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Friday, March 17, 2017

Konga (1961) movie review


Overall verdict: 4.5/10

Misleading advertising cannot save King Kong's cheap obscure English cousin

The Good: A fine cast especially a younger Michael Gough, original premise,  

The Bad: cheesy monster design, cheap special effects, lacks suspense as a thriller, simplistic story, undeveloped characters, lacks deeper themes

***********Review***********

KONGA is often advertised as The European answer to Hollywood's KING KONG. It's tagline about massive spectacle and it's posters showing a humongous hairy humanoid towering over Big Ben certainly misleads an audience into expecting the next big giant Monster movie. Even it's name seems like a ripoff of it's more well known American cinematic Cousin. The only problem is that KONGA has less in common with big burly behemoths running wild through the city and more uncommon with a twilight zone style murder mystery given a science fiction twist.

The film stars a young Michael Gough, almost unrecognisable from his later career defining role as Batman's loyal butler Alfred in four consecutive Superhero films. Here he plays botanist Dr Charles Decker, who made an amazing discovery from Africa that grows plants and animals to enormous size in the blink of an eye and gives them monstrous qualities. Convinced that his enemies are out to steal his discovery and claim credit for themselves, he sends his pet monkey named Konga to kill them. Of course he gives Konga a dose of the growth serum which turns the monkey into..........something that looks like a cave man in a gorilla mask and wearing the thickest fur pants ever.

Let's start with Konga's Monster design which is laughable at best. His legs are short, giving him an almost cute "Sesame Street" type of waddle when he walks. His chest is obviously a sculpted plastic or rubber breastplate, and that thick growth of fur around his waist and crotch are just ridiculous. From afar, it looks like a bad Hawaiian hula skirt made out of a shag rug, and up close it looks like overgrown crotch hair. Here is a closer look.


And no, for most of the movie Konga is only a man sized monkey as he works through his murder list. He never assumes his gigantic form until well into the final act.

The uncanny appearance of Konga does add a little to that scary twilight zone feel. If only the movie were shot in a more suspenseful manner. It feels like a tv production for most of time, focusing on the characters and the whole murder plot which would have made a nice mystery in more capable hands. The characters are largely forgettable though Michael Gough turns in a deliciously hammy performance as Dr Decker, slowly succumbing to the paranoia and madness from his discovery. Again, in a more visionary writer's hand, Dr Decker could have been a truly sympathetic villain; a man who had to play second fiddle for most of his life despite his achievements, denied due credit by conniving colleagues and denied the object of his affections, forced to extreme measures by the unscrupulous profiteering machinations of an unforgiving world. Alas, he is written as a straight up bad guy. Egotistical, stubborn and morally depraved.

When the titular ape finally goes giant, it is a half hearted sequence that does not earn its prominent display in all promotional material. The miniatures are not very convincing, all Konga does is wobble and flail, and humans are replaced by misshapen Barbie dolls, I kid you not!



Simplistic, shallow and cheap, KONGA never shed its reputation as KING KONG's obscure wannabe Cousin from across the pond. The material showed great potential but it failed at being tense thriller since all scares and twists are telegraphed well ahead of time, spoiling any sort of surprise. It could have, but failed to delve into deeper themes of the morality in animal experimentations or exploitation of workers like Dr Decker by greedy corporate types. It failed even as a giant Monster movie with too little Monster (which may be a good thing considering how goofy it looks). Thankfully, a great cast gives this movie some redeeming qualities, allowing it to earn its place among my bad movie guilty pleasures.

***********Review***********


Entertainment: B+
Story: C
Acting: A-
Characters: C-
Music: D+
Replay value: C
"Brains": D+


Friday, March 10, 2017

Resident Evil (2002) movie review



Overall verdict: 6/10

SWAT Team VS zombies VS skimpily dressed lady VS bad special effects monster

The Good: genuinely scary scenes, well shot action sequence, consistent sense of peril,well paced mystery sub plot, captures the spirit of the original video games

The Bad: Stilted dialogue, cheap special effects, bland characters, uninteresting protagonist, unoriginal elements borrowed from other movies
***********Review***********
Hello. This is the resident evil movie franchise. And this is its story. The start of its story. It was conceptualised as an adaptation of the "Biohazard" horror genre video game, renamed "Resident Evil" for the global market. Paul Ws Anderson, director of the successful Mortal Kombat movie, was chosen to spearhead the project. But something seemed wrong. The characters were different from the game. Changed. Unrecognisable. It seemed as if he read the synopsis at the back of the video game box then tossed it out in favour of his own script. A script. Consisting of dialogue as silted as the first paragraph of this review.

Considering that the games were never well liked for their characters' flowery discourse or Shakespearean soliloquy, the creators of the movie cut and pasted elements from other movies in Paul WS Anderson's DVD collection then give it some cosmetic do-over to resemble the video games.

Special force team sent to deal with an unknown threat in a cavernous facility? Aliens (which Anderson is unabashedly a fan of). The facility is "alive" and trying to kill you? Event horizon (also directed by Anderson). Actress Milla Jovovich in a skimpy red dress, combat boots, scenes teasing near nudity and doing all sorts of nimble kung fu to show off her lithe hot body? Straight out of Anderson's wet dreams. Jovovich plays Alice. 


Who the heck is Alice? We do not know as she's got amnesia. But clues to who she is are sprinkled throughout the film and it is fun to piece it all together by the end. What can I say? Other than that, Alice is a blank slate audience surrogate. The ultimate escapism protagonist titillating the men and allowing women to feel empowered by how she maintains her stunning beauty while fending off shameless groping perv.....I mean, shambling groups of zombies which only appear more than halfway through the movie.


For much of the first half we are treated to a whole sequence of a special forces team breaking into a dark scary mansion to find Alice and another guy named Matt. The mansion is a cover for a hidden entrance to The Hive, a massive underground facility that had been had been mysteriously sealed. The artificial intelligence Programme dubbed "red queen" had killed all personnel in the hive and it was up to this special team to find out why. This is essentially a modernised haunted house story with the "house" being the hive and the red queen springing traps to kill the intruders. 


Though lacking in actual zombies, the film maintains a brisk pace and an increasing sense of dread as we descend further. The appearance of another amnesia named Spence compounds the mystery when they learn the lockdown was initiated by a virus outbreak and the red queen was merely acting to contain the virus.


When the action kicks in, it is fantastic. Sure the characters do some silly things that fly in the face of common sense but the fight scenes are well shot with tight angles and claustrophobic feel which heighten the sense of panic when facing the zombie hordes with no escape.


The mystery story is well plotted and shot but the experience is dampened by some of the corniest special effects even for a movie of its age. Near the end, they have a run in with a Super powered Monster rendered in the worst cgi ever. Why they decided to use rudimentary computer graphics instead of practical effects, puppetry and make up astounds me. The creature never blends with the rest of the footage and the disappointment is that it could easily have been done with a stuntman in a suit or animatronics.

With an eventual resolution leaving more questions than answers, RESIDENT EVIL is undoubtedly a fun guilty pleasure. It does not follow the story but retains the tone of the games. A shallow superficial plot is at least held up by consistent tension and decent pulse pounding action. Once you can forgive all the familiar elements borrowed from other movies, RESIDENT EVIL proves itself to be a decent start to a long running science fiction horror franchise.


***********Review***********


Entertainment: B+
Story: B+
Acting: C
Characters: C-
Music: B-
Replay value: B+
"Brains": C-


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Kong The Animated Series (2000) review.


Overall verdict: 4/10

Fit for a kid, not for a king. This show dilutes its iconic character into a mess of cartoon cliches designed to appeal to the pokemon generation.

The Good: Amazing voice acting and chemistry, moments of smooth animation, unique musical score

The Bad: inconsistent animation, sub-par artwork, juvenile script, convoluted mythology, cliched plots, lacks character development, downplays the majesty and might of its titular character

