Superhero f lick fails
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.