If, like me, you absolutely lapped up Birds of Prey: And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn on its cinema release, the great news is the digital release has been shunted forwards due to the situation we all suddenly find ourselves in.

If you didn’t check it out on cinema release, now is your chance to savour one of my favourite films of the last few years.

And, if you did check out Margot Robbie’s return as the loveable psycho and didn’t enjoy it – well, what is wrong with you?

Tacking on from the conclusion of Suicide Squad, Harley now finds herself on the streets, tossed to the curb by the Joker as surplus to requirements.

Looking for new meaning, Quinn finds herself frequenting the nightclub of one Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), a mob boss who controls the Gotham underworld in his guise of Black Mask.

Mixing with Sionis exposes Harley to all sorts of characters, from singer Dinah Lance (who becomes an ally), to GCPD detective Renee Montoya (who most definitely does not – to begin with anyway).

The Black Mask’s antics further muddy the waters in the search for the Bertinelli diamond, which supposedly holds the key to a vast fortune stashed away by a crime family syndicate.

And that’s not enough, as we also get crossbow killer Helena Bertinelli gunning for Sionis’ blood, a female teenage pickpocket who makes the mistake of swiping said diamond, and the tattooed Batman villain Victor Zsasz as Roman’s henchman.

Oh – and we also get pet hyenas, fights on roller skates, a quest for the perfect breakfast sandwich – and so much more…

Taking all of that in, it is pretty easy to ruminate on just how Birds of Prey could have turned out to be an unholy mess, with too many characters and plot strands struggling for air.

But Cathy Yan does a sterling job of allowing everything to breathe in the chaos – each character gets their own arc of sorts and a very distinct personality – yes, Quinn is the lead here, but the rest of the ‘Birds of Prey’ are memorable in their own right.

The performances are all absolutely spot on – Robbie has the ticks, emotional twitches and jokes of Quinn down to such an art you can barely imagine anyone else filling the role so well. Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Dinah/Black Canary brings attitude and plenty of fisticuffs, Mary Elizabeth Winstead fidgets her way through the role of Helena/The Huntress (excellent with a crossbow but desperate for validation), Rosie Perez provides the gruff arm of the law while Ella Jay Basco shines as the ‘not-actually-as-annoying-as-you-thought-the-character-would-be’ pickpocket Cassandra Cain.

As if that was not enough we then get McGregor – scything through the film as the over-the-top villain Sionis, all grandiose speeches and vicious violence. McGregor is simply a joy to watch – and pushes Birds of Prey even further up the fun scale.

The film looks great, sounds great and cracks along at breakneck speed, swiftly moving from one set-piece to another.

And those set-pieces are handled deftly by Yan, whether it be manic street chases, nightclub brawls, an explosive police station escape or the film’s climactic showdown at an abandoned amusement park. And, fear not, ‘adult’ fans, Birds of Prey is no PG film either, with bone-breaking bloodshed and foul-mouthery by the bucketload.

Deliciously violent, riotously colourful and overflowing with memorable characters and dialogue, Yan and co have delivered the goods – and then some.

Simply put, Birds Of Prey is outrageously good fun.

Birds of Prey And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn isavailable on Digital Download from April 24, and arrives on 4K, Blu-Ray™ & DVD June 15.

Rental Review: Birds Of Prey
4.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle