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A young girl missing an arm and leg snakes through a mass of drug-addled bodies lit by garish neon. The impressive muscles of cannibals glisten in the noonday sun. A horde of pregnant women tote machine guns and have serene expressions. These images on their own gesture toward a grimy, odd, dystopian fable. The failure of these occasionally hypnotic images to string together a coherent tone and emotional landscape is all the more galling considering this is the sophomore film from writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour .

Amirpour’s first film, “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night,” culled inspiration from a multitude of genres in a way that heralded the emergence of a distinctive directorial voice. Unfortunately, what made Amirpour compelling as a raconteur with her previous film gets lost on the broader canvas of "The Bad Batch." It’s astounding that a director that portrayed such stylistic panache in her debut could produce such an aimless, empty, muddled spectacle that reaches for the mythic but stumbles toward the mundane. The characters grate. The framing feels sloppy. The strange mix of genres and obvious influences sit uneasily next to each other. Late in the film, Keanu Reeves as a heavily mustachioed messiah figure called The Dream asks a question to the effect of, “Is all this really necessary?” I found myself wondering the same thing.

“The Bad Batch” centers uneasily on Arlen ( Suki Waterhouse ), a young Texan woman released into the wild desert frontier where all the undesirables of America are forced to weather dangerous terrain to survive. This is a world brimming with heavily muscled cannibals, bedraggled savages, scavengers, and mad men. Arlen is quickly captured by cannibals, only to have her arm and leg sawed off. But she musters the strength to escape her captors, setting off on an absurdist journey in which she meets a slew of off-beat characters, each more infuriating than the last.

Despite the way cinematographer Lyle Vincent capably shoots the dusty landscape, blaring neon of The Dream’s slice of paradise, and gleaming night sky, this world doesn’t feel expansive. It feels oddly claustrophobic because the world-building is too scattershot and poorly conceived. The near-wordless opening of Arlen being tagged, released into the wild, having her limbs sawed off, and her eventual escape presents a slew of intriguing avenues to explore. These first 15 minutes are undoubtedly the strongest thanks to the sure tone and unflinching violence which is simultaneously absurd and nauseating. But Amirpour presents a surprising lack of conviction in her own voice making the film’s most recognizable trait its utter confusion. The various styles— Russ Meyer level exploitation, road trip bonanza, would-be love story, revenge tale—sit uneasily next to one another, never cohesively forming into a singular approach.

Various ideas are flirted with only to be dropped altogether before they can have any impact. At times, Amirpour’s script gestures at real-life political allegories, like when Cuban immigrant Miami Man ( Jason Momoa ) mentions that he was forced into this landscape because of his immigration status. But Amirpour isn’t incisive or sensitive enough to develop such a storyline. The casting of Jason Momoa further undercuts the power of this brief moment as well. Momoa playing a Cuban immigrant who sports an accent that improbably tips into Mexican caricature is just one of the many examples of offensive racial politics.

[This paragraph contains spoilers.]  That there is continuous, grisly violence isn’t surprising considering the dystopian setting the characters find themselves trapped in. But how this violence is shot proves telling. Amirpour and Vincent are never more gruesome or detailed than when it comes to the deaths of two black characters. The more important of the two is Maria (Yolanda Ross). She’s Miami Man’s wife and the mother of his child, Honey ( Jayda Fink ), who hints at her issues with the cannibalism that proves to be their livelihood. Although she isn’t directly responsible for Arlen’s predicament she’s unceremoniously killed in front of Honey by her. Arlen is set up as an avenging angel who becomes a potential love interest for Miami Man and a poor mother figure for Honey. No one mourns Maria’s death. She’s all but forgotten by the people in her life. Not by Armirpour though. Her corpse is seen once more. This time a crow incessantly pecks at her eyes creating a scene that is starkly cruel and unnecessary. [End spoilers.]

Violence in “The Bad Batch” has neither artistic nor narrative purpose. Characters wield vengeance in ways that doesn’t track with how they are introduced. Arlen is an especially frustrating character, shifting from avenging angel to demure would-be love interest whenever the story desires. What drives Arlen’s confounding decisions beyond mere survival? Why would Arlen be drawn to Miami Man given the vengeance she sought earlier? Why is The Dream framed as a villain when his dope pool, surprising kindness and strange harem of pregnant women seem to offer the only semblance of community in this world? The best that can be said is that the actors are very committed to their roles.

Reeves leans into the ridiculous nature of the world, drawing out his words and leveling his glare forcefully. Jim Carrey goes for it, unrecognizable as The Hermit, a dirty and surprisingly kind mute who wanders the desert vista without any discernible goal. He lurches, stares, and smiles with maniacal abandon. The performance doesn’t exactly work, but it is at least more distinctive than Diego Luna , who leaves no impression whatsoever. The less said about Momoa’s appalling accent and his lack of chemistry with anyone in his vicinity the better.

If “The Bad Batch” had a striking lead performance much could be forgiven. Unfortunately, Waterhouse is a pallid cinematic presence. Her glare isn’t steely but perennially confused. Her “Texas” accent becomes especially grating during a seemingly never-ending sequence in which Arlen gets high on acid and stumbles through the desert marveling at the starry sky while speaking insipid platitudes. This torpid scene in particular demonstrates how this sloppy handling of moods and rote visuals prohibits “The Bad Batch” from at least being an intriguing albeit scattershot genre exercise.

The striking voice and perspective that Amirpour demonstrated in her previous feature is nowhere to be found in this rank display of meaningless over-indulgence. The visual and sonic excess of “The Bad Batch” initially hides the failures of the film, but, ultimately, it’s impossible to ignore that this is a film with neither engaging emotional threads nor the kind of panache that makes such cinematic mayhem worth it. 

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The Bad Batch movie poster

The Bad Batch (2017)

Rated R for violence, language, some drug content and brief nudity.

118 minutes

Suki Waterhouse as Arlen

Jason Momoa as Joe

Keanu Reeves as The Dream

Giovanni Ribisi as Bobby

Jim Carrey as Hermit

Diego Luna as John

Yolonda Ross as Maria

Jayda Fink as Honey

Cory Roberts as The Bridgeman

Valiant Michael as Tex

  • Ana Lily Amirpour


  • Lyle Vincent
  • Alex O'Flinn

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The Bad Batch

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Watch The Bad Batch with a subscription on Netflix, rent on Fandango at Home, Prime Video, or buy on Fandango at Home, Prime Video.

What to Know

The Bad Batch has its moments, but it's too thinly written and self-indulgent to justify its length or compensate for its slow narrative drift.

Critics Reviews

Audience reviews, cast & crew.

Ana Lily Amirpour

Suki Waterhouse

Jason Momoa

Keanu Reeves

Yolonda Ross

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Review: Cannibalism, Hallucinogens and Keanu: ‘The Bad Batch’ Has It All

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movie review the bad batch

By A.O. Scott

  • June 22, 2017

Future historians — assuming that any such creatures exist — will surely identify the present moment as a golden age of dystopia. They may argue about whether our ever-proliferating political, ecological, technological and zombie-infested nightmares offer caution or consolation. Think about how bad things could get! But then again: Look how much worse they could be. Reality, meanwhile, inspires these dire visions and competes with them for sheer relentless awfulness.

All of which is to say that “The Bad Batch,” a messy, sunbaked pop-culture cobbler written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, is both a bummer and a blast. It conjures a bare-bones, moderately plausible near future in which criminals and other undesirables are subjected to a modern variant of the ancient practice of ostracism. After being tattooed behind the ear, members of the Bad Batch are abandoned on the far side of a border fence — we don’t know who paid for it — with a jug of water and a fast-food hamburger.

The opening sequence accompanies a young woman named Arlen ( Suki Waterhouse ) through this process. Her possessions include a couple of pairs of skimpy shorts, some voluntary skin ink and a sullen attitude. She wears the Bad Batch designation as a badge of honor.

But Arlen and the audience quickly learn that there are degrees of badness in this universe. The desert castaways have organized themselves into makeshift societies, two of which figure prominently in Arlen’s subsequent adventures. First she encounters an encampment of bodybuilders who practice cannibalism and aggressive tanning amid broken-down trailers and airplane detritus. Arlen is kidnapped, drugged, chained up and invited to dinner, one limb at a time.

“Y’all are pure evil” she will say when the time for revenge arrives, and while it’s hard to argue — the knowledge has literally cost her an arm and a leg — nothing is quite as simple as that. One of the people-eaters is a cute little girl named Honey (Jayda Fink) with a nonpredatory fondness for bunnies. She and her dad (Jason Momoa) — a taciturn, muscular dude identified as Miami Man by the letters inked on his chest — become part of Arlen’s initially feckless, increasingly determined existence. They serve as reminders of her own inconvenient humanity.

