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“Birds of Prey” A Kickass Fan Feast




Review by John Delia

One of the best films in recent past for action fans, Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) comes to the screen with a kickass movie that should please the pulp fiction fan base. It’s a follow up to DC Comics’ Suicide Squad for one of their characters, Harley Quinn, and the start of a probable spinoff series. In this episode it explains Harley Quinn’s past and her failing love life that had fallen apart when Joker decided to part ways. But, you can’t keep this wild DC Comic character down as you’ll find out in Birds of Prey.

MARGOT ROBBIE as Harley Quinn from Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BIRDS OF PREY a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Having a psychological effect from the breakup with Joker, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) feels she has reached the end of her rope. But the comeback will be a violent one that will take her into the den of the vicious Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) who has contempt for the wild street queen. Having lost his most precious stone, a diamond, to light fingered street urchin Cass (Ella Jay Basco) he has no idea where it can be found.

But wait! Harley Quinn has been brought before Sionis and is facing, or should I say being considered for a “defacing”, for misdeeds against him and his driver. In an attempt to placate the matter, Harley tells Sionis that she knows where the diamond is and can get it for him. It sets up a string of events and forms an alliance between Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell). Together they stand up against Sionis’s gang and a pack of brutal mercenaries that are out for the half a million dollar bounty.

JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL as Black Canary in Warner Bros. Pictures’ BIRDS OF PREY N a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

First time major film Director Cathy Yan takes the screenplay Christina Hodson’s and runs with it. It’s an amazing script and she puts it through the wringer squeezing out every ounce of action and adventure and delivers it to the big screen. Yan doesn’t miss a beat continuing Harley Quinn as the same violent character (played by Margot Robbie) that was depicted in Suicide Squad. Making it Robbie’s show she starts an arc with Quinn as a broken hearted killer who gets a boost back into her fight. It takes revenge against criminals that are doing damage to Gotham City, and tests her courage and persistence. It’s an awesome arc that gets a lot of help from new female characters played by Winstead, Smollett-Bell, Perez and newcomer Ella Jay Basco.

Robbie gives her best performance yet in the lead role of the bat slinging Quinn. Taking apart Gotham City’s worst criminals has been a job for Batman, but with this crazy queen in action, he can sit back on his heels as Quinn cashes in on literally destroying one of the most demented of underworld kingpins. Her acrobatic abilities turn her gorgeous fame into a devilish protagonist as she’s determined to save young Cass from certain death from the sewer dwelling denizens. Excellent show Margot.

MARGOT ROBBIE as Harley Quinn in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BIRDS OF PREY ,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

The whole cast of women are impressive, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead putting her best effort forward as Huntress who uses a crossbow as her choice of weapon. Jurnee Smollett-Bell blows up the screen as the wicked Black Canary. She helps take on the baddies with her fighting abilities and a special power she never knew she had. Taking her shot in a DC Comic thriller is fine actress Rosie Perez as Detective Montoya who finds out she was on the wrong side. She eventually joins in with Quinn and adds her energy and smart moves to the defense of the ladies who are trying to protect Cass.

This may be Ewan McGregor best action performance ever as the despicable Sionis. Crafty, sinister and repulsive at times, the “king” of the underworld really makes a great antagonist. His character is a guy you love to hate as he deals with those that defy him. When he comes up against Quinn, however he can’t bring himself to harm her, especially if she can get him what he wants.

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD as Huntress, MARGOT ROBBIE as Harley Quinn, ROSIE PEREZ as Renee Montoya, ELLA JAY BASCO as Cassandra Cain and JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL as Black Canary in Warner Bros

The production value of the movie that includes the sets, locations, filming, costumes, make-up, special effects, CGI, choreography and so much more is terrific. My top point is the stunt department that puts on one of the best shows that’s equal to or if not better than any of DC films have ever provided. The street chases are phenomenal with scenes that have “Quinn” being pulled on skates through traffic, a donnybrook at the “fun house” and much more. A couple of grotesque moments have audiences looking a prostheses of a face and the sound department had a special moment when you could hear some legs being snapped.

Birds Of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) has been rated R by the MPAA for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material. The fighting is very convincing, realistic looking and bloody with Quinn slinging her bat and baddies slicing and stabbing. Please keep these things in mind when deciding to bring immature teens to watch the film. My suggestion: if the movie is available at your theater in IMAX, it would be the best way to view all the action up close with awesome sound.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A real barn-burner with all the right elements. (5 out of 5 Stars – for responsible teens trough 40’s)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ewan McGregor, Ella Jay Basco
Directed by: Cathy Yan
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime
MPAA Rating:  R for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material
Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.
Opening Date: February 7, 2020
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Released in: Theaters, Standard and IMAX

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