Netflix movie review: Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver brings Zack Snyder’s sci-fi epic to an instantly forgettable end

1/5 stars

Picking up immediately after the cliffhanger that ended part one of Zack Snyder’s epic space opera, Rebel Moon – Part 2: The Scargiver is every bit the vapid, empty spectacle its predecessor was, delivering another two hours of weightless, instantly forgettable sci-fi hokum.

Kora (Sofia Boutella) and her ragtag assembly of washed-up warriors return triumphant to the idyllic planet of Veldt, only to discover that their sadistic nemesis General Noble (Ed Skrein) is not dead, and his Imperium forces are mere days away from invading.

Reverting to their original plan, these count them seven warriors set to work training a community of peaceful farmers in how to fend off a vastly superior military force a feat they achieve in the space of a single, uninspired training montage.

The idea of reimagining Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai within the vastness of a Star Wars-inspired universe is mouthwatering, but Snyder seems determined to sidestep every possible opportunity to bring intelligence, depth or god forbid humour to his creation.

One of the most enticing elements of the premise, which has been remade numerous times as everything from The Magnificent Seven to A Bug’s Life and Ocean’s Eleven, lies in exploring the varied backstories of these assorted loners, misfits and ne’er-do-wells, who are recruited for a seemingly impossible mission.

(From left) Bae Doona, Staz Nair, Michiel Huisman, Sofia Boutella, Elise Duffy and Djimon Hounsou in a still from Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver. Photo: Netflix
Snyder’s characters, however, are defined by little more than their costumes, which range from a Conan-esque loincloth to Korean hanbok from the Joseon dynasty, while their backstories are painted in the broadest of strokes.
“We were a peaceful people,” recalls Bae Doona’s cyborg warrior, Nemesis, by way of explanation for her tragic motivations, “but once, we were a people of war”.

Sofia Boutella’s tortured heroine Kora the Scargiver of the title is burdened with enough tormented life experience to sink a battleship, yet can muster little more than a steely pout between monotonous readings of banal dialogue.

Rebel Moon – Part One: exciting start to Zack Snyder’s Netflix space epic

Even on his best day, Snyder has been primarily a visual filmmaker, more invested in a billowing explosion or oiled torso than an emotionally complex journey of reinvention.

With Rebel Moon, for which he also serves as cinematographer, he has outdone himself in terms of empty spectacle. This world of randomly appropriated iconography exists as little more than a series of slow-motion screen savers, unspooling without consequence ad nauseam.

Rebel Moon is not merely derivative, and indebted to numerous pre-existing creations, it barely even qualifies as a movie, let alone the next compelling addition to the science fiction canon.

Bae Doona in a still from Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver. Photo: Netflix

Across two films, Snyder has delivered a four-hour mood board for a grand genre spectacular he then somehow forgot to actually write. That he has the audacity to leave things open-ended might be his boldest move yet.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is streaming on Netflix.

Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.