film reel image

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Suicide Squad 2016 * * Stars

Suicide SquadDirector: David Ayer
Year: 2016
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto

Earlier this year, Zack Snyder helmed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now with Suicide Squad (my latest review), he is the de facto executive producer of 2016's second, DC Comics endeavor. Snyder has always been a good director visually but his storytelling comes off as sort of suspect. You can tell that he had heavy influence over what went into "Squad's" two-hour plus running time. Yeah it might be David Ayer shooting this vehicle but Snyder's trademarks are all over it. Ayer is more of a blitzkrieg filmmaker, a cops and robbers guy, Mr. machismo. With "Squad", we're a long way from his stylish writing in Training Day and his assertively-violent, Street Kings.

Obviously inspired by 1981's Escape From New York (the anti-heroes have bombs implanted in their necks) and containing a classic rock song to accompany almost every clip (if I hear "Sympathy for the Devil" one more time in a movie I'm gonna lose it), Suicide Squad has a PG-13 rating which sort of keeps it from being ultra-nasty. Regardless, it's still a scuzzbucket of a motion picture, complete with dirty colors, unbearable loudness, and more flashbacks than Oklahoma tornadoes. The simple blueprint for a superhero diegesis is there. Five comic book criminals who are all serving long prison sentences, get a chance at leniency by going on a black ops mission via a city that looks like Chicago, Illinois (actually it's a mixture of Chi-Town and parts of Ontario, Canada). Too bad David Ayer clutters "Squad" with uneven character introductions, add-on subplots, and an underdeveloped Joker (played with kooky abandon by Jared Leto) that feels like its in a separate flick altogether.

Bottom line: You can call this thing The Dirty "Cousins". Suicide Squad has slow-motion, samurai action setups and deep-seated shootout sequences that are anywhere between slipshod and sufficient. In terms of the acting, well inmate Will Smith as a hired assassin, caged inmate Margot Robbie as a crazed psychiatrist, and ratboy Jay Hernandez as a human flame thrower, give decent performances. However, they spout one-liners, make speeches, and emote with their scenes seeming out of place and not quite sticking. That's because "Squad" is an editing calamity. It was reported that the film needed reshoots to make things more humorous and less dark. You can tell.

Anyway, I saw "Dawn of Justice" a second time and it sort of flowed better. I almost changed my mind about recommending Batfleck's, Bruce Wayne debut. I plan on seeing "Squad" a second time as well in hopes that I'll reach that same dissertation. Until then, I'll have to give it a mixed review. Rating: 2 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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