On the other side of an expanse of sandy flats, not too far from where the cannibals congregate, is a place called Comfort. A muttering wanderer (an unrecognizable Jim Carrey) deposits Arlen outside its gates. The residents of this relatively benign zone are kept safe by armed guards and ramparts made of shipping containers and kept happy with hallucinogens and dance music. The D.J. is played by Diego Luna. The patriarch of Comfort — church, state and pharmaceutical industry all at once — is a philosophical fellow with a droopy mustache and a retinue of pregnant concubines. He is played by Keanu Reeves.

That fact alone might be reason enough to brace yourself for episodes of shocking violence and spend some time in Ms. Amirpour’s world. Mr. Reeves in middle age is never not interesting, and he invests this role with the perfect alloy of gravity and goofiness. Happily, “The Bad Batch” is much more than a sacrament for devotees of the Higher Keanuism. It is a fluent and knowing pastiche of genres and styles with a brazen and vigorous wit of its own.

Ms. Amirpour’s 2014 debut feature, the Persian-language feminist vampire melodrama “ A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night ,” has already acquired a cult following. Like that film, which had traces of Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch and Aki Kaurismaki in its DNA, “The Bad Batch” is not shy about showing its influences, which appear to include “Mad Max,” “Kill Bill” and the lean, mean ’50s oaters of Budd Boetticher .

But Ms. Amirpour’s films are more than a sampling of her DVD collection; her engagement with familiar themes and classic tropes is as critical as it is admiring. “The Bad Batch,” a tale of vengeance, violence, power and redemption built on the ethical foundations of the traditional western, scrambles and satisfies expectations at the same time. Arlen walks a well-trodden path from outlaw self-preservation to righteousness, with interludes of lust, confusion and drug-enhanced stargazing. She veers toward some stereotypes and refutes others, keeping herself and the viewer in a state of perpetual unbalance.

“The Bad Batch” traffics in images and situations that evoke what used to be called exploitation movies, reveling in its own (and its heroine’s) anarchic, transgressive energy. As such, it’s good, dirty fun. But it also takes exploitation — of bodies, of feeling, of labor — seriously. You may wonder what the heck you’re looking at, but that’s kind of the point.

The Bad Batch Rated R for the butchering and consumption of human flesh. Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes.

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The Bad Batch isn't a great dystopian film, but it's definitely an interesting one

Like Mad Max , but not quite as thoughtful.

by Alissa Wilkinson

Suki Waterhouse in The Bad Batch

Suppose, for reasons that now seem irrelevant, that you were tossed into a dystopian wasteland beyond the reach of US law. You’re in the desert, surrounded by cracked and parched ground, with little shelter from the sun, and all you’ve got to your name is a baseball hat and a sandwich.

But, feeling unrepentant and maybe even a little relieved to be out from under the auspices of the law, you find shade in a broken-down car and contemplate your next move. In the distance, you hear a rumbling. In the rearview mirror, you see a golf cart hurtling toward you.

That’s the first few minutes of The Bad Batch , a stylish, nightmarish love story with strong Mad Max overtones that come close to compensating for its rather tepid plot. As was the case with writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour ’s debut feature, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night , The Bad Batch is a showcase for Amirpour’s fearless aesthetic choices and willingness to startle her audience. She’s a punk filmmaker, mixing horror with romance and sprinkling it with a healthy touch of female desire.

Yet dystopian stories usually aim to tell us something about ourselves today. And if The Bad Batch , which is basically a semi-convincing love story, is trying for that, it fails. Style overtakes substance, and the movie ends with a little too much of a shrug for having started out with so much imagination.

The Bad Batch quickly builds a fascinating nightmare of a world

Set somewhere in the near future, The Bad Batch drops its protagonist — ( Suki Waterhouse ), whose name we eventually discover is Arlen — into the arid desert and sets some hungry cannibals on her trail. The tribe is led by a character named Miami Man ( Jason Momoa , sporting massive pecs and a ludicrous Cuban accent); once they catch up with Arlen, they drug her and hack off a couple of limbs. From there, the world of the film builds, and we quickly realize this is no country for the young or the weak. Everyone out in this desert is part of the “bad batch,” a catchall term for anyone not deemed good enough for polite society.

Jason Momoa plays Miami Man in The Bad Batch

The Bad Batch doesn’t waste much time explaining itself, but we can fill in the blanks based on the characters we meet as we follow Arlen through the desert, who range from drug dealers and criminals to immigrants and strung-out wanderers who seem to have lost their minds. In the future, people relegated to the literal fringes of society are simply those who — whether by choice or compulsion — refuse to behave. It’s like Dante’s Inferno: None of the Bad Batch are sorry they’re there.

That’s an interesting concept, if not a particularly original one: The desert is ostensibly a prison colony filled with unrepentant sinners who would rather be left to their own devices than forced to live by others’ whims. Whether such a life is sustainable is a question; it seems that, at least in the world of The Bad Batch , people still ache to follow someone strong. Even those who fancy themselves rebels want a leader.

Arlen is scrappy, and she eventually escapes the cannibals’ clutches, making her way first on her own and then with the help of a scummy, toothless drifter ( Jim Carrey ) to a town called Comfort. It’s a community of Bad Batchers, surrounded by fences and shipping crates, who live in relative, well, comfort, in a makeshift hamlet that recalls an inverted version of The Leftovers ’ Jarden, Texas.

You can get noodles for a dollar in Comfort and live in a house, and hang out in a skate park. Or you can live in a tent by the fence and yell a lot, like the Screamer ( Giovanni Ribisi ). In Comfort, nobody will really bother you. But the name of the town still seems more like a cruel joke than an earnest promise.

Keanu Reeves in The Bad Batch

Comfort is benevolently ruled by a man known as the Dream (a mustachioed Keanu Reeves ), who gives its residents hallucinatory drugs and says things like, “To Enter the Dream, You Must Let the Dream Enter You” (it’s impossible to imagine him uttering such a phrase in any other way than in sentence caps). It’s no surprise that he’s guarded by a horde of pregnant, nubile young women. He throws parties deejayed by Jimmy ( Diego Luna ) and illuminated by neon lights against the desert sky.

Out beyond the reaches of the town, where the cannibals live by scrounging for food and cobbling together a life from scraps left in junkyards, Miami Man searches for his young daughter, who’s gone missing. When Arlen, high on the Dream’s substances, wanders out into the desert, she meets him there again. And this time, something sparks between them.

The Bad Batch squanders its strong start and rich setting on a too-thin plot

The first half of The Bad Batch is remarkably strong filmmaking, largely because Amirpour lets loose her imagination and tells the story just how she wants. There’s next to no dialogue for almost half the film; life is so brutish and nasty in the wasteland that most of the people who exist there are beyond language.

Occasionally, songs from Ace of Base, Culture Club, and White Lies pop up — but the most prominent aural input is just cranked-up sound design that amplifies the feeling of dirty horror, whether via the squeak of the hinges in a prosthetic limb, the fwing of a machete brought down on prey, or the sound of clothing tearing as a body is dragged across the dirt.

Amirpour’s eye for grotesquerie is perfect. Who else would think to stick a crow on top of a sign that says “Seek Comfort,” erected in the cracked desert ground, while a girl missing half her limbs lies on her back, scooting slowly along her way a skateboard in the relentless sunshine? Amirpour likes to keep shallow focus in her still frame, with one person at the center, drawing focus, while something shadowy and blurry approaches in the distance. Every shot is arresting, a carefully thought-out aid to building a world that still keeps some of its secrets hidden, tantalizing the audience and leaving us wanting more.

Suki Waterhouse in The Bad Batch

But though both Momoa and Waterhouse are fun to watch — stripped largely of words, they’re mostly acting with their marvelously expressive faces — their conversations feel somehow both under- and overwritten. Reeves, too, uses most of his limited screen time to deliver monologues that seem pinched and obvious. In fact, almost anytime someone says anything, it’s frustrating; the only good lines of dialogue come from one of the cannibals, Maria ( Yolonda Ross ), and her young daughter Honey ( Jayda Fink ).

By the end of The Bad Batch , I found myself wondering if it would be more effective to have just eliminated the talking entirely. Amirpour’s monochrome, feminist Iranian vampire tale A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was even more silent, and it worked because the director is so good at training her camera on the finely tuned performances she elicits from her cast. Would a silent dystopia, with its heightened sounds and visceral squirms, have made for a more haunting effect?

As it is, The Bad Batch seems not quite able to get a grasp on the reason for its existence. Too bad. There’s so much to work with here, out beyond the reaches of both society and the usual rules of filmmaking.

The Bad Batch releases in theaters on June 23.

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‘The Bad Batch’ Review: Jim Carrey and Keanu Reeves’ Thriller Is ‘Mad Max’ Meets ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’

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“ The Bad Batch ” turns a completely ridiculous premise — dystopian warfare in a sun-bleached desert filled with cannibals, a raving cult leader, desperate thieves and LSD — into a warm, at times even elegant salute to the transformative power of companionship. This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour ‘s sleek debut “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” another creepy premise given fresh life. With “The Bad Batch,” Amirpour pairs elements of “Mad Max” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” with western flavor for another beguiling ride. The scale has expanded and there are a few more recognizable faces this time around, but nothing about the movie’s inspired wackiness bears the whiff of compromise.

