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Title: Suicide Squad

Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :3stars:

HTS Overall Score:76

I’m not what sure what to make of the DC comic universe right now. After Marvel’s unparalleled success with their cinematic universe, DC and WB have been desperately trying to play catchup by creating their own interconnected set of films to compete. After “Man of Steel” came up as a critical disappointment a few years back they’ve been working overtime to create something that could spark a new wave of energy and enthusiasm for their new film sets. “Batman vs. Superman” landed last summer and was a roaring disappointment, with a theatrical cut that REALLY disappointed (except for Ben Affleck as Batman, who surprised everyone as being the greatest part of the whole movie). Thankfully the extended director’s cut of “BvS” patched up a lot of the problems from the theatrical cut, but it was almost a little bit too late. Now, with “The Justice League” film on the way with Zack Snyder still at the helm, the powers that be decided to make something a bit “different”. Time to make the DC universe’s version of Sony’s attempt at The Sinister Six with “Suicide Squad”. A film that is best described as “someone having a 2 hour paintball fight in hot topic” (not my quote, but the best description I could think of and one that’s stuck in my mind ever since I watched the movie). It’s chaotic, tries to get all the right characters but wallows in a sea of pandering “we’re a family!” clichés and sadly isn’t saved by the inclusion of the extended cut. The best descriptor to the extended cut is an extension of the paintball quote. “The Extended cut is like someone having a 2 hour paintball fight in hot topic and then coming back for 13 more minutes and blowing the place up again”.

The world is in shock post “Batman vs. Superman”. With Superman out of the picture the U.S. government figures that it needs a new contingency plan to keep the people safe, so Amanda Waller (Viola Davis in top form) brings a new plan of action to the generals and heads of state. Use the worst of the worst for suicide missions. Implant a little bomb in the back of their neck and leverage them with portions of their sentence commuted if they complete their missions. Seems like a good idea right? She’s got Deadshot (Will Smith), a hitman for hire who’s got some serious tech and godlike skills with just about any fire arm known to man. Then there’s Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), girlfriend and partner in crime with the Clown Prince of crime himself, the Joker (Jared Leto). She’s a bit cuckoo for cocoa puffs, but a dangerous adversary (I guess, she carries a bat and wears crazy clothes so she must be). Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje under a TOOOOOOOOON of prosthetics and makeup), a man who’s been transformed into a scaled beast and shares the DNA of said crocodile. Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), an Aussie thief who loves to carry a cadre of high tech boomerangs, and Diablo (Jay Hernandez), the meta human with a penchant for burning things to the ground. These are the most dangerous criminals in the U.S. serving incredible sentences, but also the only hope of the world (according to Waller).

Oh, did I happen to mention that the lead “weapon” of Waller’s crew is a human/witch hybrid by the name of June Moon/Enchantress? I’m not sure how anything could POSSIBLY go wrong here, but June Moon’s body is inhabited by the spirit of a powerful witch who has been hanging around on earth for millennia. Luckily for us Waller has the witch’s heart (physical heart that is) at her disposal and uses that as leverage to keep the godlike power of the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) under her control. Well, it doesn’t take a mind reader to figure out who goes rogue first. After a terrorist attack in the subway of Midway City, Waller unleashes Enchantress and her handler, Rick Flag (Joel Kinnamon, as wooden and stiff acting as always), to take care of the problem. Low and behold this is actually a setup by Enchantress who unleashes her brother Incubus (Alain Chanoine under a lot of CGI) and decides that she has had ENOUGH of being contained. In turn Amanda Waller is forced to unleash the rest of her suicide squad on her out of control creation.

Oh boy. Yeah, I’m not sure what went wrong here. “Suicide Squad” was one of the most hyped and looked forward to comic book adaptations of the 2016 summer. Those of us who had gotten tired of Zack Snyder’s take on the DC universe were excited to see David Ayer at the helm in both a directorial and writing sense. This is the guy who directed the much maligned “Sabatoge”, “End of Watch”, “Harsh Times’ and “Fury”. He’s got a love of gritty street dramas and a solid writing career behind him as well (he wrote my second favorite movie of all times, “Training Day”). So when the first trailer hit I was super excited, soon followed up by hesitation and fear when the second and third trailers started dropping and the tone was drastically different. Now it seemed a bit too cheesy and “fun” for a film about bad guys and murderers being forced into working for a scumbag like Amanda Waller. Still, I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt as I heard Jared Leto’s cameos as The Joker was phenomenal. Little Did I know that I would be comparing the extended cut of “Batman vs. Superman” to this and wondering just WHAT went wrong!

“Suicide Squad” plays out as trying to be “different” just to be different. The comparison about Hot Topic and a paintball fight are not unwarranted. The dimly lit film is awash with garish colors of Harley, Deadshot and a myriad of neon colors surrounding the inevitable pillar of light that Enchantress brings forth (seriously? Is every big bad super villain going to threaten earth with a pillar of light? It’s getting about as standard to do as telling your victims your plan moments before their “death”). Then throw in a dash of the putties from “Power Rangers” (just with googly eyes” and you have yourself a neon drenched extra helping of wannabe goths with a shiny colors.

Ayer has a myriad of problems in the film, but one of the biggest one is the villains. Marvel films have really struggled to make memorable villains in their films, but they make up for it with snark and plenty of superheroes that have a lot of dimensionality to them. DC, on the other hand, usually has pretty good grasp of their villains, but for some reason this is the weakest spot in “Suicide Squard”. Enchantress is hysterically bad with Cara Delevingne clearly out of her depth in a movie that requires her to act instead of look pretty. She hula hoops her way across the frame and mutters demigod style plans to her brother Incubus (who looks like a hybrid between the Lawnmower man and Electro from “The Amazing Spiderman 2”), and otherwise just pouring all of her power into the giant pillar of light that’s going to destroy mankind…..again. Ayer keeps cycling the script around and restarting from the beginning as he uses flashbacks into the characters’ lives and brings us around full circle. Again, and again and again. By the time the movie credits roll you feel like you’ve seen the same movie about 10 different times as a result.

