empire uniforms and armor? Why are very important computer consoles located at the end of narrow walkways hundreds of feet in the air? Why is it so easy to fake Empire landing codes? These I'm also willing to overlook because it's just an entertaining movie about spaceships that shoot lasers. The movie would be no fun if the Empire sent a large team of truly competent soldiers to kill the heroes in the first scene. But couldn't the writers have come up something a little more compelling or believable than a wooden staff and a night stick? It would be the same movie—hell, even put some electricity on the damn stick and it would make sense.
Maybe the reason it bothers me so much is that the entire story of Rogue One is essentially correcting a plot hole from the original Star Wars: Why was there such a gaping design flaw in this very important space station? As we learn in Rogue One, the guy who built the Death Star intentionally included this flaw for the rebels to destroy it. If we're now in the business of making movies to fix other movies' plot holes, couldn't we at least do it without adding additional plot holes?
Anyway, I'm sure some fan out there has a very detailed explanation for this phenomena in Rogue One, and, if that's the case, please let me know.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.