“The Bad Batch” further solidifies the strength of Amirpour’s idiosyncratic vision, which takes familiar details and bends them into spiky bursts of unpredictability. Whereas the melancholic black-and-white milieu of “Girl” featured a lonely vampire in an Iranian ghost town and the somber pariah who falls for her, “The Bad Batch” remixes some of the same beats with a neo-western makeover. Amirpour once again follows a sullen, isolated woman as she roams an empty landscape and finds camaraderie in the unlikeliest of places. “The Bad Batch” doesn’t quite match the imaginative polish of Amirpour’s debut, but it excels at fusing outrageous genre pastiche with a colorful homegrown universe.

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READ MORE: Ana Lily Amirpour Is the Raddest Filmmaker Working Right Now

Nothing in “The Bad Batch” can match its stunning opening scenes, a wordless blend of horror and suspense that establishes its minimalist world of devious outcasts. In the vaguely post-apocalyptic setting, pariahs deemed unworthy of society are exiled to the lawless American desert and forced to fend for their lives. The movie begins with Arlen (British model Suki Waterhouse, stern and anxious) venturing into the orange wasteland, only to become the prey of a local cannibal gang that lives in the midst of an airplane graveyard. Amirpour wastes no time ramping up the intensity: Limps get loped off, blood spurts wildly and the wrenching visceral details of Arlen’s captivity promptly enter “The Texas Chainsaw” territory. But then Arlen finds her way to a desperate escape, strapped to the front of a skateboard, as “The Bad Batch” careens in another intriguing direction.    

Like a freewheeling graffiti riff on the western backdrop that inspired it, “The Bad Batch” settles into its setting with the leisurely second act, set months later in a fortified town called Comfort. Now one-armed and a sporting a prosthetic leg, drifter Arlen bears more than a little in common with “Mad Max: Fury Road” scene-stealer Furiosa, and has a similar fighting spirit. When she exacts revenge on one cannibal on Comfort’s outskirts, she winds up bringing home the dead woman’s child, which leads her brawny father to launch a rescue mission. A scowling mass of muscles in a flimsy wife-beater, the no-nonsense Miami Man (Jason Momoa) heads straight toward Comfort, where he encounters a dazed Arlen in the midst of an acid trip. From there, the pair forge an unlikely bond as he forces her to help him track down the missing girl, and she discovers a kindred spirit in his alienated existence.

The expressionistic setting drifts through various odd confrontations with a grander sense of scale than Amirpour’s previous film. Once again aided by cinematographer Lyle Vincent, “The Bad Batch” answers the moody shadows of “Girl” with washed-out redness of rocky exteriors (almost the entire film takes place outdoors) and smooth camerawork that never breaks the narrative spell. But the evolution in production is particularly notable from the addition of a few recognizable faces.

In only a handful of scenes without a single line of dialogue, Jim Carrey is virtually unrecognizable as a mute nomad pushing a shopping cart around the desert and shifting allegiances as he watches various dramas from afar. It’s an amusing cameo that turns Carrey into a kind of grungy figure of slapstick.

movie review the bad batch

Tackling a more prominent role, Keanu Reeves takes on much greater prominence in the film’s uneven final third, as a psychedelically-charged Jim Jones-like spiritual leader who holds court over Comfort from a giant boom box where the town gathers for histrionic raves. Long-haired, mustachioed and hiding behind shades, Reeves drifts into the movie like a dreamlike version of his usual introverted cinematic persona with mixed results. His monologues about supporting the town (specifically “the shit comes out all your little assholes”) have a gimmicky quality out of sync with the more fully realized aspects of the embellished scenario found elsewhere; ditto the cult of pregnant women he keeps like pets in his enclave, who wear t-shirts emblazoned with the blunt slogan “the dream is inside me.”

Still, it’s fun to watch this iconic pop culture figure chew on such vivid scenery, and “The Bad Batch” shifts gears so often that it’s bound to show a few cracks in its conceits. Amirpour’s script finds steadier ground when developing the chemistry between Arlen and Miami Man, an unlikely pairing that grows more credible as they find a mutual source of frustration in the system that cast them out in the first place. While in one sense a prolonged metaphor for a broken society driven to extremes through rampant neglect, it’s also a vivid call to arms for ostracized souls to reshape their conditions by coming together.

As a whole, Amirpour presents these evocative concepts as a form of absurdist poetry, heightened by a pop music backdrop and surrealist imagery. “We’re in the darkest corners of the earth, and we’re afraid of our own kind,” one character laments, and it registers as a rallying call in the midst of the madness. Judging by her first two features, that would appear to be Amirpour’s artistic manifesto. But it’s less didactic than creatively endearing, a repurposing of storytelling conventions in a unique ideological context. “The Bad Batch” molds one genre after another into something new — an original voice on par with the attitude of its fiercely independent characters.

“The Bad Batch” premiered at the 2016 Venice Film Festival and will next screen at TIFF. It is currently seeking distribution.

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Movie Review – The Bad Batch (2017)

June 19, 2017 by Robert Kojder

The Bad Batch , 2017.

Written and Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour Starring Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, Giovanni Ribisi, Jayda Fink, Cory Roberts, Yolanda Ross, and Diego Luna

A dystopian love story in a Texas wasteland and set in a community of cannibals.

Before even getting into how artistically weird yet visually arresting  The Bad Batch is, it is necessary to point out that regardless of whether one likes her films or not, Ana Lily Amirpour is making a name for herself as a must watch slaying writer/director combination. The Bad Batch is a dystopian, Mad Max reminiscent wasteland, pseudo-apocalyptic resembling experience (I intentionally hesitate to use the word story, as there largely is none), which is the polar opposite from her equally unique black and white Iranian vampire debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night . Amirpour is an auteur with a whopping range of artistic expression.

This time around, she’s also working with a highly talented cast utilized in a number of smaller roles. Beyond Texas lies a wasteland specifically designed for extreme criminals and those deemed not suitable to fit in with normal society (you can start drawing a host of political allegories now and throughout the movie), which is populated by mute drifter hermits wandering the desert, civilized towns that have the makeup and feel of something players would come across in a Fallout video game, another secluded area made up of cannibals, and more. Driving the movie forward and also ensuring the lengthy running time rarely becomes boring or wears out its welcome are numerous thinly drawn characters at surface level, who carry layers of subtext.

Giovanni Ribisi plays a townsman at Comfort (led by a charismatic, porn mustache rocking Keanu Reeves) who apparently spends his days walking around screaming obscenities and nonsense as the village idiot, but done so in a way that presents the lunatic as someone worth further exploring. The movie never does, as it is deliberately vague and frankly, there isn’t enough time to give everyone a story, but it all breathes life into the supremely crafted world building. Another stand out is Jim Carrey’s aforementioned mute hermit, complete with the animated facial expressions that launched his career into fame except here accomplishing more subtle, silent movie style conversations. It’s never clear why he’s willingly choosing to just hang out in the desert, but he almost seems as a protector or guide of sorts for those aimlessly lost, both spiritually and physically.

Anyway, the meat of the loose narrative arc follows a young woman named Arlen (played by Suki Waterhouse giving a relatively strong debut performance eliciting emotions ranging from hopelessness, vulnerability, to inner strength and moments of physical defiance) navigating the different sectors of the wasteland. She encounters the lowest of the low and those that surprisingly are able to function in a civilized manner, yet puts her main priority into caring for a young girl she stumbles across, who is actually the daughter or daughter figure of Jason Momoa’s intimidating cannibal bad ass. I don’t want to spoil what little story there is, but I will say that The Bad Batch consistently enjoys defying your expectations, shifting genres with grace while also maintaining the same bleak tone. The ending may not be as moving as intended but is ultimately a bittersweet culmination of a string of events.

Of course, making up for the scarce narrative are imaginative and fully realized visual aesthetics. Comfort operates on a class system, and let’s just say Keanu Reeves is somehow living the dream (he somehow has spaghetti in the wasteland). Surrounding his rave scene environments are some trippy drugs and life-sized boomboxes playing a wide variety of different styles of electronic music, along with some notable classic pop songs. The cinematography of the wasteland itself is also impressive and executed with precision; an earlier scene of Arlen hiding out in an abandoned vehicle as ravagers slowly drive into focus from the background is a definite winner.

Visually, The Bad Batch also takes pride in provoking thought from writings on signs and various objects characters possess. The film is always drilling into the inhabitants of the wasteland to find comfort and to let the dream enter them, which subtly keeps audiences thinking about the themes after the credits roll. There’s also an extended, stimulating dialogue conversation towards the end with Keanu Reeves (he’s known as simply The Dream) and Arlen; it adds to the philosophical nature of the storytelling. Furthermore, some sights (a random drifter in town dressed as the Statue of Liberty holding a sign stating something about finding freedom) wouldn’t be an out of place image in today’s America.

