The Empire Strikes Back

More hardware and less whimsy, with a cliff-hanging climax every 10 or 20 minutes and not much relief. If Star Wars was the exposition, this 1980 sequel (the original edition) should be the development, but mainly it's marking time: the characters take a definite backseat to the special effects, and much of the action seems gratuitous, leading nowhere. Irvin Kershner directed the actors this time around, and without the benefit of Lucas's personal affection they seem stiffer, more clenched. With Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, and Anthony Daniels.

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