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dir-scr David Ayer
prd Charles Roven, Richard Suckle
with Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Cara Delevingne, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Karen Fukuhara, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, David Harbour, Jim Parrack, Ben Affleck
release US/UK 5.Aug.16
16/US Warner 2h10
Motley crew: Robbie, Smith and Kinnaman
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
David Ayer is not a filmmaker you associate with fun. He has a go with this overcrowded anti-hero action romp, but amusing one-liners feel rather vicious everything is played dead straight with nonstop dollops of hyper-violence. So while there's no end of eye-catching action mayhem, the film is simply no fun unless you're into gunplay and misogyny.
With the thought that the next Superman could be a terrorist, Agent Amanda (Davis) decides to assemble a team of psychotic prisoners that she thinks she can control due to their personal issues. There's doting-dad assassin Deadshot (Smith), grinning nutcase Harley Quinn (Robbie), archaeologist-turned-sorceress June (Delevingne), Aussie hothead Boomerang (Courtney), fire-maker Diablo (Hernandez), swordswoman Katana (Fukuhara) and the rubbery Killer Croc (Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Their team leader is Amanda's sidekick Rick (Kinnaman). But as they come together, Harley's lover and partner-in-crime, The Joker (Leto), is plotting her escape.
The plot is thin and formulaic; its driving force is swirling bit of CGI that June's alter-ego conjures with the anachronistic desire to destroy and then subjugate humanity. Since that makes no sense, and looks really silly, it offers no suspense at all. The Joker's antics are far more engaging, but he and his subplot are sidelined for most of the movie. Which leaves the focus on the bickering killers, who aren't easy to care about. And their snarky attitude is toothless.
Some actors add some pathos, augmented by corny introduction montages and heart-tugging flashbacks. Smith gets the most material to work with, so is able to hint at a deeper character than what's on-screen. Kinnaman also has some nicely conflicting feelings to play with. And Hernandez adds layers of interest to the reluctant Diablo. Meanwhile, the scene-stealing women struggle against Ayer's leery filmmaking. Robbie and Delevigne are stuck in tiny costumes but manage to be the most riveting characters. Davis offers proper steeliness, and Fukuhara gets some genuine emotion.
There's plenty of potential here, but it needs a blackly comical approach that's lacking in both the writing and directing. Instead, Ayer sends these freewheeling nutjobs into a simplistic shoot-em-up in misty-rainy murkiness. In other words, the movie itself feels mentally unstable, trying to get the audience to take it seriously while choppy editing and oddly inserted jokes strain to lighten the mood. It's still watchable, and even sporadically entertaining. But without any sense of narrative momentum or character connection, it feels like a two-hour trailer for a hopefully more involving movie yet to come.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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