Obviously, The Bad Batch is not for everyone and will probably frustrate the living hell out of anyone that absolutely needs a coherent plot to find enjoyment from a film. With that said, it’s nowhere near as pretentious as one might assume; it’s beautifully captured and peppers in numerous characters so interesting that they each could probably have their own film. The story is not the reason The Bad Batch works, world building with memorable performances from limited roles deliver the lasting impression. Additionally, Amirpour’s first two films are so wildly different from one another, that whenever she pursues next should already be eagerly anticipated.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★

Robert Kojder – Chief Film Critic of Flickering Myth. Check here for new reviews weekly, friend me on Facebook, follow my Twitter or  Letterboxd , or email me at [email protected]


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The Bad Batch Review

By Chris Alexander

The Bad Batch: Allegorical future-shock cannibal drama is almost a masterpiece

The first 45 minutes of director Ana Lilly Amirpour ‘s sophomore genre-bender (following the stark, monochrome A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night ) The Bad Batch is so singular in its vision, so pulsing with energy, art and ideas that by contrast, the rest of it is a bit of a shrug, bleeding out into a wave of exposition and hastily resolved narrative and character arcs.

But man, oh man… those first 45 minutes!

The Bad Batch literally hits the ground running, with Suki Waterhouse ‘s lithe Arlen fleeing a future-Texas desert Hell from motorcycle-riding assailants who takes her back to their camp, restrain her and inject her with some sort of fluid before hacking off her arm and leg and eating them! It’s a bold passage of violence and odd poetry propelled by an equally-odd soundtrack and, despite the graphic nature of the sequence, it’s shot with, er, taste. Suddenly Amirpour trots out a rogues gallery of miscreants, a cannibal tribe of weight lifters — even the women are ripped — led by the hulking Jason Momoa ( Game of Thrones , Justice League ) that seem pulled from the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky (with echoes of pictures like The Witch Who Came From the Sea and select works by Kenneth Anger) and yet are still unlike anything else seen on screen. As Arlen drifts in and out of her haze and sees others like her, human livestock, missing limbs and wallowing in misery, the scrappy woman with the too-short jean shorts plots her escape. Said escape involves caking herself in her own excrement and with her one-arm, wielding an iron pipe while wheeling herself away on a skateboard.

That all this mesmerizing madness is related by Amirpour and her cast without a word of discernible dialogue makes it all the more powerful, a battle cry against genre films that pad their running times and murder their own souls with tin-eared verbiage, refusing to trust that their audience is engaged enough and intelligent enough to follow along using universally understood sound and image, body language and movement. But when Arlen weaves her way to the neighboring camp of “Comfort” and “rescues” the daughter of her former cannibal captor, Amirpour either loses her nerve or listened to too many money people who likely suggested that she compromise her vision.

See, The Bad Batch is very clearly an unsubtle allegory for the New America, specifically honing in on the “have-nots,” those on the fringes who often are forced to create their own sub-societies, governed by their own laws and codes. These are motifs alive in the best spaghetti westerns, where Europeans presented a fascinating outsider’s view of the already fantastical cinematic visions of early America and the director herself has cited The Bad Batch as a neo-western of sorts. With our man Trump blathering about walls and blustering through attempts to keep “undesirables” out, The Bad Batch ‘s entire Escape From New York -ish set-up speaks of this current regime’s skewed view on “the other” and Amirpour makes the point here that “the other” is really an illusion, and only a matter of perspective. And again, she does this with image and sound, not words. She does it with revolting scenes of human barbecue and instantly-iconic imagery (Waterhouse’s “happy face ass” will likely live on in cinema history forever). Truly, Amirpour is an intelligent, bold filmmaker and it’s beyond exciting to watch her create this world, her world.

But then, as the movie trods on, people start talking — a lot — including Keanu Reeves’ Jim Jones-esque leader, whose hammy oration (Reeves truly is the new Nicolas Cage) pushes the movie into camp but also has the unfortunate effect of hammering home explicitly everything Amirpour has taken an effort to allude to in the abstract (Reeves literally says that freedom costs an arm and a leg to our limb-challenged heroine). Suddenly the film is awash in heavy-handedness, from fractured puzzles of the American flag, the slogan-heavy T-shirts key characters wear, to signs, signs, everywhere signs. The movie loses its footing and feels like the intellectual at the party who has one-too-many and just dissolves into a puddle of punchy preaching.

But no matter. There’s more than enough fire and strangeness and near-feral originality to make The Bad Batch an important film from one of the most exciting cinematic voices currently alive. There’s no other film like it. And hey, Jim Carrey appears as a mute Gabby Hayes-esque desert rat. That alone makes the movie worth a watch.

Chris Alexander

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The bad batch, common sense media reviewers.

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Daring, dark, violent art house movie isn't for everyone.

The Bad Batch Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Buried under all of the film's weird, dreamy event

Characters struggle to get by, mainly doing their

The movie deals with cannibalism and gets quite go

Images from a "nudie" magazine include naked femal

Not constant but includes uses of "f--k," "s--t,"

Characters wear Converse Chuck Taylor shoes.

A sequence shows characters on hallucinogenic drug

Parents need to know that The Bad Batch is a somewhat experimental dystopian movie that deals with cannibalism, among other mature topics. So you can expect plenty of violence, including severed arms and legs, guns and shooting, dead bodies, blood spatters, beating, fighting, and stabbing. Images from a …

Positive Messages

Buried under all of the film's weird, dreamy events is the idea that all the "undesirables" in the world -- i.e. the poor, the unhealthy, the non-white -- are sent into unwilling exile. The movie clearly doesn't support this idea, but it also doesn't talk much about how it came to be or why.

Positive Role Models

Characters struggle to get by, mainly doing their own thing. Some thrive on power, and some aren't above acts of violence.

Violence & Scariness

The movie deals with cannibalism and gets quite gory/graphic. A girl is tackled, abducted, tied up, and injected with a needle. Arms and legs are severed; blood spatters. A woman is beaten with a piece of metal rebar. A character is covered in excrement. Stabbing (with blades and butcher knives), neck snapping, corpse cutting, and armless/legless victims shown. Prisoners cry and beg. Guns and shooting shown; a character is shot and killed. Bloody wounds/corpse seen. Rabbits killed (offscreen).

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.

Sex, Romance & Nudity

Images from a "nudie" magazine include naked female breasts and bottoms. Several shirtless bodybuilders are shown. The main character is dressed in revealing clothing. Dogs mate in the street.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

Not constant but includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "ass," bitch," and "goddamn."

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Products & Purchases

Drinking, drugs & smoking.

A sequence shows characters on hallucinogenic drugs (acid?). Some smoke cigarettes. Piles of different kinds of pills and drugs shown.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Bad Batch is a somewhat experimental dystopian movie that deals with cannibalism, among other mature topics. So you can expect plenty of violence, including severed arms and legs, guns and shooting, dead bodies, blood spatters, beating, fighting, and stabbing. Images from a "nudie" magazine are shown (bare breasts and bottoms), as are shirtless male bodybuilders; dogs are seen mating in the street. Language isn't frequent but includes "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," and more. Characters smoke cigarettes and take what appears to be acid and have a hallucinogenic "trip." Viewers also see piles of pills and other drugs. Ultimately, it's an amazing but unusual movie that's really only for the most daring viewers; others will likely lose patience. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .

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Based on 1 parent review

Not healthy for everyone.

What's the story.

In THE BAD BATCH, Arlen ( Suki Waterhouse ) is given a number tattoo, taken to a fence, and locked in. This is a dystopian world where the "bad batch" -- i.e. society's undesirables -- is sent to the desert to fend for themselves. Arlen encounters a group of cannibals, led by the mountainous "Miami Man" ( Jason Momoa ), who cut off her arm and her leg. Then a helpful hermit ( Jim Carrey ) brings her to the town of "Comfort," which is run by a well-spoken man called The Dream ( Keanu Reeves ). Arlen settles in, surrounded by strange characters. While scavenging the wastelands, she runs into two of the cannibals. She kills one and takes the other, a little girl, back to Comfort. Unfortunately, this brings Miami Man to her door.

Is It Any Good?

Though definitely not for mainstream tastes, Ana Lily Amirpour's bizarre, beautiful film feels like an arthouse movie from an earlier time, more of a dare than a comfort, more active than passive. The Bad Batch takes a few cues from defiant, edgy movies like the Mad Max series, The Hills Have Eyes , Tank Girl , El Topo , and Zabriskie Point , but it's different in its own unique way. Amirpour, who made an impressive debut with the equally hard-to-categorize A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night , is gifted at pure cinema.

Her compositions are extraordinary, using powerful depth of space as well as odd, striking juxtapositions in nearly every shot. She favors silence over dialogue, though music is important. Mainly, her movies seem to be about wanderers (like modern-day cowboys) exploring weird landscapes and perhaps hoping to find a place that seems good enough. Along the way -- at least in The Bad Batch -- the journey is funny, horrifying, magical, awful, and beautiful, with so many great moments, especially the surprising performance by Carrey. Many will find the 118-minute running time a bit daunting for an "experimental" movie, but a few brave souls will be totally swept away.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about The Bad Batch 's violence . How much is shown, and how much is suggested? How does the movie use violence to suggest the mood and atmosphere of this dystopian world?

