Su­per­hero f lick fails

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch

SUI­CIDE SQUAD (M)

Di­rec­tor: David Ayer (Fury) Star­ring: Will Smith, Mar­got Robbie, Cara Delev­ingne, Jared Leto, Jay Her­nan­dez, Ade­wale Akin­n­uoye-Ag­baje, Jai Court­ney Ver­dict: The gang’s all here, but never quite ar­rive

DON’T jump on the Sui­cide Squad band­wagon think­ing it’s go­ing to take you on a wild, wired ride. This DC Comics ac­tion ex­trav­a­ganza is way too mild, and per­haps a lit­tle too man­nered for that.

A good, but never great, plot cen­tres on a mer­cu­rial band of out­siders with cer­tain tal­ents and pow­ers that have earned them all life sen­tences in prison.

With Su­per­man no longer around to save the planet from a mys­te­ri­ous threat, the US gov­ern­ment fig­ures it might be a good idea to let the jail­birds loose on the prob­lem.

The first act of the movie flat­lines as it works through a long roll call of th­ese colour­ful char­ac­ters ... and some com­par­a­tively drab side­kicks.

There are a lot of names to get through, and though the process is ef­fi­cient enough in bring­ing Sui­cide Squad new­bies up to speed on who’s who, it does rob the movie of some vi­tal early for­ward thrust.

Will Smith stands out promi­nently as the no­to­ri­ous hit­man Dead­shot (“a lethal threat from a distance of 4000m”), as does Aus­tralian star Mar­got Robbie as the team’s base­ball-bat-wield­ing cheer­leader, Har­ley Quinn.

It is Smith’s job to con­vey what passes for a hu­man­ised heart in the Sui­cide Squad scheme of things.

Though his role is that of a man whose kills num­ber in the thou­sands, it is his de­sire to re­con­nect with his young daugh­ter that mo­ti­vates him to do the du­bi­ous bid­ding of the shad­owy Feds con­trol­ling his destiny.

Dead­shot is a slightly corny char­ac­ter, but Smith makes him mat­ter.

Robbie has a tougher job nail­ing down the cru­cial part of Har­ley, the de­ment­edly de­voted girl­friend of The Joker (more about him later).

While it is clear through­out that Robbie is on the right, screw-loose wave­length that Har­ley’s edg­ily capri­cious na­ture de­mands, the film as a whole seems re­luc­tant to join her there.

It is a com­mit­ted per­for­mance that de­served bet­ter sup­port from the film­mak­ers that it ul­ti­mately re­ceives.

Mi­nor Squad mem­bers such as the con­flicted hu­man fire­ball Di­ablo (Jay Her­nan­dez) and rep­til­ian rogue Killer Croc (Ade­wale Akin­n­uoye-Ag­baje) also come to the fore pos­i­tively in a hand­ful of scenes.

Per­haps the most dis­ap­point­ing as­pect of Sui­cide Squad is the un­der­whelm­ing re­turn of the iconic DC Comics vil­lain, The Joker.

As played by Jared Leto, this uneven and un­in­ter­est­ing por­trayal of The Joker is a far cry from the de­fin­i­tive read­ing of the role by the late Heath Ledger.

One com­po­nent of Sui­cide Squad that is def­i­nitely worth the price of ad­mis­sion is its tight col­lec­tion of ac­tion se­quences.

Th­ese long, or­nately con­structed com­bat scenes of­ten re­veal more about the char­ac­ters than the script’s bland lines of dialogue.

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