***********Review***********
KONG THE ANIMATED SERIES is what you get when you take an iconic giant movie Monster and turn him into a Saturday morning cartoon to cater to the pokemon generation. Created in 2000 as a competitor to the then successful GODZILLA THE ANIMATED SERIES, KONG purportedly takes place Long after a loose retelling of the original movie. Unlike its reptilian kaiju counterpart which still maintains a plausible continuity within the world of the movie, KONG goes right off the wacky end with kooky technology, ancient artifacts, demons, cloning, and more feeling less like a King Kong show and more like a mash up of DIGIMON and 90s era Saturday morning cartoons.
In this series, King Kong dies but a scientist Dr Lorna Jenkins clones Kong using DNA of King Kong and her grandson Jason. Many years later, Jason gets invited to his grandmother's secret lab on "Kong island" (because "Skull Island" may be too frightening for little kids) along with his Friend Eric Tannenbaum and university professor Ramone De La Porta. Dr Jenkins has apparently been researching magical primal stones and created the cyberlink technology which allows users to merge with creatures turning giving them a power boost and turning them into humanoid giant Mutants. Lo and behold De La Porta turns out to be a bad guy and his cronies steal the primal stones and some cyberlink headsets. This causes some demon to slowly awaken. The race is now on to retrieve the stones from De La Porta before the demon Chrios awakens.
The digimon influence is readily apparent in the character of Kong himself. He is an animal Friend/Guardian who can power up to a stronger form in times of need. He and Jason share a loyal sibling type relationship with a few charming moments. With the , You have a scantily clad shaman girl Lua that serves as romantic foil to the protagonist, the comic relief sidekick Tennenbaum, the mentor type in dr Jenkins, all of these staples of old Saturday morning cartoons. Yes they are just as bland as those old cartoons but special thanks goes to the voice actors who lend much needed energy to otherwise insipid scripts.
Fans of anime would be able to recognise voice acting veterans like Kirby Morrow, Saffron Henderson and many others infusing their characters with distinct personalities while sharing good chemistry with each other. David Kaye and Scott McNeil are the stand out performances here with Kaye portraying De La Porta as a smooth cunning criminal with a fancy foreign accent (which tends to slip now and then between Spanish and French accent) and McNeil doing a range of voices from the comedic Tennenbaum, to one of De La Porta's African henchmen, to Kong himself.
The futuristic tech and unexplained magic, also staples of such cartoons, are effective hand waves for the inconsistent sizes of the giant monsters; one moment Kong can fit in a warehouse and the next he's towering over the same warehouse. Or we could just chalk that up to lousy animation courtesy of the Philippine Animation Studio inc. The studio's claim to fame were the horrible last season of the 90s X-men cartoon and some of the worst animated episodes of Animaniacs. In this series, the animation is serviceable. There are moments of Super smooth movements that stand out among the sometimes choppy and other times overdone character motions. For some reason, characters tend to gesture a lot when they talk in this cartoon and sometimes it turns out corny like something out of a stage play. As mentioned, such gesturing alternates between awkward and excessively expressive. The gaudy neon bright Colours and simplistic art work really do not help matters, which is a real shame especially when it comes to the giant Monster fights.
While the plots for the episodes are varied enough not to fall into a set formula, the overall story does meander a lot often losing track of the core story of retrieving the primal stones to stop the demon from awakening. The scripts are simplistic and borderline juvenile at times, betraying the magnificent performances of the voice cast. It's mediocrity from both a technical and artistic standpoint, along with its cliche ridden premise, only does a disservice to the legacy of King Kong as a timeless character.


***********Review***********


Entertainment: C+
Art: C
Animation: C-
Story: C-
Voice Acting (English): A
Characters: C+
Music: C+
Replay value: B-
"Brains": D+

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017) review



Overall verdict: 5.5/10

Paul WS Anderson's fan fiction family film borrowing a video game title comes to its overdue end. 

The Good: Returns to dark gritty action, genuinely scary scenes, top notch special effects, tense fight scenes, closes the franchise neatly

The Bad: Flat characters, disappointing acting, lack of cast chemistry, overuse of closeups in fights, retcons essential plot points form previous movies, detracts too much from the video game, shallow themes
***********Review***********
 The previous movie RESIDENT EVIL RETRIBUTION ended just as a massive battle against Monster our hordes of undead and mutants was about to begin right at The White House. Epic right? Well we never get to see that as our Mary Sue protagonist Alice awakens in rubble after the battle. Mimicking the video game experience, she gets a Mission to return to Raccoon City, the place where it all began, to try and find a new cure for the global zombie virus outbreak. With her special powers (supposedly returned to her in the last movie) now gone, Alice must rally the last survivors on earth, which conveniently include a few familiar faces, to storm the Hive, umbrella corporation's secret underground lair from the first movie.


Make no mistake, Resident Evil as a movie franchise has Long since severed ties with the video games it is based on. It is now essentially multi million dollar fan fiction which uses some of the creatures from the games, some homages and supporting characters that do happen to share their names with the main characters from the games. The movies craft their own lore apart from the games and it was fairly intriguing with the twists and revelations, the cloning sub plot, the mystery of who Alice really is, the virus granting special powers, all of it. That is until they went and retconned stuff on a whim. The revelation that there was a cure to the virus? There was already a cure in the first movie. Funny how everyone forgot that. The revelation of the virus' true creator? Contradicts RESIDENT EVIL APOCALYPSE. The retelling of the origins of the outbreak? contradicts the first movie. It is almost as if this second trilogy (Afterlife, Retribution, Final chapter) is a reboot of the franchise or a wholly separate franchise from the first trilogy (RE, Apocalypse and Extinction).


