Birds of Prey is a Coke-Fueled Punk Ass Masterpiece (Blu-ray Review)

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Birds of Prey and the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn arrived on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD on May 12. Starring Margot Robbie and directed by Cathy Yan, here is my review of the blu-ray:

When Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz (Chris Messina), put a target on a young girl named Cass (Ella Jay Basco), the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley (Margot Robbie), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez)’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.


Review

I didn’t hate The Suicide Squad you know? I thought it was a fun little action romp that felt very faithful to its eclectic cast of DC comic characters. However…. After watching Birds of Prey, I’m kinda sad that Suicide Squad didn’t GO ALL THE WAY like Cathy Yan’s little spinoff does here. Because Birds of Prey, goes hard and it gets weird to the highest of levels and in ways I most definitely didn’t anticipate. Did Brian Taylor from the CRANK! flicks and HAPPY TV series sneak onto the set and help make this coke-fueled punk-ass masterpiece? Yan and her team put so much love into this female-led comic-book flick that it’s hard to feel that love emanate from the screen. The action was FAR better than I anticipated and I don’t know why that is exactly, but if you love some John Wick, then you’ll be VERY satisfied watching Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn throw a baseball bat into a dude’s face. That entire prison-break sequence was one of my favorite cinematic sequences of 2020 so far. The moment a cloud of cocaine sparkles onto Harley’s face before she goes off on these thugs makes for some of the silliest and most spectacular action since Clive Owen’s SHOOT EM UP.

Birds of Prey is a quasi-sequel/spin-off from Suicide Squad in that it follows that film’s most popular character – Harley Quinn – as we see the fallout of her explosive break-up with Batman’s greatest foe, the Joker. The rest of the film follows Harley as she deals with becoming a villain (or anti-hero?) without the help of DC Comics most famous baddie. Along the way she goes toe to toe with Black Mask played BRILLIANTLY by Ewan McGregor (who chews up and steals EVERY scene he’s in here and is having a damn blast doing so) as well as a sinister Mr. Zsasz played perfectly by Chris Messina. Then you know – the film deals with the unusual formation of a new superhero team called The Birds of Prey. Harley technically isn’t a member, but she’s there and she interacts with all these badass heroines throughout the movie. Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the bizarre murdery Huntress was my favorite of the bunch and Rosie Perez’ Renee Montoya was my least favorite, but I don’t even think that was her fault as an actress, since she was playing an over-the-top caricature of a gruff street cop.

Cathy Yan deserves a lot of love for the work she’s done directing this wacky ass movie for DC and WB. Birds of Prey is JUST as good as last year’s JOKER (which won an acting Oscar) but I fear that because of the low turnout in theaters (just before Quarantine hit — it was actually my LAST film in theaters before the chaos of 2020), that we likely won’t see a sequel. I don’t know what happened there to be honest, because Birds of Prey was a helluva fun time. I laughed, I said “oh sh!t” A LOT and all of those memories from the theater, were still there watching the Blu-ray, which looks damn tasty and sounds even tastier. Blast the volume for that prison-break sequence….

Special Features

  • Birds Eye View Mode
  • Birds of Prey: Birds of a Feather
  • Grime and Crime
  • Wild Nerds
  • Romanesque
  • Sanity is Sooo Last Season
  • A Love/Skate Relationship
  • Gag Reel

There are a ton of special features here, which was expected since this is a DC Comics adaptation and I loved them all. The gag reel was fun and the Birds Eye View Mode was pretty cool too, if you’re OK watching a film broken up with mini fun facts and BTS commentary/video inside video moments. It was very similar to seeing Zack Snyder do his commentary on the Blu-rays for 300 and Watchmen. Also – you get to really see how passionate Yan was in making this movie work. Her interviews were the highlights of the Blu-ray for me and they really made me a fan of hers going forward. I can’t wait to see what kind of crazy shit she does down the road.

Rating: 4.5/5

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