Sunday, May 8, 2016

Video review: "Deadpool"

Few mainstream movies are truly radical. After all, Hollywood is generally a risk-averse place. They make movies that assuage, not challenge conventions. They leave the wacky and threatening ideas to the indies and foreign films.

“Deadpool” is the exception to the rule. A super-hero flick based on a character few non-comics readers have probably even heard of, it’s violent, foul-mouthed and flippant. The protagonist is an unlikeable heel who talks directly to the audience, insults his enemies and makes no pretense at heroic deeds.

Ryan Reynolds – who previously played another iteration of the same character in (one of) the underwhelming Wolverine movies – is a charming cad as Wade Wilson, a mercenary who hurts or kills people for money. He makes no bones about his profession or status on the good/bad scale.

His happiness grows when he unexpectedly finds love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), a prostitute with a heart of diamonds. But then he is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

He accepts a longshot chance at a cure by accepting experimental treatment from a mysterious criminal group that promises to turn him into a super-hero. The process works, after incredible pain and suffering, giving him the ability to heal virtually any wound. But it also leaves him a scarred freak.

Redubbing himself Deadpool, he launches a crusade to kill the bad guy, fix his face and get the girl back. Needless to say, there are complications along the way. Opposing, then joining him on this quest are a pair of down-market X-Men. (Deadpool himself quips that they couldn’t afford any of the expensive ones.)

Shot on a $50 million budget – peanuts for super-hero CGI and stunts – “Deadpool” is a four-letter middle finger to the establishment. Rookie director Tim Miller and script guys Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have fashioned a movie that’s a true rebel yell.

Extras are very good. These include two feature-length audio commentary tracks, one with Reynolds and the screenwriters, the other with director Miller and Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld; deleted and extended scenes with audio commentary by Miller; gag reel; photo galleries; and two making-of featurettes: “Deadpool’s Fun Sack” and “From Comics to Screen… to Screen.”



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