I hope comic book fans find more to appreciate about James Gunn’s (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) take on The Suicide Squad than I did. I found it a garbled, at times incoherent, mess.
The US government is secretly engaging the services of hardened criminals with “special skills” (read: killing). They go on perilous missions, where the numbers are against them. The chances of them emerging intact are negligible, but if they do, they benefit from a sentence reduction.
In The Suicide Squad, two teams of these state-sponsored mercenaries are deployed. The first is all but obliterated but Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is captured and tortured. The second comprises Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Ratcatcher (Daniela Melchior) and Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian). The shark’s vocabulary is severely limited, Ratcatcher can channel hordes of vermin at will, and – as his name suggests – Polka-Dot Man flings lethal coloured polka dots at his adversaries (seriously). They have to infiltrate a small island nation and eradicate a top-secret experiment known as Project Starfish. As for Harley Quinn, she continues to laugh and smile her way through one dangerous situation after another.
Extreme violence is the name of the game as people are blown up, shot up, decapitated and eaten. No beg pardons here. I am afraid I found the whole thing ridiculous, basically an excuse to destroy stuff. It is not that I have anything against comic representations on screen, but I want a decent storyline, which I didn’t get here. A giant starfish that spews out thousands of small starfish that render humans into a zombie-like state? Spare me. The blarney from Polka-Dot Man (who has a thing about his mother) stretched credibility beyond any reasonable bounds. And the plot felt drawn out. It took two-thirds of the film for the motley crew to reach its “target”.
Robbie does all she can to have fun with her role; while Elba is solid enough. The pulsating soundtrack works well and is in keeping with the boisterous nature of the piece.
Still, the original Suicide Squad (which didn’t have “the” in its title), released in 2016, was underwhelming and so is this one.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Birds of Prey – movie review
- Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw – movie review
- The Dark Tower – movie review
Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.