How is drug use depicted? Is it glamorized? Are there consequences for taking drugs? Why does that matter?

What are the rules of this world? Why are people locked away in the desert? How are they chosen? Do you agree with the rationale? Why or why not?

Does "Comfort" look like a good place to live? How does the drug-based economy work? How does it compare to where you live now?

Movie Details

  • In theaters : June 23, 2017
  • On DVD or streaming : September 19, 2017
  • Cast : Suki Waterhouse , Jason Momoa , Keanu Reeves
  • Director : Ana Lily Amirpour
  • Inclusion Information : Female actors, Indigenous actors, Polynesian/Pacific Islander actors, Asian actors
  • Studio : Neon
  • Genre : Science Fiction
  • Run time : 118 minutes
  • MPAA rating : R
  • MPAA explanation : violence, language, some drug content and brief nudity
  • Last updated : February 18, 2023

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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Review: ‘The Bad Batch’ reveals a muddled but visually striking desert dystopia

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The title of “The Bad Batch,” Ana Lily Amirpour’s arid and feverish new movie, refers to the assorted undesirables who have been exiled by the U.S. government to a vast and barely habitable stretch of Texas wasteland. Under a merciless sun, a sullen new arrival named Arlen (the British actress Suki Waterhouse) is promptly captured by a gang of iron-pumping cannibals who tie her up, drug her and divest her of an arm and a leg.

Arlen escapes, barely, and finds her way to a makeshift town of losers and drifters, noodle carts and shipping containers laughably known as Comfort. Ruled over by a self-styled messiah/drug dealer/harem-keeper known as the Dream (Keanu Reeves), Comfort is a slight improvement on Arlen’s previous situation. But it’s still no country for old men or young women — or, for that matter, a little girl named Honey (Jayda Fink) and her bunny rabbit, both token symbols of innocence in this dust-choked dystopia.

Honey’s father is a towering slab of muscle named Miami Man, a reference to his Cuban expatriate roots that is helpfully tattooed across his impossibly bulked-up chest. He’s played by Jason Momoa, the smoldering Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo on “Game of Thrones” who will play Aquaman in the forthcoming DC Comics movies. Framed here against staggering desert vistas, Momoa is not so much man as monolith, as slab-like and expressively inarticulate as the obelisk in “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Any Stanley Kubrick influence is otherwise absent from “The Bad Batch,” a marriage of grindhouse horror and acid western that feels conceived under the spell of Sergio Leone, Alejandro Jodorowsky, George Miller and Quentin Tarantino. It’s the second feature film written and directed by Amirpour; her justly acclaimed 2014 debut, the Iranian vampire thriller “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” established her as a formalist of striking confidence.

The visual and sonic acumen of that film is also evident in “The Bad Batch,” from its killer electronic soundtrack to the shimmering, sun-blasted widescreen images captured by the cinematographer Lyle Vincent. (Texas is played, sensationally, by the squatter community of Slab City, Calif.) The movie is a spellbinding physical object, a thing of ramshackle buildings and endless horizons, that begs to be seen on the big screen if at all.

But here Amirpour’s stylistic flair must work overtime to fill the gaps in an increasingly patchy and wayward narrative. Pauses and longueurs can be effective, particularly in a setting where a measure of tedium comes with the wide-open terrain, but the deliberation of the pacing is not warranted by the film’s thin, circuitous story.

Punctuating its long stretches of desert-wandering indolence with quick, brutal spasms of violence, “The Bad Batch” eventually coalesces around the tenuous bond that forms between Arlen, armed with a pistol and a prosthetic leg, and Miami Man, who’s handy with a cleaver and other sharp objects. Their mission is to find and rescue Honey, a familiar if effective point of entry into an unflattering mirror on America, in all its pointless savagery, sexual exploitation, class oppression and rapacious capitalism run amok.

Yeah, I don’t entirely buy it, either. As a politically barbed fantasy, “The Bad Batch” is intriguing but facile; as a bid for cult-classic status, it’s strained and self-conscious (though it is fun to see Reeves pimping and Jim Carrey slumming as a mute vagrant). Amirpour has vision to burn, and inside this not-so-bad batch of splendid atmospherics and half-baked ideas is a leaner, sharper movie trying to chew its way out.


‘The Bad Batch’

Rating: R, for violence, language, some drug content and brief nudity

Running time: 1 hour, 58 minutes

Playing: ArcLight Cinemas, Hollywood

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The Bad Batch (Movie Review)

Luke's rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ director: ana lily amirpour | release date: 2017.

With a name like The Bad Batch and the movie that subsequently unfolds, it's not unfair to assume that the characters--perhaps even the director--are enduring some unfathomable drug trip. Instead, what Ana Lily Amirpour has constructed is her very own Mad Max story that combines her arthouse sensibilities with the grit and grime of a grindhouse flick. 

The plot is thin, dialogue is minimal, but Amirpour is diligent and effective in her particular brand of visual storytelling. In The Bad Batch , a seemingly dystopian future takes individuals deemed unfit for society (referred to as "Bad Batch"), takes their personal affects, tattoos a number behind their ear (kind of like a prison inmate) and sets them on their way beyond a fence into the dry lawless wastelands of Texas to fend for themselves. 

At the outset, we are introduced to, Arlen (Suki Waterhouse), a quiet seemingly innocent girl that doesn't seem like she belongs amongst the Bad Batch. Twenty minutes pass with barely any dialogue as Arlen finds out just how cruel and unforgiving life as part of the bad batch can be. As the film progresses the lack of dialogue becomes less a thing of note and more of an artistic choice as the dialogue that's there is just enough to give enough context and world building to fill in the blanks. Waterhouse holds the screen well as the flawed heroine that starts her journey seeking vengeance. In the process, Arlen's complexities open the door to a role as rescuer, but also the instigator of an awkward "romance" that blossoms like a dried desert weed with Miami Man (Jason Mamoa). 

Revenge, romance and lots and lots of waking from place to place. There are essentially three locations in the film--the desert, a garbage dump, and a compound of bad batch residents known as Comfort--just one of many playful thematics in Amipour's holster. Comfort's 'mayor' if you will is none other than a man who everyone refers to as, The Dream (Keanu Reeves doing some weird Elvis-like impersonation). The Dream lives in a mansion within comfort with a stable of pregnant chicks wearing "The Dream is Inside Me" t-shirts, and freely gives away trippy drugs to the locals during raves like some sort of DJ fueled church service. Yes, as far as outcasts in a dystopian society it seems Comfort ain't too shabby. Arlen isn't a fan though and she sets off to right a wrong that she herself is responsible for. Which is about where the awkward "romance" starts kicking in. 

By now you've got an idea of how weirdly indulgent certain aspects of The Bad Batch can be, but not how hilariously indulgent it gets. Lingering camera work and random shots like Giovanni Ribisi air humping in slow motion while watching two dogs gettin' it on. Little things like the magical dystopian hobo (played by a completely mute Jim Carey) that literally uses a wad of cash to keep a fire going. The symbolism and thematic elements are so exaggerated at times it can make your head hurt--but also charms the pants off those digging what Amirpour is laying down. 

You'll need both hands to count how many times Waterhouse's butt is framed off-center wearing the short shorts with the winking smiley face, meanwhile Jason Momoa charges around on screen shirtless in silky white pants playing a cannibal with mad drawing skills and wicked butcher knife moves. Performances aren't really the name of the game, as Amipour sets such a minimalist tone only opening the characters to speak in simple terms--except for Reeve's The Dream, who is a walking fortune cookie. 

The Bad Batch is artistic exploitation. A grindhouse cult flick from an up and coming director with a incredible visual eye itching for a bloated budget and open-minded audience that'll indulge her out-there ideas. Promising out of the gate but so thinly plotted that its story can't sustain the length. The Bad Batch is all at once weird, visually striking, ugly and in the end--like the dirt and grime of the desert--sticks on you whether you like it or not.

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Review – The Bad Batch

movie review the bad batch

There is a paltry amount of dialogue in The   Bad Batch. This is a good tool. Convincing dialogue would not have been weighty or forceful enough to present this abject life. Netflix Original The  Bad Batch, which originally was a limited release before the corporation got their sweaty paws on it, follows the story of a young girl named Arlen, who has ended up in an abandoned area of Texas which is fenced off from civilisation.

The people residing in this barren desert are labelled as the ‘bad batch’; which the movie doesn’t make clear why they are named after a substandard drug trade. With certainty, you understand in the first twenty-five minutes that this is a terrible place. Arlen is immediately captured by slimy cannibals and as you can imagine by the movie’s promotional posters, her immediate fate is not a desirable one. Amongst the wickedness of the narrative, The B ad Batch serves up a treat.