The story wraps itself up nicely bringing multiple sub plots to a satisfactory end but the execution is disappointing and the journey is almost laughable. Alice as a character is as devoid of personality as a raw chicken wing. Her delivery of dialogue alters between bored angry, bored upset and bored surprise as if actress Milla Jovovich is tired of all the narrative loopholes that the franchise has dug for itself. Every line from her can be punctuated with a sarcastic "seriously?" and it would not feel out of place. Despite having no special powers, she still kicks a lot of Monster butt while maintaining her ageless good looks.


The look of RE: THE FINAL CHAPTER lacks the visual polish of the previous native 3D movie. This one is shot in traditional 2D replacing the surreal slow motion with close up frantic camerawork and flat, dingy cinematography that reminds me of a direct to video movie. Surprisingly this actually works in the movie's favour, bringing it back to the grittier aesthetic which attracted me to the first 3 movies. It is grim, it is claustrophobic, it is perfect for a horror action movie. My only gripe is that the director falls back on way too many cuts during action scenes giving that choppy jittery feel that too many modern blockbusters are known for.


I am torn when it comes to this franchise. It is cheap guilty pleasure of a shallow 80s action movie which this film makes no excuses for. But on the other hand it has so much potential to be a little smarter and tackle themes a little deeper. The cloning subplot could give rise to a plot thread exploring individuality and the nature vs nurture debate. The Umbrella Corporation had potential to be a compelling protagonist with the amount of resources and influence we had seen in past films, but alas they are no better than something out of a 1990s anime, all "wipe out the world and recreate in our image" and stuff. Any compelling motive? No, just because they are the villain and must be evil.

As a movie franchise, RESIDENT EVIL had overstayed its welcome by 3 movies. Its needlessly convoluted story which literally hits the reset button at the start of every movie does little justice to its simplistic narrative, cheap thrills and shallow themes. If it is any consolation, the franchise is consistent in that regard so we only have the action, special effects and camerawork to fall back on.  It is immensely entertaining, and an improvement over past installments. But sadly even those aspects  are still mediocre compared to many other horror science fiction movies, leaving this final RESIDENT EVIL movie as neither the best Nor the worst of the bunch.

***********Review***********


Entertainment: B+
Story: C-
Acting: B
Characters: B
Music: C
Replay value: B+
"Brains": C-

Monday, January 2, 2017

Top 10 Movies Of 2016

As 2017 starts, I look back at my top 10 movies of 2016. I admit that i did not watch all the movies released in Singapore and there are some honourable mentions that i decided to miss such as TRAIN TO BUSAN. Even for those i watched, not all of them were given reviews.

Anyway here are my top 10 movies of 2016 and why i hold them in such high regard.





1. DEADPOOL 
9/10
It defies genre, it defies convention, it throws us right into the thick of the action. The perfect comic book movie. Very faithful to the source, witty, funny. We aren't talking the cartoony quips or snide banter of disney's Marvel movies. This is smart, actually humorous, befitting of the film and filled to popping point with pop culture references of all sorts. Yet DEADPOOL is not some laugh-a-minute comedy. Ryan Reynolds completely sells even the more sombre scenes with such earnestness.



2. FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
9/10
The magic carries on in this amazing spinoff of the HARRY POTTER franchise. It had a lot to live up to and delivered the same wondrous sense of fantasy and adventure while weaving a brand new story quite literally from scratch. With compelling new characters juxtaposed against a familiar world of wizardry, a near perfect script and a touch of nostalgia, the world of HARRY POTTER has now broken free of the restraints of the books and opened up a whole new direction of possibilities.



8.5/10
Filled with subtle but powerful emotional moments, equally powerful fight scenes, and strong underlying themes, BATMAN V SUPERMAN is loud, grand and an easily misunderstood creature.
This is a complex movie delving into complex themes that few current day superhero comics, let alone movies, touch on. It deconstructs and explore the nature of trust, power, and question the inherent good or evil in human hearts. These philosophical questions are brought up, lending much needed depth to a genre reduced in recent years to superficial childlike thrills.



