Birds of Prey Review: Thin Plot, But Fun Ride
By Chris "Boogie" Brown
(AllHipHop Features) BOP is a stylish action-comedy that is sort of thin on plot but is still a fun ride. Each of the Birds get a little time to shine here but this is clearly a Harley Quinn movie. Margot Robbie plays Harley Quinn with the same brand of spirited craziness she did in 2016’s “Suicide Squad” except she's a tad more heroic here. In short, after breaking up with the Joker, Harley ultimately teams up with the Birds to protect/save a young pickpocket artist from a crime lord (Ray Sionis a.k.a Black Mask) who she has stolen something valuable from.
Harley tells the whole story of BOP using animation, on-screen bio introductions, and voiceover narration while even breaking the 4th wall at times. The movie is pretty fast-paced clocking in at under 2 hours which doesn’t lend a ton of time to fully fleshing out all of the characters. The 1st act of the movie spends a lot of time detailing Harley’s “Emancipation” from the Joker and unfolds in a non-linear fashion (many scenes are out of order) which does affect the pacing and flow of the movie for a period of time.
While the Birds are introduced early and get their moments, it isn't until the 3rd act of the film that they all finally come together to fight alongside Harley. All of the actresses here are well cast as is Ewan McGregor who portrays the charismatic, eccentric & menacing Black Mask. Of the Birds, my favorite standout is Huntress who plays a savage warrior and has the most interesting backstory.
Cathy Yan does a good job directing BOP in hyper-stylized sort of way that fits the vibe of the film and serves the characters well. Chad Stahelski (Director of the "John Wick" films) choreographs many of the action sequences that are entertaining for the most part although I expected a tad more here.
Tonally, Birds of Prey doesn’t take itself too seriously, is purposely over the top and wears its zany playfulness like a badge of honor. The film’s narrative structure definitely takes cues directly from the "Deadpool" playbook but also yields its own brand of wild uniqueness as well. I went into the theatre with low expectations but ended up having an enjoyable time watching this film. I can’t say I loved Birds of Prey but it is a solid comic book movie that entertains and one that I think die-hard fans of the Harley Quinn character will especially enjoy a great deal.