Suicide Squad and Its Potential Influences from David Ayer’s Previous Work

By  · Published on August 2nd, 2016

What good (and bad) things the writer/director can bring to DC’s oddball offshoot.

I wonder: how much of a filmmaker’s previous work influences the choices they make for movies they are actively shooting? Someone like Spielberg will always love the effect of the slow zoom-in of an actor’s face as they react to an off-screen event right before the big reveal to the audience (as in, nearly every dinosaur scene in Jurassic Park is prefaced with the character’s shock and awe ). Or, bless him, M. Night Shyamalan’s love for a plot twist in the climax. He did a fantastic job of it one time in The Sixth Sense, and it’s like he only ever wants to capture that type of moment in the all of his films forever. It doesn’t necessarily have to be gimmicky stuff like I just mentioned, but it’s easy to recognize a filmmaker’s preferred stylistic choices in this manner. J.J. Abrams gets a ton of shit for lens flare, but that’s cool looking and not distracting at all, so shut up about it.

Suicide Squad is written and directed by David Ayer who has ten films to his credit as a writer and/or director. His films are mostly about men being men in situations where violence is always the preferred choice as a solution and usually the right one (characters he creates are usually cops, soldiers, outlaws, gang members, etc.). I believe, however, that David Ayer has incredible experience in certain areas that can bode very well for Suicide Squad, if he so chooses to be influenced by his own previous filmography.

He Learns from Past Mistakes

David Ayer’s first movie credit is as a writer on U-571, a film based on that time when America captured the Enigma machine from the Germans. Except, you know, the US didn’t really have any involvement in the capturing of the Enigma machine or breaking its code which, you know, was of the utmost importance in winning WWII for the Allies. Nothing more American than exaggerating its own involvement on things while simultaneously dismissing the work of others. It’s like if the British made a movie about that time they landed on the moon first.

The movie received fair criticism on its Americanization of a heroic tale belonging to another nation. David Ayer responded regretfully in his involvement on that historic alteration and vowed not to do something of that nature again. He’s a guy that obviously listens to his audience’s concerns and tries to adjust accordingly. For Suicide Squad, maybe he took to heart all the criticism his DC cousin’s Man of Steel received for its somber and sullen tone and set out to make the most fun action romp he could. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

He Loves Ensemble Pieces

Of the ten films David Ayer has helped to create, at least five of them could be considered an ensemble work like Suicide Squad is: The Fast and the Furious, S.W.A.T., Street Kings, Sabotage, and Fury. It’s difficult to develop full character arcs within a two hour movie run-time, and David Ayer really doesn’t try to do that anyway. What he excels at, however, is giving each character an individualism, a trait, a little something special to call their own and at least one scene where they’re the shit. I mean, he deserves much more credit than he is given for helping to build a bona fide, billion dollar franchise based off the incredibly interesting (lol, not!) underground street racing scene. If he can make those stale, cardboard cutout characters work, I can’t wait to see what he does with colorful superheroes (supervillains?).

He Crafts Scenery Chewing Dialogue

The three best David Ayer lines:

3. “You break her heart, I’ll break your neck.” – Dom as played by Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious.

Vin Diesel’s the only person I know that can make the immediate, very real danger of death seem sweet. I actually swooned when he said this.

2. “You know what they say: ‘You’re either SWAT or you’re not.’” – Hondo as played by Samuel L. Jackson in S.W.A.T..

I love “you’re either this or you’re not” quotes. Like, duh. That’s a binary condition. There are literally only two options. We’re not living in some theoretical quantum state where you can be both SWAT and not SWAT.

1.King Kong ain’t got shit on me!” – Alonzo as played by Denzel Washington in Training Day.

What does that even mean? The bombastic performance of Denzel mixed with the absurdity of such a random monster call out to compare himself against makes this one of the greatest quotes ever. I really want a Scottish remake of Training Day, just so I can hear this quotes equivalent. “Loch Ness Monster ain’t got jobbie on me, laddie!”

He’s Not Afraid of Unconventional Methods for Action

End of Watch was filmed on location almost entirely comprised of body cameras, dashboard cameras, and handhelds operated by the actors that resulted in in-your-face gunfights. Fury prided itself in its realistic depictions of the inner-workings of tank life, and contrasted such scenes with multiple field battles where it seemed as if the movie were transitioning into a laser show of red versus green. Harsh Times gave us the classic scenario of many versus one where the one is Christian Bale and he comes out on top after having kicked everyone’s ass because he’s the hero and BADASSNESS TRUMPS REALISM EVERYDAY ALL DAY!

David Ayer understands different situations call for different directing styles. You can’t film a gunfight (Deadshot scenes) like you would a battle of fisticuffs (Harley Quinn) or a battle of magic (Enchantress). And who knows how the hell you film a boomerang fight (Boomerang). But I trust in David Ayer and his willingness to go different.

David Ayer certainly has the experience to make a fun Suicide Squad. The only question is whether or not he’ll call upon it.

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