The stars of the show are Margot Robbie and Will Smith (who I was most worried about considering his star power and tendency to just play himself most of the time). Despite slipping in and out of her “Mister J!!!!” accent throughout the movie, Margot embodies Harley Quinn with devilish glee. She’s obviously used as the sex symbol (Harley always was), but there’s a wild excitement and enthusiasm to her portrayal that makes her a blast to watch. Will Smith isn’t the perfect Deadshot, but he does a good job at taming the over inflated ego of his and is one of the better characters in the film. The rest of them are mostly forgettable with Diablo going all “hey ese!” on us, and Killer Croc going all thug on us in a way that is disturbingly racist (and I am bitterly against the PC culture who calls everything racist at that). The only one of the rest of the crew who actually do a decent job is Jai Courtney of all people. He’s not given a whole lot to work with while being Captain Boomerang, but he’s the best of a crew of cardboard cutout “antiheroes”.

Then that brings us to The Joker. Yes, the famed Jared Leto who supposedly took method acting to a whole nother level with his crazy stunts. I love Leto as an actor, but he was just crazy here, trying to overact like Ledger did (and who succeeded in that role) to such an extent that he becomes a parody of himself. The cackling laugh is about the only thing that is really memorable and GOOD about the character. Otherwise he seems just fading shadow of Heath, Jack and Cesar (all of whom did their own take on the character but were fantastic in the roles). The extended cut was supposed to make the theatrical cut look bad by including all of the supposed Joker scenes that were cut from the film, but sadly (or thankfully depending on how you look at it) there are only a few minutes of him in the extended cut and they’re largely forgettable scenes that were left on the cutting room floor for a reason.


Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language

Video :4.5stars:

“Suicide Squad” is one of the few movies today that was shot 100% on film (then it was digitally transferred to the DI and a lot of the grain was reduced that way). It’s texturally a really lovely film, but one that is dimly lit and set in the shadows for 95% of the run time. As such the black levels are paramount for the success of the visuals and Warner has given us a very stable encode with great blacks that allow the disc to replicate the shadows and depths of the pitch black city without introducing artifacts that mar the detail. “Suicide Squad” employs using starkly contrasting color spectrums here, with bright red lipstick and shiny outfits contrasting against the black and blue uniforms of the soldiers and pitch black nature of the city. Enchantress and Incubus also pop off the screen whenever they’re in view, with the bright orange and blue that are associated with each. Fine detailing is always fantastic, and even in the darkest scenes you can see the texturing on Deadshot’s costume and the intricacies of the Magpul furniture on the M4’s carried by the troops. Both the theatrical and the extended cuts are given their own discs and each one is almost identical in look to the other (I personally couldn’t see any changes despite the slightly different encode with 13 extra minutes on the extended cut).

Audio :4stars:

“Suicide Squad” storms onto the scene with a great sounding Dolby Atmos track (that is available on all formats and all discs across the three different choices of Blu-rays and 4K UltraHD sets) that is aggressive and powerful. The superhero genre is usually defined by wildly chaotic action tracks that like to blast you from all angles and “Suicide Squad” does this in spades. Gunfire is explosive and filled with intense LFE and the chaos of the action swirls around the antiheroes as they lay waste to countless baddies. Surrounds are always active with a flurry of activity and even more so when Ayer uses his jukebox style of making a film score by infusing the track with a stylistically diverse array of songs ranging from Queen to Eminem. This is also a downside as the music sometimes drowns out what’s going on in the rest of the movie, which makes the use of overheads and side placement queues a little hard to pick up. LFE is powerful and deep, but I also felt it wasn’t AS aggressive as it could have been. There were several key action sequences in the movie and while that bass was always there, it lacked the visceral chest cracking feel that was present in the other DC live action films so far.

Extras: :3stars:

• Task Force X: One Team, One Mission
• Chasing the Real
• Joker & Harley: "It" Couple of the Underworld
• Squad Strength and Skills
• Armed to the Teeth
• This Is Gonna Get Loud: The Epic Battles of "Suicide Squad"
• The Squad Declassified
• Gag Reel
• Trailers

Overall: :3.5stars:

“Suicide Squad” was easily the most disappointing comic book film of the year, only just barely falling behind the theatrical cut of “Batman vs. Superman” (which was later saved by the extended cut). It had all of the elements to make a different type of superhero film than what has been shown before (see the animated film “Batman: Assault on Arkham” for a much better done Suicide Squad film than “Suicide Squad”). Sadly it cannot be saved by an extended cut. Audio and video are certainly phenomenal, and there are some decent extras, but otherwise this is just a rental. On a side note, Warner has made some interesting choices with their home video releases. On the 2D release here there are 3 discs. A DVD copy of the theatrical and a 2nd and 3rd disc with the theatrical cut and the extended cut on their own discs (for some reason Warner has a thing against seamless branching). However the audio choices for foreign languages are ONLY on the theatrical cut and the extended cut disc is home to the Atmos track with zero backup languages.

Additional Information:

Starring: Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Will Smith, Jai Courtney
Directed by: David Ayer
Written by: David Ayer
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1), French, Spanish DD 5.1, English DVS DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: PG-13 / NR
Runtime: 123 minutes / 134 minutes (extended)
Own Suicide Squad on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and DVD on December 13 or Own It Now on Digital HD!

Buy Suicide Squad on 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Suicide Squad on Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Suicide Squad 3D on Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Rental

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