Whilst you do not hear a word uttered until well after she loses an arm and a leg, director Ana Lily Amirpour uses her immediate resources effectively: the desert and the camera. When an area of land is riddled, it’s best to show it. It brings legitimacy to the story that you can imagine to be real whilst a human indulges into another cooked human. Waste, broken vehicles, old clothes, the sound of wind and the constant fatigue of walking through hot sand gives The   Bad Batch credibility.

movie review the bad batch

The story is fascinating. It comprises of two camps. One is a cannibal group and the other is called Comfort. The tangible difference is noticeable as the movie tries to provide a vision of a group of people trying to get on with their situation, whilst the other only thirsts for one thing: survival. As an audience, you find yourself in the end only interested in Arlen’s objective, which is to find a life for herself in such minimal scope of existence. For a world where characters are not meant to be liked, Suki Waterhouse does an excellent job making Arlen interesting and believable. The use of low-level dialogue is used to her advantage.

Despite its obvious praises, there is a period of lull in the final phases. The difficulty is, once the world is understood, it is difficult to maintain the same level of interest, but nor does the film try to reel you back in. The  Bad Batch could have benefitted from being 10 minutes shorter, because there was clearly an incentive to provide the audience with a deeper understanding of this abandoned Texas. If I am honest, I did not care. My sole interest was in the outcome of Arlen.

The Bad Batch is a very good film. Do not let its description sway you away from watching it. It is not that violent despite the gruesome topic. Oh, it also stars Keanu Reeves so if you want to see him again in a role you find slightly uncanny (like To The Bone) then add this to your watch list. It is surprisingly beautiful.

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Star Wars: The Bad Batch

Dee Bradley Baker in Star Wars: The Bad Batch (2021)

The "Bad Batch" of elite and experimental clones make their way through an ever-changing galaxy. The "Bad Batch" of elite and experimental clones make their way through an ever-changing galaxy. The "Bad Batch" of elite and experimental clones make their way through an ever-changing galaxy.

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REVIEW: “The Bad Batch” Season 3

movie review the bad batch

Expectations were high heading into the third and final season of “The Bad Batch”. Creator and showrunner Dave Filoni along with the wizards at LucasFilm Animation had set the bar high after two strong seasons. To no surprise Season 3 didn’t disappoint. That doesn’t mean we aren’t left with questions. In fact, I could write a lengthy essay focused solely on the many things left to ponder following the show’s final episode. But to be honest, that’s a big part of the fun when it comes to S tar Wars.

Set shortly after the events of the feature film “Revenge of the Sith”, the Bad Batch set out to take a deeper look at the clone soldiers who were created solely to fight for Emperor Palpatine and his fledgling Empire. The series explores what happened to the clones once Palpatine deemed them to be expendable and took his cloning experiments to more sinister depths. And it’s all brought to life through the eyes of Clone Force 99, a small squad of defective yet genetically altered clones, each with their own unique combat specialties.

movie review the bad batch

Clone Force 99, or the “Bad Batch” as they were affectionately known, found themselves on the the run from the Empire after rescuing and taking in Omega, a young unaltered clone from the top-secret laboratory deep inside Mount Tantiss. Omega proved to be an invaluable piece to the well-hidden experiments happening under the direction of Palpatine’s chief scientist Royce Hemlock. On their journey, the Bad Batch and Omega experienced their share of danger and loss which all helped set the table for the third season.

Taking place in the wake of the sinister Order 66, the Bad Batch’s story has offered all kinds of connecting tissue that helps bring the post-prequel trilogy story together. Season three goes even further, not only filling in gaps from the past but reaching ahead to the sequel trilogy. But at its core, the story revolves around the growing connection between Omega and her brothers/father figures. Every episode feeds on their relationships and the writers do an incredible job nurturing it as the season progresses.

Once again, the animation is spectacular throughout. And with a couple of exceptions, the episodic storytelling is terrific. But you can’t talk about The Bad Batch , especially Season 3, and not mention the extraordinary voice work. A special industry award should be made just for Dee Bradley Baker. He voices every Bad Butch member, imbuing Hunter, Wrecker, Echo, and Crosshair with their own unique personalities and qualities. And if that wasn’t enough, he also voices nearly every other clone in the series, much as he did in ”The Clone Wars”. It’s truly mind-boggling talent.

But also good is Michelle Ang as the voice of Omega. Throughout the series Ang chronicles Omega’s journey through various stages of her life. She brings such warmth and sincerity while capturing the qualities that make Omega such a joy. Season 3 sees Omega’s early naïveté replaced by a maturity forged from her ever-changing and often perilous circumstances. At the same time, Ang’s performance brings out the empathy in Omega which proves to be a crucial part of the character.

movie review the bad batch

In addition to the main cast, Season 3 brings back a number of Star Wars favorites. They include Tarkin (once again voiced by the superb Stephen Stanton), the notorious bounty hunter Cad Bane (Corey Burton), the cool and calculated Fennec Shand (the indomitable Ming-Na Wen) and the mysterious yet deadly Asajj Ventress (a returning Nika Futterman). This is just a sample-size of the many heroes, villains, and in-betweens who pop up and add heft to Season 3.

Helmed by the directing trio of Saul Ruiz, Nate Villanueva, and Steward Lee, “The Bad Batch” Season 3 does an exceptional job bringing this highly entertaining and unexpectedly moving Star Wars story to a close. LucasFilm Animation once again raises the bar in visual storytelling while Dave Filoni and his team of creators continue to expand the galaxy far, far away in exciting new ways. Star Wars remains in capable hands. And for fans who love the franchise’s ever-growing mythos, “The Bad Batch” is a satisfying three-season entry full of warmth, thrills, and plenty of surprises. “The Bad Batch” is streaming exclusively on Disney+.


movie review the bad batch

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7 thoughts on “ review: “the bad batch” season 3 ”.

You don’t watch TV programmes you told me!

Only Star Wars…😂😂😂

I do hope to have the time to watch this soon as I’ve heard great things about it.

It’s so good. Star Wars animation rarely disappoints.

I have Disney+ as part of a free phone package (not really free as a pay mucho dinero for the phone service, but…) yet rarely watch it. Do I have to know anything beyond the Star Wars basics to watch The Bad Batch?

Hmm. That’s a toughie. It takes place around the end of Revenge of the Sith. But there are a lot of connections to The Clone Wars animated series.

It’s hard to say.

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movie review the bad batch

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 3, Episode 8 Is Apocalypse Now

The following contains major spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 3, Episode 8, "Bad Territory," now streaming on Disney+.

The creative team behind Star Wars: The Bad Batch has become increasingly more skilled at sculpting adventure of the week stories that also push forward the show's larger story in crucial ways. Season 3, Episode 8, "Bad Territory" is a terrific example of that, as the episode functions on both a stand-alone level and as a piece of the serialized puzzle. It offers both thrilling action setpieces and intimate character work.

While Hunter and Wrecker's travels lead them to meet one of Star Wars ' best bounty hunters , Omega and Crosshair continue to conflict -- and connect -- with one another in the episode. What is technically a self-contained adventure for the clones has larger implications for more than one character. With only seven more installments left in The Bad Batch , "Bad Territory" gets the most out of every moment, making a relatively small plot feel much bigger.

Omega's Role in The Bad Batch Is Further Defined

Bad territory explores more of her relationships with the clones, the bad batch marks an important milestone for star wars.

The lingering question from the two-part epic of The Bad Batch Season 3 is what an M-Count is and why the Empire specifically needs Omega for their nefarious and Emperor-centric Project Necromancer. This question is the driving force behind “Bad Territory,” and several elements of “Bad Territory” are explicitly driven by the implied answers -- in ways both big and small. One of the most fascinating aspects of the episode is the way in which this confusion affects the relationship between Omega and Hunter.

Hunter has long served as a surrogate father to Omega, even better than Din Djarin . But in Season 3, that idea has been challenged by the re-introduction of Crosshair. As Omega’s relationship with Crosshair has deepened and grown more meaningful, her relationship with Hunter has been increasingly strained. In Episode 8, Hunter’s desire to protect Omega prompts him to not only venture into territory that is fittingly ‘bad,’ but also onto dangerous moral ground that he would not normally tread. He also forces Omega to sit the mission out, leaving both her and Crosshair behind on Pabu.

It’s a fascinating contradiction: driven by an undying motivation to keep Omega safe, Hunter is pushing her further away from him and closer to Crosshair. The script written by Matt Michnovetz leans all the way into these internal conflicts, often externalizing them through an outside force. When Hunter and Wrecker must form an alliance with Fennec Shand (played again by Ming-Na Wen, who has never been better in the role) and work for her as bounty hunters, Hunter’s resentment toward the work is obvious, yet his determination for Omega’s safety pushes him forward.

How The Bad Batch Illustrates Its Characters' Dilemmas

Visual imagery helps bring themes and problems to the forefront, 15 best character designs from star wars tv shows.

Omega's abandonment on Pabu isn't without a point, as "Bad Territory" continues to explore the unique relationship between Omega and Crosshair . As Crosshair continues to struggle with his hand’s steadiness, Omega helps him explore what might be the real cause of it: his trauma. The Bad Batch often foregrounds thematic and character beats through visual poetry and symbolism, and the subplot is another example of that device.

