As a work of nationalism it's downright silly but as a military action film it's a total hoot. Pointlessly bloated, certainly racist, and gleefully violent, and I don't think there's a single Western war picture from the last 20 years that isn't cribbed from. The last 45 minutes are a pretty non-stop parade of RPG fire, bloody squibs, histrionic sacrifice, fireballs, and oh yeah then there's a tank fight. At its best (and especially in its final moments) as if STARSHIP TROOPERS was completely in earnest. Bananas.
Reminds you of what this sort of thing can be with an actual director behind it instead of merely a gang of well-meaning producers. Johnson deploys a few basic narrative and visual tricks that haven't really popped up in a STAR WARS film before, along with his usual precise frames and tight technical craft, and a particular attention to emotional continuity. There's also a welcome preoccupation with collateral damage, both physical and psychic. One thing Johnson's films have never really…