Film Review: ‘Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay’

by Kevin Gunn
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Director: Sam Liu

Actor(s): Christian Slater, Vanessa Williams, Billy Brown, Kristen Bauer van Straten, Gideon Emery, Liam McIntyre, Tara Strong, David Boat, Trevor Devall, Greg Grunberg, C. Thomas Howell, Cissy Jones, Natalie Lander, Matthew Mercer, Julie Nathanson, Jim Pirri, Dania Ramirez and James Urbaniak

Producer(s): Alan Burnett, Hyunjung Kim, Sam Liu, Amy McKenna, Sam Register and James Tucker


Road trips bring families, and convicts, together!

Warner Animation brought Task Force X to its first feature, Batman: Assault On Arkham, in July 2014. The film seemed to test the waters on how the public would react to two things: 1.) a movie in which the bad guys were the heroes; and 2.) a film with minimal appearances from “The Big Three.” They came really close to succeeding. So close, in fact, that a live action version of the team made it to the big screen in 2016. There were a few differences between the two projects. Batman: Assault On Arkham is based on the Batman Arkham series of video games. And Suicide Squad was the third feature in the DC Extended Universe. Fast forward to March 27, 2018. Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay is released on digital download. Then it’s released on Blu-ray and DVD on April 10. Surprisingly, James Tucker and company show that they don’t need a Batman to use as a crutch.

We don’t need no stickin’ heroes!

Hell To Pay does rely on the rogues’ gallery of several superheroes just to remind us that they exist. But they aren’t really missed. Particularly with one rogue in particular who looks like a familiar character. That same character helps to solder the connections between this “New 52” universe and the world last seen in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.

As far as the voice acting goes, top-notch effort from all parties. I’m starting to think that Tara Strong can do this stuff in her sleep. I thought I would miss Neal McDonough as Floyd Lawton, but Christian Slater has the right mix of sarcasm and charisma to lead the cast. The same holds true for Amanda Waller. I blame Justice League Unlimited for making me hear CCH Pounder’s voice when I read a book with Waller. Although I have to admit, Vanessa Williams delivering those one-liners gives me chills. “Not on my watch, convict. The only one who gets satisfied tonight…is me.”

More features, please!

Most of the features from this release are standard fare. Scenes from the next film, commentary, etc. One of the standouts was The Power of Plot Devices, MacGuffins, and Red Herrings. It was like a Masterclass for future storytellers. I truly enjoyed it. With such a stellar cast, the only thing that was missing was a behind the scenes feature.

In the commentary video, Tucker and Burnett say that they were trying to capture the vibe of grindhouse movies like The Street Fighter (1974) and Shaft (1971). I think they came pretty close. Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay spares no expense to utilize their R-rating. Nice work, indeed!

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