Pabu has come to represent a home for the team. It’s a peaceful, island-centric planet full of lush and vibrant colors, which have come to populate the Batch’s repurposed armor. Omega gets two different outfits in "Bad Territory," each of which looks at home in Pabu’s colorful setting. Crosshair, however, could not seem like more of a visual sore thumb in this environment. His uber-traditionalist Clone Force 99 armor makes his difference even more apparent. This works especially well in the initial scene in which Omega broaches the subject of mental health with Crosshair. Crosshair discards it as ridiculous and storms off. However, the next time audiences see him, he has removed a layer of that traditional armor -- revealing a lighter-colored and more vulnerable look beneath. Subsequently, he is more open to discussing his post-traumatic stress and coping mechanisms.

Elsewhere, Hunter and Wrecker’s internal struggles are similarly externalized via their costuming. The characters keep their helmets on for almost the entirety of the episode. They are portraying a front to Fennec, and being dishonest with themselves by assisting her in her bounty hunting. The choice to foreground this by having them literally masked for the vast majority of the storyline also makes the conclusion more impactful. When they remove their helmets and have a moment of emotional honesty with Fennec, their anger and desperation gets the best of them.

How The Bad Batch's Visuals Recall a Cinematic Classic

Season 3, episode 8's premise and style evoke a war movie, the 15 most important star wars planets, ranked.

The planet which Hunter, Wrecker, and Fennec Shand travel to is best described as the Florida Everglades meets Apocalypse Now -- not the first time Star Wars has evoked that film . “Bad Territory” delivers every bit of pulpy, thrilling action that mashup suggests. Whether it’s the mid-episode sequence in which Hunter and Wrecker fight off a bunch of alien alligators, or the finale when they find their bounty -- a character who is essentially Apocalypse Now 's Colonel Kurtz if he were a giant praying mantis -- the direction by Nate Villanueva and precision-driven editing deliver action sequences full of energy.

This enables the animation, cinematography, and lighting to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in animated TV. From the way the seedy nightclub in which Hunter and Wrecker meet Fennec is lit entirely by in-camera neon-graded light sources, to how the final confrontation features hazy low-key lighting accented by utilizing blaster bolts as light sources, "Bad Company" features memorable visuals that wouldn't be found in any other show. But the best part of the episode is its most simple and subtle.

What Is The Bad Batch Season 3, Episode 8's Best Scene?

The episode ultimately comes back to a character moment, how the bad batch's crosshair continues a major clone wars allegory.

The standout scene in "Bad Territory" is a contemplative coda between Omega and Crosshair. As Omega convinces Crosshair to explore his own internal self through meditation, the two are framed against the water under the gleam of a setting sun -- and Crosshair finally looks at home within the confines of Pabu. The shot is directly reminiscent of Luke Skywalker’s finale in Star Wars: The Last Jedi . It also has the best elements of the series -- its character-based writing, its ability to externalize internal conflicts, and its innovative animation -- all in a single deeply affecting frame.

Omega has spent several seasons learning how to coexist with the galaxy, both literally and metaphorically. The episode's idea of her meditating and living alongside the Force, in harmony with it despite not being a Force-user, is touching and made doubly so by her ability to break through to Crosshair. In exploring the characters' dynamic over Season 3, actors Michelle Ang and Dee Bradley Baker have found a real vulnerability and chemistry together that makes tender emotional beats like this one soar even higher. "Bad Territory" is a largely insular, self-contained story, but it also does a fantastic job of pushing the characters forward as the final season continues.

New episodes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 3 stream Wednesdays on Disney+.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 3, Episode 8

While Hunter and Wrecker venture off-planet and end up working as bounty hunters for Fennec Shand, Omega has a breakthrough with the returned Crosshair.

Release Date May 4, 2021

Cast Noshir Dalal, Gwendoline Yeo, Sam Riegel, Liam O'Brien, Rhea Perlman, Michelle Ang, Dee Bradley Baker, Bob Bergen

Main Genre Animation

Rating TV-PG

Franchise Star Wars

Distributor Disney+

Number of Episodes 32

  • Excellent character development for Omega and Crosshair.
  • Visuals complement the characters' progress.
  • Largely self-contained episode.

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 3, Episode 8 Is Apocalypse Now

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10 things i noticed after rewatching the bad batch from beginning to end.


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  • The Bad Batch is a cohesive story with deep foreshadowing throughout its seasons, leading to a satisfying narrative conclusion.
  • Every episode has value, debunking the idea of filler content in the series and showcasing the interconnected nature of the storytelling.
  • Characters like Omega and Crosshair undergo tragic arcs, while Wrecker emerges as the emotional core of Clone Force 99.

I decided to rewatch Star Wars: The Bad Batch from start to finish now that the series has come to a close, and it caused me to notice a few key details about the animated Star Wars series that I hadn't fully picked up on before. The Bad Batch has been a favorite of mine ever since it started in 2021, which means that I've already rewatched seasons 1 and 2 a few times each. After The Bad Batch season 3's ending , however, I knew it was time to go back and watch this story as a complete narrative.

In a broad sense, I found that The Bad Batch is one of Star Wars animation's most cohesive stories. Every episode carries Clone Force 99 further along their arc to laying down their roles as soldiers and seeking a life of peace on Pabu, all while setting up the conflict and darkness that's still to come with Dr. Hemlock and Mount Tantiss. Each character also goes on their own spectacular journey, though some are more tragic than others. More specifically, however, are these 10 interesting things I noticed while rewatching, which have only deepened my appreciation of this series.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch's Full Timeline Explained

Star Wars: The Bad Batch takes place during a critical point of the Star Wars timeline, with each season providing new insights on a famous era.

10 The Show's Ending Is Heavily Foreshadowed In Season 1

A life of peace without war is often referenced.

One of the first things I noticed during my rewatch is that the ending of The Bad Batch is heavily foreshadowed throughout season 1, especially in its first half. "Cut and Run" is the second episode of the entire series, and it already sets up the eventual ending of the story to a fascinating degree. Cut Lawquane very much functions as a future version of Hunter himself, modeling how to raise a child and providing solutions for not being found. One scene even sees Cut telling Hunter to do exactly what they end up doing on Pabu.

You wanna know how to disappear? Put being a soldier behind you and make a new life for yourself .

It takes 3 seasons of struggling for Clone Force 99 to eventually heed Cut's words, but in the end, they do. Season 1 takes it a step further with Hera Syndulla 's mother, Eleni, telling Hunter in episode 12 "Rescue on Ryloth" that the brewing war will be Omega and Hera's fight - which is exactly what Omega says to Hunter in The Bad Batch 's emotional epilogue before she leaves to join the Rebel Alliance. These storytelling seeds being planted so early in the show only makes this story feel even more complete and satisfying.

Cut Lawquane very much functions as a future version of Hunter himself.

9 There Really Aren't Any Filler Episodes (Every One Counts!)

Watching the series cohesively proves that each episode has value.

"Filler" is a word that's highly debated amongst Star Wars audiences, and it's most often been used in reference to episodes of Star Wars television - particularly during the course of The Bad Batch . With the week-to-week drop schedule, it was easy for many viewers to discount the more episodic adventures of Clone Force 99 as "filler," especially while they were still running jobs for Cid in The Bad Batch seasons 1 and 2. Rewatching it all together, however, proves that this really isn't the case.

I was amazed to see how episodes that even I had previously considered to be less valuable had new importance in light of the series being completed. Each episode contains at least one important element that will factor in either the very next episode or even many episodes later. One such case is season 1, episode 13 "Infested," when Cid's parlor is overrun by Roland Durand and the Pykes . This episode didn't get its full payoff until season 3, episode 2 "Paths Unknown," and now that it has, it feels even more enjoyable upon rewatching.

8 Omega's Been Capable Ever Since The Beginning

She's always been much stronger than she's given credit for.

The earliest criticisms of Omega's character during The Bad Batch season 1 were that she often causes issues for Clone Force 99 simply by veering from a plan or doing anything a child in that situation would do. While this does happen to a certain extent, knowing the strength of her character throughout the series makes it clear that her actions in season 1 always come from a wise and capable place. Omega understands plans and strategy straightaway; she just doesn't have the training yet to execute them, even if she tries to.

Her actions in season 1, episode 5 "Rampage" are responsible for not only freeing her squad from captivity, but also giving them access to the real target they're after. Later on, she's the one who frees herself from both Cad Bane and Fennec Shand, even if the Batch has to intercept when her pod stops working. She even improvises with Hera on Ryloth for a plan that's successful, albeit chaotic. There's no doubt that Omega makes mistakes along the way, as do fellow members of her squad, but I can easily recognize how capable she has been from day one.

A mysterious mutant clone created by the Kaminoans, Omega longed to get away from Kamino and explore the galaxy. She was rescued from the Empire by Clone Force 99, and soon became the heart of the team. The Empire still view Omega as valuable, though, and all signs indicate her story could well end in tragedy.

