The Suicide Squad Review

The Suicide Squad movie posterSynopsis
Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) sends Task Force X, aka the Suicide Squad, on a mission to country of Corto Maltese, to destroy a secretive experiment there known only as β€œProject Starfish.”

Review
When the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) first started, Warner Brothers tried a darker feel, similar to the successful Dark Knight trilogy, to build their interconnected cinematic universe. However, after a string of arguable failures, WB has given the creative forces behind their latest films more creative freedom to tell their stories featuring DC’s superheroes without being concerned with the connectivity with other DC films. Director James Gunn takes full advantage of this new approach, injecting The Suicide Squad with a flamboyancy not seen in any previous DCEU film.

In an online featurette, Gunn comments that WB gave him permission to kill any character he wanted, which he clearly took to heart. The movie opens with guns blazing (literally), killing multiple characters, setting the tone for the rest of the film and driving home that no character is safe. By the end, you will be surprised who does and, more particularly, who doesn’t make it to the end of the film. While I do enjoy the overarching characters and plots in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it is refreshing to see superhero movies that tell the story they want to tell, without being concerned with building that shared universe.

Gunn is no stranger to creating stories around quirky and dysfunctional teams, he is the man behind The Guardians of the Galaxy films after all, and that experience fits perfectly into The Suicide Squad. It’s clear that Gunn went wild with his ideas, especially after being given the go-ahead to hold nothing back. The whole movie is filled to the brim with humor, insanity, violence, excitement, and heart.

And at the heart of the film are Ratcatcher 2, played by Daniela Melchior, and Bloodsport, played by Idris Elba. Melchior brings a softness to a film that is filled with brutality and ferocity. This is her first major film and I am excited to see what projects she picks up from here because she was great in this film. Elba is always a dependable actor so it should be no surprise that he carries the film along side Melchior. Margot Robbie was born to play Harley Quinn and I’ve already said as much in my Birds of Prey review so I’m not going to go any more into her fantastic portrayal of the character. John Cena is another of my favorite additions to the team. He plays Peacemaker with such a deadpan attitude that somehow works perfectly with Elba’s Bloodsport that their scenes together make some of the best and most humorous of the movie.

I thought The Suicide Squad was GREAT πŸ˜€ While it introduces many new characters, the core ones are given the room they need to develop and make you feel for them. This film is James Gunn unleashed and he subverts much of what is expected in a superhero feature. Overall, there is an emotional depth that I wasn’t expecting, and it’s that depth that really makes this movie stand out in the DCEU.

Favorite Quote
Bloodsport: No one likes a show off.
Peacemaker: They do if what you’re showing off is dope as fuck.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
James Dunn – Director / Writer
John Murphy – Composer

Viola Davis – Amanda Waller
Joel Kinnaman – Colonel Rick Flag
Margot Robbie – Harley Quinn
Idris Elba – Bloodsport
John Cena – Peacemaker
Daniela Melchior – Ratcatcher 2
David Dastmalchian – Polka-Dot Man
Sylvester Stallone – King Shark
Jai Courtney – Captain Boomerang
Michael Rooker – Savant
Nathan Fillion – TDK
Flula Borg – Javelin
Pete Davidson – Blackguard
Mayling Ng – Mongal
Sean Gunn – Weasel / Calendar Man
Steve Agee – John Economos / On-Set King Shark
Tinashe Kajese – Flo Crawley
Jennifer Holland – Emilia Harcourt
Peter Capaldi – Thinker
Juan Diego Botto – Presidente General Silvio Luna
Joaquin Cosio – Mayor General Mateo Suarez

Suicide Squad Review

Suicide Squad movie posterSynopsis
Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), director of ARGUS, creates a team of super villains, designated Task Force X and led by Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), to complete covert missions. When an otherworldly entity attacks Midway City, Waller sends the team of criminals in to retrieve an important asset.

Review
It’s no secret that the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), DC’s response to Marvel’s cinematic universe, has been off to a rough start. Man of Steel has polarized fans of the character and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a convoluted mess to say the least. DC turned to David Ayer to try and turn their ship around and begin heading in the right direction to win back the fans. The end result is only somewhat successful.

I have to start out by addressing the two best things about this film: Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Deadshot is front and center of the entire film, receiving both the most development and screen time of the villains. Smith himself is such a personality that his characters seem to embody him instead of the other way around. That’s not a bad thing because he is such a great actor, it’s just that his Deadshot ends up being very similar to many of his other film characters.

