‘Sui­cide Squad’ tale ex­panded on Blu-ray

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - BY JOE SZADKOWSKI

A longer ver­sion of a live-ac­tion ad­ven­ture star­ring DC Comics’ famed su­pervil­lain team de­buts on home the­ater screens in “Sui­cide Squad: Ex­tended Cut” (Warner Bros. Home En­ter­tain­ment, not rated, 2.40:1 as­pect ra­tio, $44.95).

Writer-di­rec­tor David Ayer’s cin­e­matic vi­sion dis­ap­pointed crit­ics and many fans ear­lier this year, but it still reaped almost $850 mil­lion in box of­fice re­ceipts around the world.

View­ers en­am­ored by 4K UHD may side with the crit­ics here, and not just be­cause of the film’s scat­tered plot. Specif­i­cally, Warner Bros. does not of­fer the longer ver­sion in the 4K UHD for­mat but only in Blu-ray, so it’s a very long night for se­ri­ous fans. They’ll have to watch both cuts of the film to first take ad­van­tage of the ex­tra-scene ex­po­si­tion and then the splen­dor of the ul­tra high-def­i­ni­tion, 2160p ex­pe­ri­ence.

Both fea­ture the story of govern­ment of­fi­cial Amanda Waller (Vi­ola Davis) as­sem­bling a covert team of dan­ger­ous crim­i­nals pulled from the swampy Belle Reve Pen­i­ten­tiary to han­dle only the most per­ilous of mis­sions.

They in­clude pro­fi­cient as­sas­sin Dead­shot (Will Smith), hu­man flamethrower El Di­ablo (Jay Her­nan­dez), sewer-liv­ing can­ni­bal Killer Croc (Ade­wale Akin­n­uoye-Ag­baje), knife-hurl­ing Cap­tain Boomerang (Jai Court­ney) and, the most twisted of the bunch, Joker’s gal pal Har­ley Quinn (Mar­got Rob­bie).

Be­grudg­ingly led by Army Spe­cial Forces Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kin­na­man), the squad is ac­ti­vated and quickly trans­ported into an ur­ban war zone to take on a very de­struc­tive, dark magic threat in Mid­way City de­vised by Flag’s girl­friend, The En­chantress (Cara Delev­ingne), and her tall, ten­ta­cled brother In­cubus (Alain Chanoine).

A steady stream of flash­backs in­tro­duces the woe­ful ori­gin of some of the char­ac­ters, with the best com­ing from a look at the most dis­turb­ing cou­ple in the his­tory of car­toons and comic books. We get just a taste of the world of Har­ley with her boyfriend and for­mer pa­tient, The Clown Prince of Crime, por­trayed with method act­ing mad­ness by Jared Leto.

Mr. Leto’s ver­sion of Bat­man’s arch­en­emy is pure car­toony gangsta with gold chains, a silver grill for teeth, tat­toos, shiny suit jack­ets, red lips and green hair.

How­ever, he is never as men­ac­ing or as un­pre­dictable as pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tions of the Joker por­trayed by Jack Ni­chol­son, Heath Ledger or even Cae­sar Romero. He is more of a dis­trac­tion not only to the main story but also to Miss Rob­bie’s stel­lar per­for­mance.

In fact, she chews him up on screen and of­fers a stun­ningly ac­cu­rate ver­sion of the lovesick, psy­chotic, co-de­pen­dent lover. She’s de­light­fully nuts. If she had just been given the chance to use her char­ac­ter­is­tic sledge­ham­mer, it would have been the per­fect in­car­na­tion.

My ma­jor beef with the piece­meal film is it needed to be about three hours long to de­velop this mas­sive list of char­ac­ters (Did I men­tion Katana and Slip­knot also show up?), and I hated some of the ridicu­lous mu­sic video mo­ments. You know, slow-mo­tion shots of the an­ti­heroes set against an­thems by AC/DC, The An­i­mals, Cree­dence Clear­wa­ter Re­vival and such.

The first third of the movie looked like an in­fomer­cial for a video game to the point of di­vert­ing at­ten­tion from an al­ready hap­haz­ard plot.

Even less sat­is­fy­ing is the ex­tended cut, which man­ages to add 13 min­utes to the film — mostly a scene be­tween The Joker and a de­ter­mined Har­ley try­ing to gain his trust and a bit more ex­po­si­tion on Killer Croc’s prow­ess.

“Sui­cide Squad” had a chance with an ex­tended ver­sion to high­light a lov­able cast of de­spi­ca­ble char­ac­ters with un­lim­ited po­ten­tial in what should have been a raunchy, vi­o­lent com­edy that screamed for an “R” rat­ing.

Alas, I’ll have to go back and watch the wildly en­ter­tain­ing “Dead­pool” for my more risque su­per­hero ad­ven­tures.

4K UHD in ac­tion: The 4K trans­fer is not much of an up­grade to the Blu-ray but main­tains a grit­tier and bleak look at Mid­way City, thanks to near eye-scorch­ing whites that help de­fine the darker mo­ments on screen.

How­ever, it does pick a few spots to shine through­out the pre­sen­ta­tion in what ap­pears to be an ul­tra high-def­i­ni­tion up­scal­ing from the orig­i­nal 2K source ma­te­rial.

Es­pe­cially worth not­ing is a scene where Bat­man res­cues Har­ley Quinn from what’s sure to be a wa­tery grave af­ter a car crash into a bay. The un­der­wa­ter clar­ity is as­tound­ing on the Bat’s cos­tume and the lady-in-dis­tress’ face, as well as the gleam on the hood of her wrecked sports car.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the movie fea­tures many char­ac­ters such as The Joker, Har­ley Quinn, Boomerang and El Di­ablo loaded up with in­tri­cate tat­toos. They are very eas­ily ad­mired thanks to the in­creased bright­ness and higher-sat­u­rated color schemes.

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