One of the most anticipated movies of last summer, Suicide Squad, was also the biggest disappointment, both to its fan base (who went frantic nearly one year earlier at Comic-Con when the teaser trailer was released) and the studio (who saw ticket sales plummet 67% in its second week). The movie is a blatant example of all style with no substance, a great looking and sounding movie that is completely lifeless.
The Production: 2/5
Note: Warner has only included the theatrical cut in 4K UHD. Only the extended cut of the film has been included on a second Blu-ray disc along with the special features.
Intelligence officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) assembles a team of incarcerated villains, including Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Slipknot (Adam Beach), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) as a counter-measure in case a villainous alien with Superman’s powers were to come knocking at America’s door. Waller makes two presentations supporting her plan, once at a dinner party with military leaders, and again with the President’s cabinet, providing back story for each member of her team, to be lead by Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), and using Enchantress, living within archeologist June Moone’s body (both played by Cara Delevingne), to convince the cabinet by having her steal top secret information from Iran. As it turns out, Enchantress double crosses Waller by freeing her brother, Incubus (Alain Chanoine), who then uses Enchantress to create monstrous soldiers to wipe out the inhabitants of Midway City.
One of the many problems with Suicide Squad (and there are many, too numerous to count for this review) is director David Ayer’s decision to switch back and forth in time to tell this story (and multiple back stories), but never relaying any real sense of peril. By the end of the movie, I felt like I had watched the original Ghostbusters, but performed by DC Comics. Jared Leto’s Joker is used too often (and rumor is that there was even more scenes with Joker that were shot), slowing down the pace and basically getting in the way. Leto’s portrayal of The Joker is a one-note performance, going for weird, rather than adding any depth that most other portrayals by the likes of Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and even Mark Hamill were able to convey. There are really only two reasons to watch Suicide Squad, for its often beautiful cinematography by Roman Vasyanov, and Margot Robbie’s performance as Harley Quinn, who steals just about every scene she is in. Unfortunately, that’s just not enough to recommend this film.
3D Rating: NA
Suicide Squad was shot on 35mm and completed as a 2K digital intermediate. Even though the film has been upscaled for this UHD release, there is a noticeable improvement over the included 1080p Blu-ray extended cut. Fine detail is more evident, such as in Joker’s caked-on white face and textures in the skins of the monstrous soldiers. Black levels are excellent, providing increased shadow detail in many of the darker sequences. Colors are also more vibrant and occasionally pop.
Suicide Squad has been outfitted on both UHD and Blu-ray with a very immersive Dolby Atmos track (with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core), even when played back in a traditional 5.1 configuration with additional front height speakers and Pro-Logic IIz enabled. Heights are not employed as much as expected, but there are still a few moments where gunshots or explosions can be heard above as well as in front and behind. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout, directed mostly to the center channel with panning where necessary, and never gets lost in the mix. Dynamic range is where the track shines, particularly during musical montages and action sequences.
Special Features: 2.5/5
All of the special features can be found on the included Blu-ray disc.
Suicide Squad: Extended Cut (1080p; 2:14:32): Supposedly, the extended cut features “13 minutes of footage not previously seen in theatres,” but the actual running time is only 11 minutes longer than the theatrical cut.
Task Force X: One Team, One Mission (1080p; 23:08): A look at the history of Suicide Squad within DC Comics.
Chasing the Real (1080p; 9:37): A look at the movie’s production design, including interviews with director David Ayer, production designer Oliver Scholl, and visual effects producer Ed Ulbrich.
Joker & Harley: “It” Couple of the Underworld (1080p; 14:29): As the title suggests, this is a look at the film’s rendition of Joker and Harley, with help from Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, and others.
Squad Strength and Skills (1080p; 9:03): Focuses on the stunt work in the film.
Armed to the Teeth (1080p; 11:48): As suggested, a look at weapons and props.
This is Gonna Get Loud: The Epic Battles of Suicide Squad (1080p; 10:54): This has nothing to do with sound design or mixing, but a closer look at many of the action sequences.
The Squad Declassified (1080p; 4:19): A quick look at each of the members of the squad.
Gag Reel (1080p; 2:04)
Digital HD Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy through Ultraviolet partners. If redeemed through Vudu, users get access to a streaming UHD version of the theatrical cut, an HDX copy of the extended cut, and access to all of the special features while viewing the movie in portrait mode, plus some additional 360 VR clips.
Suicide Squad is pretty much dead on arrival, but with impressive video and audio scores. However, it would have been nice if Warner included the theatrical cut in 1080p, rather than UHD only, and vice versa.