However, Margot Robbie completely transformed into Harley Quinn. Yes, her outfit was nowhere close to her iconic jester outfit (which does make an appearance, by the way) but let’s face it, that’s not the best outfit for this film. Besides, it does resemble her current costumes, which are more normal outfits anyway, so it works. Moving past her outfit, Robbie nails her character, being completely psychotic and mentally unhinged without a problem. It’s amazing how well she molded into the character.

Another character that many people had their eyes on was Jared Leto’s incarnation of the Joker. Now, I’m not going to compare Leto’s Joker to Heath Ledger’s or Jack Nickolson’s because, quite frankly, they are all different characters. Each actor who has taken up the mantle has focused on a different part of the Joker. Nickolson’s Joker was a gangster, Ledger’s was an anarchist, and Leto’s is a psychopath. I don’t think I can quite say how I feel about this version yet until I get to see him in another film.

And maybe that is an issue. The Joker’s role in Suicide Squad is not as large as the promotional material might have you think. He is a antagonist but not the antagonist. He has a lot of time in Harley Quinn’s flashbacks but only pops up every so often in current day to cause problems for the team, outside of the main baddie. As much as I like the Joker, having two disconnected antagonists in the film didn’t help the story too much.

It seems Ayer tried to learn a thing or two from MoS and BvS and tried to make this movie a more lighthearted affair. The character introductions alone have more color and pop than the two previous DCEU movies combined. I enjoyed this sequence because it gave fun, quick introductions to the main players. Each character also got their own unique song to go with their scene, in a very similar sounding soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy, that was just a blast to listen to.

Also throughout the film, it tries to lighten the mood and actually crack a joke or two. Much of the comedy comes from Smith, because why not, but it works for the most part. Other characters get their moments, like Boomerang (Jai Courtney) or Harley Quinn. Not every joke or obviously-meant-to-be-humorous moment hits their mark but it is good to see DC make a movie that is not super dark.

In ensemble films, it is inevitable that some characters will get more or less screen time than others. As I said in the beginning, a lot of the focus is on Deadshot and Harley, and to a lesser extent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and the Joker. This left most of the cast poorly developed. Even the main villain was affected by this. They don’t have much motivation other than β€œI’m a bad guy.”

I thought Suicide Squad was GOOD :-). Much more of the titular team needed more development besides Deadshot and Harley Quinn, who ended up being the two best things about the movie. I’m interested to see Jared Leto’s Joker again because I really want to get a better feel for his version of the iconic character. Suicide Squad may not be perfect but damn it if I didn’t have fun.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
David Ayer – Director / Writer
Steven Price – Composer

Will Smith – Deadshot
Margot Robbie – Harley Quinn
Joel Kinnaman – Rick Flag
Cara Delevigne – June Moon / Enchantress
Jai Courtney – Boomerang
Jay Hernandez – Diablo
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje – Killer Croc
Karen Fukuhara – Katana
Adam Beach – Slipknot
Jared Leto – The Joker
Viola Davis – Amanda Waller
David Harbour – Dexter Tolliver
Ike Barinholtz – Griggs
Ted Whittall – Admiral Olsen
Shailyn Pierre-Dixon – Zoe

RoboCop Review

RoboCop (2014) movie posterSynopsis
In 2028, OmniCorp, lead by CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), has revolutionized security around the world but has had difficulty bringing their products to the United States. When Detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is seriously injured by a car bomb, OmniCorp takes the opportunity to create a product the people can get behind and transform Murphy into the cyborg RoboCop. What OmniCorp didn’t plan for was the strength of the human element still left inside Murphy.

Review
Remakes/reboots can be difficult to tackle. They can be done in one of two main ways: simply telling the same story but with a new cast or tell a whole new story using old characters. RoboCop does the latter and does so surprisingly well. There have been many remakes of iconic 1980s movies over the last several years, most have which have been sub-par. So imagine my surprise when I actually enjoyed it! RoboCop manages to pay homage to the 1987 original, but still offers a fresh and updated take on the character.

One of the appeals of the original RoboCop was its exaggerated violence. Not just the violence itself but the fact there was so much that the film became a dark satire. This movie moves away from that and instead become more politically driven. The ethics of transplanting a human consciousness into a machine is a central theme here. It gets touched on a little in the original, more so in RoboCop 2, but it takes a backseat to the violence.

The pacing is drastically different, too. One of my biggest knocks against the 1987 RoboCop is we don’t get to spend much time with Murphy as a person since he transforms into RoboCop fairly quickly. However, this time we see Murphy interacting with his family and his partner, Jack Lewis (Michael K. Williams). I felt this was a stronger lead up to his transformation because allowed us to get to know Murphy before the whole β€œAm I Alex Murphy or am I RoboCop?” dilemma came into play.

