BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN)

BIRDS OF PREY movie poster
After the Joker breaks up with her, Harley Quinn's (Margot Robbie) life takes a turn for the worse. Everyone's out to get her, including nasty crime lord Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). Standing in his way of getting back a valuable diamond stolen by young pickpocket Cass (Ella Jay Basco) is Quinn. She gets some unexpected help from vigilantes Dinah Lance/Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), a metahuman with hypersonic screams, and revenge-seeking Helena Bertinelli/Huntress ( Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Joining the battle is Gotham police detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), who's building a case against Sionis. Defeating the villain and his main henchman Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina) proves to be dangerous.

This spirited DC big screen venture is a mixed bag. Mesmerizing comic book visuals and a pop tune soundtrack, with artists like Halsey and Megan Thee Stallion, keep things
moving at a frenetic pace. Attempts at injecting irreverent humor, as in "Deadpool", are less successful. Director Cathy Yan, whose only other feature credit is "Dead Pigs" (2018) starring Zazie Beetz, handles the action well. But finding the right blend of comedy, drama and violence in Christina Hodson's screenplay comes up short. Yet the above-mentioned cast makes this surreal slice of cinema worth seeing. After viewing "Suicide Squad", I wanted more of Margot Robbie's (also one of this movie's producers) whacked-out character. My wish is granted here. She gleefully narrates Harley's early life in a cartoon open and continues to captivate until the film's end. Stealing some of her thunder is the scene-chewing performance of Ewan McGregor, as an outrageous villain who delights in having his victims' faces peeled off - helping to earn the R rating. Among those getting the Birds off the ground in fine fashion are Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Black Canary and Huntress. While there are no post-credits scenes, an amusing Harley voiceover is heard before the screen goes black. "Birds of Prey" takes wing and will capture its target audience. (3/5 CAMS)

Rated R (for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material)
Running Time: 109 minutes

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