‘Star Wars: The Acolyte’ Can Now Boast the Greatest Fight Scene Ever Filmed

When I wrote my previous column on Star Wars The Acolyte, I truly intended it to be my final comment on the show.  I mean, the audience reaction speaks for itself, but then I was made aware that last week’s installment had the greatest fight scene since the original Road House.


Before I get to that, I need to be more explicit in expressing my gratitude to some of the suffering YouTubers whose labors have brought me so much joy.



The Hall of Pain

I’m one of those folks who doesn’t subscribe to YouTube but rather bounces around as the mood takes me.  That being said, I’ve come to consistently visit three channels for reviews and commentary.


My go-to is The Critical Drinker, who provides concise and insightful commentary.  Like me, the Drinker is burned out on Star Wars and I think he’d just as soon have the franchise “go away now,” but after skipping the fourth episode, he’s doggedly hanging in there.


On the opposite end of the energy spectrum is Heel vs Babyface, whose take on episode 5 made me fear for his life.  I hope he’s got someone monitoring his blood pressure.  The thing is, I feel his pain and if you go back the early Sequel Era, I was just as pissed.  The difference is that I worked out my nerd rage by creating a brilliantly written but tragically underselling four-volume reboot of the Prequel Trilogy.


For in-depth commentary, I rely on Disparu, whose wit and English sensibilities are perfectly suited to illustrating the absurdities of Disney Star Wars.  Because he tends to do longer reviews, he’s not usually the first one out of the gate, but he makes for that in the thoroughness of his work, which must be absolutely grueling given the amount of time he has to spend watching utter rubbish.


See Also Star Wars is Dead to Me – And Everyone Else Too


These three are part of a larger ecosystem, and while I visit many other channels, these are more core trio for this particular topic.



About Those Lightsabers

What I like about the fifth episode is that it served an exemplification of everything that is wrong with lightsabers.  This started with the prequels and has gotten to the point where they have no particular mystique or symbolism.  In fact, they are not even worth retrieving from the stricken field.  The Jedi of the High Republic just leave them lying there to rust or be stolen by scavengers next to the rotting corpses of their owners.


Speaking of which, isn’t it weird how in Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace fallen Jedi were given solemn funerals that served as an emotional anchor for the film and now we don’t even bother?  Instead, we just move on to the next plot point.


Excuse me while I pull out my They Live spirit sunglasses for a minute to note that honoring the fallen and giving them burial is a core value in civilized, moral societies.  Even pagans did this, but in Leslye Headland’s demonic vision, once someone is no longer useful to you, you abandon them.  This point of view is hardly surprising – after all, she was Harvey Weinstein’s personal assistant.  



A True Masterpiece

Such criticism aside, the fifth episode of The Acolyte is a work of pure genius, a flawless fusion of brilliant writing, crisp direction and of course mind-boggling visuals.


Let’s be honest – fight scenes can be difficult.  Peter Jackson totally wrecked the military side of The Lord of the Rings, though most people have looked past it.  In addition to its epic failure of an endingGame of Thrones had some remarkably stupid battles


Lesser directors would have deployed their immense budget on exotic landscapes and expert fight choreographers.  Not Leslye Headland.  No, she has done the impossible, giving us a diverse, non-binary, gender-affirming – and very gay version of the duel at the end of The Phantom Menace.


The beginning was brilliant.  She expertly hid the action from view so that it looked like a bunch of Cub Scouts were fighting over the flashlights.  So evocative.


Qimir Decimates The Jedi Army | Star Wars The Acolyte | Episode 5 | Disney+


The innovation of lightsaber-killing armor was absolutely amazing.  Not only was it introduced without explanation, but the way the Jedi kept looking stupidly at their darkened lightsaber hilts again and again had me weeping with laughter.  Totally flat learning curve.  Hah, hah, Jedi are stupid!  I totally got the point.


I have a strong suspicion that Rian Johnson was creatively involved with this, because at every turn it subverted expectations.  Smylo Ren (aka Darth Gimp) was badly outnumbered, but he cleverly outsmarted the Jedi by doing things like swinging at people in range rather than just waving his blade randomly or waiting to be hit.  That part where he threw his cloak and totally wrecked Squid Game Guy was a beautiful homage to The Naked Gun.  I also liked the way he mutilated the pixy girl.  Take that, you rainbow-faced spiky freak!  And that!  And that!


Then boy-band Jedi, what’s his name (Nord? Yord? Board?) – he was awesome.  One of the most difficult parts of comedy is doing absurd things while keeping a straight face.  He did that perfectly, careening around the set without any clear goal or purpose and all the while looking completely serious about it.  A lesser actor would have at least been giggling.



Did anyone pick up on how the flying bugs – which are supposedly attracted to light – waited until almost all the lights were out before making their move?  A lesser talent would have had the lightsabers draw the bugs in during the heart of the fight, allowing the villain to escape, but not Headland.  She wanted you to think she had totally forgotten about the bugs before using them in the most convoluted way possible.


There’s more, so much more, including the most empowering, most stunning and brave use of a lightsaber in the entire Star Wars universe.  You go, girl!


That’s what is so great about Star Wars: The Acolyte.  You never know what they’ll throw at you next. I await the reviews of this week’s episode with great expectations.


Related Our ‘Star Wars: The Acolyte’ Episode 5 Review a.k.a. ‘Jedi Confidential’



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A.H. Lloyd

Best-selling author and curmudgeon. Retired senior NCO. Read my other insights at www.ahlloyd.com and buy my brilliant books.