Speaking of pacing, there was also much more time spent on his training than before. This RoboCop doesn’t start patrolling the streets until halfway through the movie. We get to see Alex adjust to his new status rather than just jumping head first into it. Again, this gives us more time to empathize with Murphy and what has happened to him.

RoboCop’s color scheme has been changed, and I actually like the new black color. His design is also much sleeker. Peter Weller’s RoboCop was very clunky, but Kinnaman’s can actually move and run. I think I am in the minority, but I like the new look better than the original. The original’s shiny gray metallic color scheme does make an appearance. There are also several other callbacks to the original RoboCop that I noticed, like the ED-209 looks identical to the one that stood outside OCP headquarters and the RoboCop theme could be heard (but I wish it was used more, the theme is pretty iconic). I was going to list all the references I picked out but there were so many I’m not even going to attempt it.

Micheal Keaton plays a good villain, but I’m not sure about how I feel about Raymond Sellars. For most of the film he seems like he is just a CEO who wants to make his company money, even if that means moving into morally gray areas. But in the final scenes he is all of a sudden supposed to be this bad guy who doesn’t have a conscious. It would have been better if we saw that side of him throughout the whole movie rather than just the end. Otherwise, his character at the end seems out of place compared to the rest of the film.

Honestly, I went into the theater fully expecting to be disappointed when I left. However, RoboCop is one of the better remakes/reboots I have seen in a long time. Part of its success stems from its ability to craft a new story while still paying tribute to the original. Rather than focus on over-the-top violence, this movie is concentrates more on ethics. The story gives us almost half of the movie to get to know Murphy and empathize with his situation. Sellars’ actions at the end of the film don’t fit well with his actions during the rest of the movie. I’m not much of a fan of remakes/reboots, but if more movies handles them the same way as RoboCop, maybe they would actually be something to look forward to.

Rating
3.5/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Jose Padilha – Director
Joshua Zetumer – Screenplay
Pedro Bromfman – Composer

Joel Kinnaman – Alex Murphy/RoboCop
Gary Oldman – Dr. Dennett Norton
Michael Keaton – Raymond Sellars
Abbie Cornish – Clara Murphy
Jackie Earle Haley – Rick Mattox
Michael K. Williams – Jack Lewis
Jennifer Ehle – Liz Kline
Jay Baruchel – Tom Pope
Marianne Jean-Baptiste – Chief Karen Dean
Samuel L. Jackson – Pat Novak
Aimee Garcia – Jae Kim
Douglas Urbanski – Mayor Durant
John Paul Ruttan – David Murphy
Patrick Garrow – Antoine Vallon
K.C. Collins – Andre Daniels
Daniel Kash – John Lake
Zach Grenier – Senator Hubert Dreyfuss

Robocop (2014) Trailer #2

Synopsis: In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years – and it’s meant billions for OmniCorp’s bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it. When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit – is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine pursuing justice.

I’m still not sold on this reboot yet, but I’m willing to give it a try.Β  This trailer is more action oriented and shows more of the special effects than the more character-focused first trailer. It looks to be more serious than the original RoboCop, which may could hurt it. *cough* Total Recall remake *cough*Β  Part of the charm of the originals was they were made to be dark and satirical, and did not take themselves too seriously. If MGM can keep that intact, they will at least be on the right track.

The throwback to the original RoboCop color scheme is a nice touch.Β  Honestly, I don’t think the black looks that bad.

RoboCop, directed by Jose Padilha, will be released February 12, 2014 and stars Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton,Β Jennifer Ehle,Β Michael K. Williams, Jackie Earl Haley, and Jay Baruchel.

RoboCop (2014) Trailer

The first trailer for the RoboCop reboot has been released by MGM.

I have mixed feelings about this.Β  It seems lately that Hollywood has started moving towards rebooting franchises that didn’t really need it at all, such as Total Recall and the rumored Terminator reboot.Β  The original RoboCop, released in 1987, is a perfectly fine movie that is still relatively recent.

RoboCop’s new design is pretty slick, though, minus the one non-robotic hand which just looks out of place.Β  With super-star actors like Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson, maybe it will feel fresh while still staying true to the original.

RoboCop, directed by Jose Padilha, will be released February 7, 2014 and stars Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, and Jay Baruchel.

[EDIT 10/24/2013] The release date has been changed to February 12, 2014.