The third episode of The Book of Boba Fett introduces a street gang called the Mods to the Star Wars universe. Operating on the streets of Mos Espa, they take their name from their love of modifying their bodies with droid parts. Not a bad idea on paper, but terribly executed. The episode sparked a lot of debate on social media about whether the gang was sufficiently Star Wars-esque, but I feel like that overshadowed the real issue — that the scooter chase they appear in was one of the worst moments in Star Wars history.
Right: a scooter chase. In Star Wars. In a slightly conspicuous nod to the vintage Vespas and Lambrettas favored by 1960s British mods, Mos Espa mods cruise around on polished, dazzlingly colorful hover scooters. They’re even covered in mirrors, just like mods in the ’60s decorated their scooters with mirrors, badges, lights, spinners, and other chrome embellishments to help them stand out from the crowd. It probably sounded better in the minds of the concept artists.
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Throwing back Earth’s past, of course, is nothing new in Star Wars – whether it’s Vader’s samurai-inspired armor, Dexter Jettster’s 1950s diner, or the fact that the films are replete with references to George Lucas’ love of California hot- rod culture. Sometimes it definitely works. Reminiscent of a feudal Japanese lord, Vader’s robes are a beautiful piece of design. But in the case of this cheesy space diner and scooter ride mods from The Book of Boba Fett, it just doesn’t quite fit. In fact, it just snaps me out of the illusion that this is a galaxy far, far away.
The mods themselves look like characters from a low-budget film adaptation of a YA novel, with some strikingly plastic-looking robot parts glued onto their faces. Plus, they look good for a seedy, impoverished street gang who are forced to steal water just to survive – and apparently have enough spare cash to keep their scooters spotless, polished and in good working order. Everything about them just feels bad. From the moment they first appeared on screen I was like, nope. You lost me here, Favreau.
Anyway, whatever you think of the mods and whether or not you think they go well with Star Wars, I think both sides of the debate can agree that the chase towards the end of the episode is awful. When the cowardly majordomo of the mayor of Mos Espa flees in a speeder, the mods spring into action, hop on their scooters and chase after him – at around five miles an hour. It’s one of the most sluggish, low-energy pursuit scenes I’ve seen and easily the worst of Star Wars since the deepest lows of the dreaded prequels.
These Star Wars shows are beautiful to watch, with special effects that often rival the movies. But the clunky way the scooters move in this chase really fails to convey the idea that we’re witnessing a dangerous, high-speed chase. It looks stiff and unconvincing, and when Drash slides across a roof and lands on the fleeing steward’s car, everything is floating and weird – like a video game with poorly implemented physics. What should have been an exciting ending made me wonder if I should even watch the next episode.
I will, because aside from that scene, I’m quite enjoying The Book of Boba Fett. It’s just that this scooter chase, with its tedious action, fake-looking special effects, and in the case of the mods, questionable stylistic choices, reminded me of the prequels at their worst and most indulgent. It’s hard to believe that Robert Rodriguez, the guy who directed Desperado and Sin City, could be responsible for such a bad action scene. There’s a long list of embarrassing things in Star Wars, and I’m fast-tracking the mods somewhere near the top.
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About the author
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Andy Kelly is a feature editor at TheGamer. He loves detective games, anything with a good story, weird indie stuff, and Alien: Isolation.
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