‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ review: When clones break bad

A still from ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’  

The animated series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, a sequel and a spin off to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, is all it promises to be and then some. There are breathtaking fights, thrilling chases, laughs, a sweet little girl, and beautifully detailed worlds.

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The Bad Batch, or to give them their proper name, Clone Force 99, are five genetically enhanced clones — Hunter, Wrecker, Echo, Tech and Crosshair. The first episode, ‘Aftermath’, which is almost like a mini-movie at 75 minutes, sees the five clones coming to help the Jedi master, Depa Billaba (Archie Panjabi), and her Padawan, Caleb (Freddie Prinze Jr.) towards the end of the Clone Wars. All of a sudden in response to an order, Billaba is killed.

The Bad Batch also receives the order, but apart from Crosshair, are able to resist it. Hunter lets Caleb escape. When they return to base in Kamino, they hear that the war is over and Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) has dissolved the Republic to establish the Empire (cue for the Darth Vader theme).

Admiral Tarkin (Stephen Stanton) is up to his usual horrid deeds. He sends the Bad Batch to get rid of what he claims are insurgents but turn out to be civilians who have fled rather than submit to the Empire. Hunter takes a call not to follow orders and the Bad Batch are arrested for treason on their return. The crew meet a young girl, Omega (Michelle Ang), also a clone on Kamino who tells them of an inhibitor chip in every clone, which controls them.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch
  • Creator: Dave Filoni
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 9
  • Duration: 23 to 75 minutes
  • Voice cast: Dee Bradley Baker, Archie Panjabi, Michelle Ang, Freddie Prinze Jr., Ian McDiarmid, Stephen Stanton, Ming-Na Wen, Rhea Perlman, Corey Burton
  • Storyline: An elite group of clones is on the run from the newly minted Empire

The Bad Batch seem immune to the chip because of their modifications. Tarkin augments Crosshair’s inhibitor chip, causing him to turn against his team. The rest flee with Omega, setting off on great and glorious adventures meeting old friends and new including bounty hunter Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) and space cowboy Cad Bane (Corey Burton). There is mention of Jango Fett and Alpha, otherwise known as Boba! Jabba, our favourite Hutt, is referred to in suitably reverent tones.

There are not as many creatures as one would have liked; the Ordo Moon Dragon and Muchi, the playful adolescent Rancor somewhat make up the deficit.

Cid, (Rhea Perlman) the informant, who gives the crew their assignments is a weird and wonderful creature. The animation is exquisitely realised and other worldly, especially the mournful starship graveyard planet. The voice work is pitch perfect with Dee Bradley Baker leading the pack.

In an interview with this writer, Baker describes work as being on a whole new level. Baker gives voice to the Bad Batch as well as Cut and Captain Rex. He imbues each character with a distinct voice — from Hunter’s dilemma and Crosshair’s implacability to Tech’s precision and Wrecker’s riotousness. Now if only we could catch a glimpse of Grogu, our cup would run over…

The Bad Batch is currently streaming on Disney+ Hotstar Premium


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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 6:21:27 AM |

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