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By Rory L. Aronsky | July 18, 2003

Heath Hyche definitely has a parody of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) going on in “Empire of One”, being that his portrayal is a very, very, very, very, very, very, very soft version of Hartman. Don’t bitch to me about the “verys” in that sentence because that’s really the best way to describe how Hyche does it in comparison to a character that was a tougher-than-steel son of a bitch. And besides, it’s doubtful that Hartman would have gladly provided an interview as Hyche’s character does here. Hartman would probably grab the pansy interviewer, lock him in a scissor hold and then beat the s**t out of him for good measure.
Hyche’s role, that of a low-ranking Imperial Officer training Stormtroopers is a good one, as we watch him supposedly train two Stormtroopers. Sure he’s trying to be tough and all, but he’s just ham-handed with his work and the troopers are taller than him. It would have been cool to have more Stormtroopers around, though. Only two doesn’t provide that full impact of the range of reaction that Stormtroopers are capable of beneath that white armor and helmet. That’s also one of the good things about the short: the helmet, particularly in the best scene here. The good ol’ sergeant isn’t here to be anyone’s doctor and when a Stormtrooper is sick during training, he orders the trooper to puke in his helmet.
It’s a shame that this isn’t longer. 3 minutes doesn’t cut it, as there’s so much more that can be done here. A creation of an obstacle course for the Stormtroopers would definitely be an added treat. Also, the ending just lets the humor crash down because we’re treated to one of those supposedly inspirational, but just ridiculous ones. Come on man; leave me with a smile on my face. Don’t let this end with me rolling my eyes. Still though, a Stormtrooper puking in his helmet makes this worth it. It makes up for those times where an astronaut farts in his suit while connected to an air conditioning system with another astronaut (“RocketMan”) and others where an astronaut sneezes in his helmet, or was it another type of occupation? I forgot.

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