Johnson's been refining his work now over an incredible run of innovative, idiosyncratic features, and he's finally really nailed it I think. The shifting chronology, the moral conundrum, the clunky verbosity, and don't forget the relentless, tangibly fleshy brutality...they all come together here. Adkins has been steadily claiming territory too, and as such this is another step up for him as a performer and actor. These two have become such a formidable team, the ultimate DTV auteurs.
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…