I was already peripherally aware of DC’s Suicide Squad, but the first time I saw it come to life in celluloid was that excellent episode, “Task Force X,” of the animated toon, Justice League Unlimited (2004-2008). Then in Batman: Assault On Arkham (2014) the squad finally got a full length movie albeit an animated one, and I thought it was great! This year the squad finally made it into a big budget live action movie, which I also thought was well done. Initially, though, I had no desire to see it at all. The trailers didn’t do a thing for me. I didn’t get interested until I saw an extra about it on the Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016) blu-ray.
I still feel the animated movie is the best representation of DC’s creation, but one of the things I loved about the live action flick was the Escape From New York (1981) vibe it has. Being that the movie is about anti-heroes you naturally have to force them in some clever and/or insidious way to get them to get on board with your plans. With Snake Plisskan you plant a microscopic explosive in his arteries and give him a specific time to get his mission completed or those explosives will go off and kill him. That’s a pretty good motivator, so much so a variation of it has been used in the Squad’s animated movie and in their live action one too. A nano-bomb is implanted in each member’s neck that can be activated via an app, so-to-speak. Any squad member who tries to escape or do anything that jeopardizes the mission there nano-bomb will be manually activated and BLAM! no more head! And just like in the animated movie there’s always that one villain who either doesn’t believe in what they’re being told, or actually tries to escape, who ends up getting their head blown off. In the animated movie it was KGBeast, in this film it’s a dude named Slipknot (Adam Beach), one of the only villains who doesn’t get enough screen time for us to know.
This movie is the third in DC’s new shared universe franchise (Man Of Steel and Batman V Superman being the previous two). Batman (Ben Affleck) makes a cameo, so does The Flash (Ezra Miller)—wasn’t expecting that—and Superman’s existence and his death are acknowledged. In fact it’s Superman himself that prompts the existence of Task Force X (aka the Suicide Squad). As far as I can tell this is the first time DC’s Amanda Waller has come to the life in a live action DC universe. Like before with Justice League Unlimited, I became familiar with her character through that show. I’m not sure I would categorize Waller as a “bad guy.” It’s no mystery she has worked against heroes before, but I wouldn’t put her in the same league as Joker, or the rest of the Squad members. A “government villain” might be a more apt title for her and Viola Davis plays her more reprehensibly as any portrayal I’ve seen in animated form. My hat’s off to her. And Waller is the creator of this new Task Force X because of the fear of what any future “superman” might be. The current one shared a love of humanity, what if a new one comes to earth and doesn’t? How do you stop a renegade superman? Waller believes she can do that with her Task Force X.
She meets with a high ranking General and this is how we are introduced to the squad. She gives him a dossier to look through, and as he does we get vignettes of who they are and how they got captured and thrown into Belle Reve Prison down South. A special facility designed to hold villains. Deadshot (Will Smith) was apprehended by Batman; Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) was apprehended by The Flash; Diablo (Jay Hernandez) gave himself up after he burned his own house down and accidentally killed his wife and kids; Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) was run of Gotham by Batman, ran afoul of the law and imprisoned in a sewer in the prison; Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) was also nabbed by Batman while she was out on date night with her beau, the Joker (Jared Leto). Joker escaped. Of course he did.
Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) was also supposed to be part of the squad, but she became too hot to handle. She’s an age old sorceress who can only be controlled if you’re in possession of her heart. A physical object, yes, that Waller keeps in a secure case only she can access. But the Enchantress is the movie’s big baddie and she has plans of her own, namely putting an end to humanity. With the help of her brother, who’s this 20 foot tall CGI being, she decides to “create a machine” that’ll destroy human society, and this is what turns the city into a kind of post apocalyptic landscape, but the squad members have no idea what’s going on in the outside world. They’re assembled and told by Waller via tablet they are to proceed into the city and rescue this specific person. Who that is they have no idea. They’ll be led by Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), a DC character that appeared in that aforementioned “Task Force X” episode of Justice League Unlimited, a team of Seals, and Katana (Karen Fukuhara). Flag is the perfect guy for this since he’s fallen in love with Dr. June Moone (Delevingne), the chick Enchantress has possessed and manifests through.
Obviously the mission goes awry in so many ways as the team breaks apart, and then comes together again to defeat Enchantress. The standouts are Robbie and Leto as Harley Quinn and Joker respectively, whose burgeoning relationship is seen in flashbacks throughout the movie. He’s also present in the movie in a small role as he tries and partially succeeds in rescuing Quinn. I’m also going to go out on a limb and state he makes a more menacing Joker than Heath Ledger did in The Dark Knight (2008). I was also surprised to see how all the “villains” got nicely fleshed out. I was never a fan of Captain Boomerang, but as a live action character played by Jai Courtney, I’m a fan now. I was hoping we might see more Suicide Squad movies but like most DC movies when they hit the theater it didn’t fare well at the box office. Batman V Superman’s extended cut seems to have won some fans over, and I’m hoping the unrated cut on this flick does too, but I don’t know, I haven’t heard anything about any sequel.
On December 13 Warner Brothers Home Entertainment brings the Suicide Squad (Extended Cut) to DVD and blu-ray with several editions: a Blu-ray/DVD/ Digital Copy Combo, a 2-disc DVD (Theatrical Cut only), a 3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray/Digital Copy Combo, a 4K UltraHD/Blu-ray/Digital Copy Combo, an Amazon Exclusive with a Harley Quinn figure and an Amazon Exclusive with a Deadshot figure!
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 2.40:1 high definition widescreen—English Dolby Atmos, 7.1 English Dolby TrueHD, 5.1 French Dolby Digital, 5.1 Spanish Dolby Digital, 5.1 Portuguese Dolby Digital, 5.1 English Dolby Digital—English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
There are three discs in this version. The Theatrical Cut and the Extended Cut (11 more minutes) are separated on two blues, and the DVD included is of the Theatrical Cut only.
Extras included . . .
- Task Force X: One Team, One Mission (23:08)
- Chasing The Real (9:37)
- Joker & Harley: ‘It’ Couple of The Underworld (14:29)
- Squad Strength and Speed (9:03)
- Armed to The Teeth (11:48)
- This is Gonna Get Loud: The Epic Battles of Suicide Squad (10:54)
- The Squad Declassified (4:19)
- Gag Reel (2:04)
The extended cut is the way to go on this one, like it generally is with most movies that get two cuts on home video. Only once have I encountered a case where the theatrical was better than the the extended/director’s cut and that was with The Punisher (1990). You get more backstory with Joker and Quinn and more interactions with the squad once they’re in the city that simply fleshes out the characters more and just makes them generally more fun to watch.