Furiously paced and packed with delightful characters, Hawksian banter and oft-deft action, Joss Whedon's adaptation of his "failed" TV SF Western, Firefly, is almost embarrassingly entertaining. Nathan Fillian reprises his role as Mal Reynolds, captain of the eponymous junker spaceship and its frequently contentious crew. Here, they're up against the assassin (Chiwetel Ejiofor) of a much-loathed corporate interplanetary empire, whose job it is to snatch new crew member River Tam (Summer Glau), a possibly telepathic girl whose implanted memories have a lot to do with the empire's expansionist dreams. There's some stylistic sputtering in Whedon's first-time transition to the large screen, but the reasons his work is loved (not liked) are here in its Capra-esque populist politics and subliminal invitation to share in (not idolize) its family-like crew's adventure. In the context of an action cinema driven by false hope, misogyny and sadism, Serenity is an inspiring respite: A major battle is won by someone simply admitting to the truth.
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