8.5/10
As a whole this is a tremendous improvement in every aspect over previous marvel team up movie AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON. Comic book movies will be hard pressed to match up to this standard set by CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR. Yes there is ill placed humour, yes they kill a certain amount of the drama with cheap comedy and yes the relatively generic musical score by Henry Jackman seems wasted on such an epic. But the few flaws aside, this is finally the kind of movie that marvel should be making. One that takes its superheroes more seriously, tones down the jokes, and delves into deeper themes both social and political



5. WARCRAFT: THE BEGINNING
8.5/10
Video game movies have never gotten a fair chance to shine. Plagued by either a low budget or too many deviations from the source, they have been constantly ridiculed at the box office. WARCRAFT changed that. In fact it may hew a little too faithful to the source. As an adaptation of the very first Warcraft game, it succeeds in creating a high fantasy world where orcs, gryphons and other magical creatures exist. The characters are earnestly fleshed out, decently developed and extremely likeable. The production designs come right out of game, preserving even the more extreme ones all produced with special effects that would rival James Cameron’s Avatar. The fact that WARCRAFT has gone to become the highest grossing video game movie in the world by 2016 speaks volumes about its quality.



6. SHIN GOJIRA (GODZILLA RESURGENCE) 
8/10
Japan is back in the game with their very own new Godzilla movie SHIN GOJIRA. Where Hollywood revived Godzilla as a tribute to his more heroic role in the showa era “versus” movies, Toho Japan has gone back to the roots of the 1954 original Gojira and crafted a modern thriller about the horrors of mankind’s misdeeds, the inaction of a government and the impotence of a military in the face of this fiercer, meaner, force of nature Gojira. More than just a monster movie with amazing special effects, SHIN GOJIRA is a political thriller that satirises the japanese government, it is also a very human drama, unafraid to show that horrible consequences of a monster’s rampage.



7. 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
8/10
Monsters come in many forms and on the flip side from the giant monster in GOJIRA comes the most unexpected but most obvious monster of all, us. 10 Cloverfield lane is a thrilling mystery fleshed out perfectly thanks to the performance of its cast led by veteran John Goodman. Every moment is a nail biting tension, every bit of dialogue is a clue to something that would come later, all cleverly woven into tense film about how far desperation would drive someone. With a hinted connection to an overarching shared universe which started with the Cloverfield giant monster movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane shows that you do not need big special effects or big action to tell a compelling story.


8. LEGEND OF TARZAN
8/10
The Lord of the Jungle has reclaims the big screen with this modern day interpretation of the classic character written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Not surprising that this magnificent period piece comes from the same director as FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM. I personally loved that it was not an action blockbuster. There were enough slower scenes that fleshed out the characters and the setting. The performances of the cast is amazing, with the more mythical elements of the Tarzan mythos realised through cutting edge special effects and featuring beautifully stylised cinematography throughout. The themes of the movie, both personal and political, are a constant presence throughout Tarzan’s tale and journey of self-discovery.


9. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
8/10
STAR WARS without lightsabers or jedi? Unheard of yet perfectly executed in this movie. ROGUE ONE shows the grittier side of the star wars universe being a war story first and a star wars story second. In a departure from the classic black and white morality of the star wars franchise, ROGUE ONE presents morally grey good guys and bad guys. A cruel empire or the only hope for order amidst galactic chaos? A courageous group of rebels or scheming underground movement that would backstab and betray to achieve their ends? This complexity adds a fresh layer to the stale good vs evil duality and crafts a compelling science fiction movie which relies too heavily on nostalgia.


10. HARDCORE HENRY
7.5/10
A first person shooter movie that is not based on a first person shooter game. The story, the characters, the entire setting is right out of a video game that never was. Filmed entirely from a first person perspective using go-pro cameras, the frantic action may be a little too much for some but for me it is a perfect action movie revealing in violence and intense carnage. Its unique visual style and masterful cinematography makes this look like a big budget film. You’d never know that it was made cheap using off the shelf visual effects software.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Suicide Squad (2016) Movie Review



Overall verdict: 6/10

The Good: Amazing chemistry among cast, perfect portrayal of comic book characters, well written dark humour, intense action.

The Bad: Mediocre music, uninspired directing style, garish cinematography, erratic pacing, shallow narrative, never delves into deeper themes.

