‘Suicide Squad’ tale expanded on Blu-ray
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.