7 Crosshair's Season 1 Story Is Even More Tragic To Watch

Knowing what he goes through makes his loyalty to the empire a tragedy.

It's always been hard to watch Crosshair seemingly betray his brothers in The Bad Batch season 1, but the knowledge of what he goes through because of the Empire makes it even harder to witness upon rewatching. The twist in season 1 of Crosshair removing his inhibitor chip and continuing to display loyalty to the Empire intentionally makes it even harder to root for him, especially when he's constantly hunting down his own squad. What's revealed in seasons 2 and 3, however, makes it clear that Crosshair gets caught up in the wrong side of the confusion after the war.

Hunter and Crosshair's argument and heart-to-heart in season 3, episode 5 "The Return" makes this even more evident. Crosshair confesses his regrets to Hunter for pledging his loyalty to the Empire, but provides one key reason for doing so: " I thought I was being a good soldier ." While this certainly doesn't make Crosshair's actions right, it does make them even more tragic. He truly thinks he's on the right side of history in season 1, and that the heartbreaking betrayal we as the audience see him doing is actually what his brothers are doing to him.

One of five mutant clones created by the Kaminoan scientist Nala Se, Crosshair is a gifted marksman whose skills are almost preternatural in nature. He was the only member of Clone Force 99 to be influenced by the clones' inhibitor chip, but still chose to remain with the Empire for a time even after he'd had the chip removed. Crosshair is clearly on a path of redemption, however, one that will lead him back to his brothers.

6 It's Hard To Even Watch Tech Now (Especially In Season 2)

Tech is one of my favorites, but his tragedy makes it hard to see him.

Tech is my second-favorite member of the Bad Batch, but I've found that his eventual death in The Bad Batch season 2 ending makes it hard to watch him at any point in the series. Even in the lighthearted moments of season 1, far from Tech's heroic sacrifice in the season 2 finale, I still find myself haunted by the tragedy that's still to come. His hilarious quips and retorts will never fail to make me laugh, but I almost feel guilty enjoying him in the narrative when I know how empty it is without him later on.

This is a feeling that I imagine will pass with time, though. The wound is still quite fresh as of now; Tech's death was only just over a year ago, and even then, there was still a chance of him being resurrected until The Bad Batch series finale confirmed his sacrifice would be honored. In time, Tech's appearances throughout The Bad Batch seasons 1 and 2 will be nothing but cherished memories of the wonderful soldier and brother he was, bringing comfort to all who seek it. Until then, however, I find it hard to even watch him.

In time, Tech's appearances throughout The Bad Batch seasons 1 and 2 will be nothing but cherished memories of the wonderful soldier and brother he was.

Tech (Clone Force 99)

A mutant clone created by the cloners of Kamino, Tech was a scientific genius who served as a vital member of Clone Force 99. He and the rest of his squad went rogue after Order 66 and the inauguration of the Empire, and eked out a living in the galaxy's underworld. Tech tragically died on one fateful mission, sacrificing himself for his brothers.

All 47 Episodes Of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Ranked

Star Wars: The Bad Batch has officially come to an end, & it's had an incredible run of thrilling & emotional episodes. Here are all of them, ranked.

5 Cid Was Never Actually On The Bad Batch's Side

We really should have seen cid's season 2 betrayal coming.

Cid's betrayal is certainly foreshadowed in The Bad Batch season 2, specifically in "Faster" - when Tech, Omega, and Wrecker are outright told to watch their backs - but it's still quite a shock when it actually happens. Though the Batch came to trust her over time, she actually never really gives them a reason to. Going back to season 1 reveals that Cid does everything on her own terms, and that her trust is extremely fragile.

The first firm foreshadowing of her betrayal comes just after their first meeting, when Cid threatens Hunter by hinting that she could reveal their location to the Empire at any point. Watching with the knowledge of Cid's eventual betrayal makes that threat hang over every single one of their interactions even more. Just about everything Cid does for the Batch is purely transactional, because at a certain point, she needs them as much as they need her - and when that relationship comes to an end, she doesn't hesitate to turn on them.

4 Hunter Has It Harder Than We Often Give Him Credit For

The weight of every tragedy & failure in the bad batch falls on his shoulders.

As the leader of Clone Force 99, Hunter has long since had to carry the responsibilities of the entire Batch on his shoulders. My view of this has only been enhanced by an excellent thread of posts made by s0ftbatch on X, who offers an in-depth analysis of the events of The Bad Batch through Hunter's eyes. One of the heaviest truths comes at the very beginning of the series: Hunter goes from leading his squad to a 100% success rate during the Clone Wars to their desertion and the loss of Crosshair in one episode's time.

Rewatching The Bad Batch shows just how much pressure is on Hunter in every single episode. No matter how big or small a mission or a job is, Hunter is constantly evaluating the risks and rewards, because he's now responsible for not only helping his squad to succeed, but for keeping them alive . Over time, Hunter loses not just Crosshair, but also Echo, Tech, and Omega - an unimaginable burden to have to bear as the one who's made himself responsible for them. It's no wonder that he's constantly trying to make the safest move possible throughout the series.

Hunter (Clone Force 99)

Leader of Clone Force 99, Hunter is a mutant clone created with enhanced senses - gifts he uses to help him strategize in combat operations. Hunter led his squad on countless successful missions during the Clone Wars, and they deserted shortly after Order 66. Hunter has become a father-figure to fellow mutant clone Omega, who he loves dearly and is sworn to protect.

3 Wrecker Is Very Much The Heart Of The Batch

Wrecker's emotional intelligence is highly underrated.

While it cannot be argued that Omega is the driving force who encourages the Batch to be the best versions of themselves they can be, rewatching the series makes it clear that Wrecker has long since been the emotional pulse of the group. Even as the biggest and strongest amongst them, Wrecker is the one who's most often voicing his honest feelings. In season 1, episode 3 "Replacements," he's the first of them to admit that he misses Crosshair, even though most of them are still hiding behind their animosity towards Crosshair's actions.

This makes it even more devastating when he's the one whose inhibitor chip activates, and it's clear on the faces of his brothers in that moment just how horrifying this is for them. Still, Wrecker's quick to apologize for his actions, especially to Omega. This pattern continues in the other seasons, especially when he acts as the main source of comfort for Hunter at the beginning of season 3. Though he's also hurting, he's eager to guide Hunter through his own desperation and grief. Wrecker is always the one who's ready to comfort his family.

Like the rest of Clone Force 99, Wrecker is a mutant clone created by the Kaminoans as an asset to the Grand Army of the Republic. He is known for his physical strength and love of explosives, serving as Clone Force 99's demolitions expert. Like the rest of his squad, Wrecker went rogue after Order 66 and the inauguration of the Empire, working as a mercenary in the galaxy's underworld.

2 Season 3 Is So Much Darker Than The Other Two

Rewatching the first two seasons proves how dramatic this tone shift is.

The Bad Batch seasons 1 and 2 are quite similar in terms of tone - until the season 2 finale. The Bad Batch season 3 carries this darker tone throughout its entirety, and it contrasts greatly with the other two seasons. I was shocked at first to return to the lightheartedness of the first two seasons when I had become so accustomed to the darkness of season 3, and sitting down to watch it back-to-back only made it even more jolting.

If season 3 had been as lighthearted as the first two, this would not have worked, and the story would not have had as much weight as it did.

This, however, is a wonderful way to show just how high the stakes are for the duration of season 3. It certainly explains why I was so shaken up watching The Bad Batch series finale for the first time. The darkness of the series continuing after Tech's death in the season 2 finale cast a shadow over all the other characters, leaving their fates entirely up to chance. If season 3 had been as lighthearted as the first two, this would not have worked, and the story would not have had as much weight as it did.

1 Watching The Entire Series Proves Clone Force 99 Deserved Their Happy Ending

The bad batch has been through so much throughout this show.

The most clear thing to me after rewatching is that the series' happy ending is more than well-deserved for Clone Force 99. There's so much hope that drives each and every episode, and so many hidden promises about a life beyond being soldiers that the Batch can enjoy. The loss of Tech is a major sacrifice that the Batch endures to get the happiness and peace they so rightfully deserve, and it truly doesn't come easy. Every single character in The Bad Batch suffers before getting to this ending.

Crosshair lives without his family for a long time, and he never even gets a proper reunion with Tech before he eventually makes amends with the squad once again. Hunter will always make himself shoulder the burden of Tech being gone, but he can at least rest knowing he helped to keep the rest of them safe. Wrecker gets to be with his family for a lifetime, and Echo gets to keep fighting the good fight. What's most rewarding, however, is Omega getting to choose her own path in The Bad Batch 's epilogue, proving they are all finally free.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch

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Star Wars: The Bad Batch is an action-adventure animated series set after the events of The Clone Wars, following Clone Force 99 (a.k.a. the Bad Batch.) Finding themselves immune to the brainwashing effects of Order 66, the Bad Batch become mercenaries for hire while outrunning the empire, now seeing them as fugitives of the law.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (2021)

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