3D Readiness: Post production 3D conversion. Murky cinematography and frantic camera work do not translate well to 3D

*************Review*************
Villains get the spotlight in SUICIDE SQUAD, a movie which is in as much of a dismal situation as its protagonists with an almost bipolar personality caused by an indecision on a proper tone or themes. What could have been a gripping ensemble piece about camaraderie among unlikely companions forged in the fires of conflict becomes yet another loud, messy, superficial blockbuster affair. A movie about second chances and an exploration of the minds behind the monsters that are these supervillains dials back on all this potential depth in the name of making itself more “fun”.
From the get go, SUICIDE SQUAD had a tall order to tackle. It had to introduce not one, not two, but a whopping 9 characters into this cinematic universe called the DC Extended Universe or DCEU. Not only that, they had to go from bad guy to good guy and settle their individual character arcs within the span of 2 hours. This is a team movie but we had barely known the team members. In a flurry of disjointed flashbacks and flash forwards, we are brought up to speed on the history of our characters leading up to their current situation as patsies recruited by the ruthless Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to be a black ops task force in the service of the government. Marksman Deadshot (Will Smith), mutated strongman Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), self-blaming pyrokinetic gangster El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), master of ropes Slipknot (Adam Beach), crazy Aussie with a pony obsession (it makes sense in context) Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), crazier little psychopath Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), all led by the stern no-nonsense Captain Rick Flagg and his sword wielding assistant Katana.
Immediately apparent is the tremendous chemistry among the cast. Each role is masterfully played and feel exactly like the comic book brought to life. Of particular note are Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and veteran Will Smith’s Deadshot. The respective actors nail the various facets of these complex characters perfectly, portraying them as layered individuals hiding their inner brokenness behind a fa├žade of bravado and false smiles. That being said, only Deadshot and Harley get any decent development. The others are relegated to being a supporting cast with barely an arc much less any character depth. A pity though, seeing as how colourful a cast it was, and how intriguing their backstories from the comics were.

For their first mission, the squad is sent into Midway City to investigate an apparent terrorist attack. Instead what they find is a supernatural invasion like something out of Ghostbusters. Faceless humanoid zombie things roam the streets while special effects mumbo jumbo continually pours out of a peculiar train station. Slowly it is revealed that there is more to this attack than meets the eye which seems to have a personal connection to one of the squad. But first, they would have to fight their way across the city in some of the messiest, uninspired fight sequences filmed in recent years all set to a bland generic score and shot in a haphazard manner with each frame saturated in garish purple, oily blacks and acid green.

Oh and the Joker (Jared Leto) is in this movie somewhere, appearing occasionally throughout the movie like a wheezing Wiley Coyote intent on saving his lost love Harley. We really do not get much about him other than he is a mob boss, kills people, and has a disturbing as heck chuckle.
SUICIDE SQUAD is muddled by erratic pacing for the most part, brought about by the sloppy editing that looks more like a music video and less like a movie. Perhaps that was the point when they packed the film full of pop songs from likes of Eminem, Rick James and Skrillex; it is a feature length compilation of music videos in which the characters actually stop for an intermission to get a drink right in the middle of a war.

Here is a movie that is unable to decide on its identity, no doubt brought about by the executive meddling that plagued its production. It feels like it was originally a much darker, sombre, character centred movie. Such a film would have been more in line with Director David Ayers’ style, having done the brutal war movie Fury. Instead, it is pumped full of dark humour which, though well executed, takes away any complexity or meaningful themes that the movie could have incorporated. It is so superficial that even the camaraderie comes out of nowhere. One moment they are complete strangers, and all of a sudden they are best friends. A character claims that the squad is his new family but nowhere do we see them truly bond.

SUICIDE SQUAD is saved mainly by the amazing actors and actresses, bringing our favourite comic book villains to life in a way that makes us want to know more about them, their histories, and their stories. They bring a tremendous energy to the screen and snippets of the characters’ development and how the varying personalities play off each other are sprinkled throughout the film. Perhaps if it was not mercilessly butchered by editors, SUICIDE SQUAD had potential to be a great ensemble piece digging deep into an exploration of the criminal psyche and a tragic tale of loss and redemption. Instead it was re-cut into a shallow comedy filled mess with bland directing, murky production design, and ended up with the trailers being better than the movie itself.

*************Review End*************

Entertainment: B-
Story: C-
Acting: A
Characters: B-
Music: C-
Replay value: B-
"Brains": C-