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Margot Robbie (right) is a hoot as the anti-heroine Harley Quinn. (Picture courtesy of Warner Bros.)
Margot Robbie (right) is a hoot as the anti-heroine Harley Quinn. (Picture courtesy of Warner Bros.)

AFTER the dire and dramatic exploration of a man trudging along a downward spiral that was seen in the award-winning Joker, DC hits moviegoers with the direct opposite in a cartoonish presentation of another anti-hero.

Or should I say, anti-heroine, as this movie features a female-centric cast with a lengthy title that essentially focusses on the story of one Harley Quinn.

She's the nutty Clown Princess of Crime from the comic books but her onscreen iteration is derived from 2016's messy Suicide Squad, in which she made her first live big screen appearance.

With Birds Of Prey, Harley gets to bask in the limelight in flamboyant, fractured and radioactive-coloured style.

Naughty and badass, the suitably bubbly and unhinged character is on a mission to find herself after her long-time beau, the Joker (mentioned a lot but never seen in the movie), breaks up with her.

Along the way she gets entangled in a web of trouble since she no longer enjoys immunity by being the Joker's girlfriend.

Tasked with locating an important diamond, she gradually gets involved with a set of other oddball female characters.

They then eventually team up at the eleventh hour to stay alive and satisfy the movie's title.

The movie was a fun, silly and visually impressive romp of vibrant hues and bone-crushing action.

It made full use of its R rating (18 rating in Malaysia’s case), which resulted in lots of profanities, violence and blood onscreen.

So it's certainly not a family movie for little kids.

One of the best things about this outing, like Suicide Squad, was Harley herself.

Played once again with great aplomb by Margot Robbie, the former-certified psychiatrist-turned-unpredictably crazy criminal was a complete riot.

The movie also featured some pretty decent action sequences and fight scenes.

Director Cathy Yan did a nice job of injecting dark humour and a dose of quirkiness into the wild, if not, uneven mix.

There were a lot flashbacks though, to presumably showcase the chaos of Harley's mind, as she narrated the story.

But it also felt like an easy way to make a simple story seem more engaging.

The big bad of the movie was the brutal face-peeling and misogynistic crime lord, Roman Sionis, a.k.a. Black Mask.

Played with gleeful camp by Ewan McGregor, the cruel and eccentric character was a scene-stealer.

The hilarious interactions between Roman and his serial killer henchman, Zsasz (played by an unrecognisable Chris Messina), were standouts as well.

The rest of Harley's female posse, made up of Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), also added colour and verve to the proceedings.

It was unfortunate that those characters were just glossed over and examined only on a surface level.

Perhaps this was just a prequel to Birds Of Prey?

Overall, it was an enjoyable enough experience, although I would think that die hard fans of these characters and stories from the actual comics might not have appreciated the deviation and innovation from the source material.

 

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BIRDS OF PREY: AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN

Directed by Cathy Yan

Starring Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor

Duration 109 minutes

Rating 18

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