There are bad movies, things like MegaTime Squad, that you can laugh at. There are terrible hodge podges, like Battlefield Earth, or Water World. Then there are awful things like The Suicide Squad.
I guess it's The Suicide Squad to distinguish the 2021 version from the 2016 version, which was called simply Suicide Squad. Both included the Harley Quinn character and a few others.
The 2016 version was simple-minded and forgettable, which is why I don't recall much about it and I don't feel like watching it again to refresh my memory. The 2021 version had about the same plot, only worse: Maximum security prisoners with sooper-dooper powers sprung by the government to accomplish some sort of mission in return for remission of part of their sentences.
There's one thing that distinguishes the latest version from the first one: I really, really hated it. If I was a critic, I'd give it a no stars rating.
For startsies, stories set in mythical South American countries are a turn-off. I know, O. Henry did a few of them and they were good, but I can't recall any others that were. Why not set it in Costa Rica? Probably because they don't have coups. Venezuela or Nicaragua, maybe, or El Salvador or Honduras. I'm sure they wouldn't mind.
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is amusingly brainless. She was the star of the show, the only actually memorable character because she's so over the top. I'm sure Sylvester Stallone had a grand time playing King Shark. John Cena played Peacemaker and Joel Kinnaman played Rick Flag. Both are improbably handsome and the only time I could tell them apart was when Peacemaker was wearing what looked like a stainless steel hat.
I know all this is based on a comic book, but I guess you had to read it to know what's going on. To me, it was mostly pretty pointless violence from start to finish.
The plot, from Wikipedia:
Intelligence officer Amanda Waller assembles two Task Force X teams—colloquially known as the Suicide Squad—that comprise Belle Reve penitentiary inmates, who agree to carry out missions for Waller in exchange for lighter sentences.
The Amanda Waller character is ruthless and bullying and offensive. There's no subtlety, no finesse, no persuasion, just "do as I say or your daughter goes to prison" sort of things. I'm not sure she even makes it to one-dimensional.
They are sent to the South American island nation of Corto Maltese after its government is overthrown by an anti-American regime, and are tasked with destroying the Nazi-era laboratory Jötunheim which holds a secretive experiment known as "Project Starfish".
The movies have been tripping over Nazi-era laboratories for years, probably seventy five years, maybe even the same ones. I don't know. I don't know how they managed to invade Poland, they were so busy building secret laboratories. I'd say the edges are all worn off them as a plot device.
One team is led by Waller's subordinate Colonel Rick Flag, who are almost entirely wiped out by the Corto Maltese military upon landing.
They were sold out by one of the inmates. How'd he manage that, being in a maximum security prison and all?
This distraction allows the other team to enter the country undetected. The second team is led by assassin Bloodsport, who accepted the mission in order to prevent his daughter from being incarcerated at Belle Reve, and consists of Peacemaker, King Shark, Polka-Dot Man, and Ratcatcher 2. They find Flag at a base camp for rebel soldiers and convince rebellion leader Sol Soria to assist them.
Where to start?
X Men Task Force X team find Flag (not even Flagg) at the rebel base camp after mercilessly and gorily wiping out all the rebels guarding it. King Shark eats one, rips another in half. Heh heh. CGI blood and guts.
Turns out the rebels are the good guys, fighting against the generals. Whoops. Our bad. I think we were supposed to laugh uproariously at that point.
Harley Quinn survives the attack on the first team and is taken captive by the Corto Maltese government. She learns of the new regime's plans to use Project Starfish against other nations.
She does this by sleeping with the new regime's president, who is infatuated with her. Then she shoots him because he intends to hurt children. More laughter here. Some other military guy decides he's the president now. Hop into the barrel, bub.
In the Corto Maltese capital, the second team captures the Thinker, the lead scientist in charge of Project Starfish.
The Thinker has what appears to be vacuum tubes instead of hair. He regularly frequents a
whorehouse gentlemen's club so he's easy to snatch.
Harley escapes and joins the others, who use the Thinker to break into Jötunheim.
"Hi! What're you guys doin'?"
"Umm... Rescuing you."
Most of the Squad rigs the facility with explosives as Flag and Ratcatcher 2 enter the underground laboratory with the Thinker. He reveals that Project Starfish is Starro the Conqueror, a giant alien starfish that creates smaller versions of itself to kill people and take control of their bodies.
Starro has to be the dumbest-looking villain to grace the silver screen since the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man rampaged through Manhattan, though he's not nearly as cute. Contrary to my expectations, a giagantic Spongbob doesn't appear. The little starfish generated paste themselves over people's faces, digging into the CGI flesh underneath.
Starro was brought to Earth by the U.S. government, who have been secretly funding experiments on him in Corto Maltese for the past thirty years using thousands of the island's citizens as test subjects.
Sure. The U.S. government makes a fine villain. It's done so in a long string of bad movies. Why not this one too? Astronauts pick up all sorts of dangerous things in space. Why, once they brought moon rocks back! That was probably where they picked up
An enraged Flag decides to leak a hard drive containing evidence of this revelation, but is killed by Peacemaker who is under secret orders from Waller to cover up the U.S.'s involvement in the experiments.
Peacemaker's the guy with the stainless steel hat. Flag looked just like him, except for the hat, so it must have been hard to pull the trigger, kind of like shooting your reflection. Of course, he could have simply shot the hard drive to destroy it, and avoided having to murder his clone.
Meanwhile, a skirmish between the Squad and the Corto Maltese military leads to Polka-Dot Man accidentally setting off the explosives prematurely.
Insert laugh track here. The crumbling tower reminded me of the Twin Towers on 9/11, so I didn't find it particularly appetizing. Bloodsport surfs a large piece of concrete floor down to shoot Peacemaker, so it's RIP Peacemaker. Too bad they couldn't surf like that on 9/11. Something about flesh and blood not being able to take the impact when they hit bottom.
As the facility falls apart, Peacemaker attempts to execute Ratcatcher 2 for knowing the truth about Starro, but Bloodsport shoots him and takes the drive.
At no time do any of the sociopathic team express any concern or remorse for any of the people they've wiped out by the dozen, friend or foe. They're reduced to the status of bowling pins. The dead soldiers, rebels, and innocent bystanders have no families to mourn them, no wives, husbands, or children to starve. They're just faceless brown folk who speak with-a fonny assents. Ptui.
SPOILER ALERT! STOP READING HERE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW HOW IT TURNS OUT!
After that we have Starro rampaging through the city, emitting smaller copies of itself to eat the citizens' faces and destroying buildings and cars and such. All the while it's being chased by or chasing Our Heroes. The repulsive Waller tries to execute them remotely, just like you'd expect from the government, but her staff rebels and conks her on the head with a mop or something. Harley dives into the monster's single eyeball and Ratcatcher sends hundreds of rats after her to consume Starro from inside. Starro pegs out and all the little starros die with him, along with all the local populace they'd infested. That scene looks like pictures of the aftermath of Jim Jones' Kool-Ade party. Hilarious.
No stars for you, Starro!