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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Deadpool 2, Review: Wade a minute

Deadpool 2, Review: Wade a minute

Biding his time as a terminal cancer patient, Wade Wilson trades his soul to Ajax in exchange for dear life, and as a man who came back from the dead, he becomes your Deadpool. Now, back in the States, where they find the alliteration in Wade Wilson funny, guess what they must be making of a super-powered contract killer (NO! He’s no hero!) called Deadpool!

Deadpool 2 is no film, it’s a trip. There are fights and weapons galore, villains and villains and more, but it works best a bizarre comedy, full of insider, politically incorrect and self-deprecating jokes. You mean all those Marvel superhero pantheon guys and gals, including many in one wink roles are busy making us laugh, rather than saving the planet? Marvel it is, but I do mean that.

A sequel to the 2016 film of the same name, Deadpool is part of the wider X-Men universe that has spawned ten films earlier. After a set of fake, lampooning opening credits, it begins with DP battling child prostitution racketeers in HongKong and moving on to assassinate the boss of an American drug cartel, which attempt fails. It is the wedding anniversary of Wade and Vanessa Carlysle, and DP rushes home, where Vanessa says that her baby factory is open and that they should try and start a family.

Suddenly, the drug-lord arrives at his home and attacks Wilson, who saves himself but the boss again escapes. Wilson chases the criminal through the streets and grapples with him on the road, before a truck hits them, killing the drug-lord. Wade survives. Unable to cope with the loss of his wife, Wilson decides to commit suicide by blowing up his apartment with several barrels of high-grade fuel. Wilson has a vision of Vanessa in the afterlife; she says that his heart is not the right place yet, leaving Wilson confused. And yes, he lives, thanks to his self-healing powers.

Colossus Rasputin, with a body of steel, wants to recruit DP into the X-Men. Wilson agrees to join, and together with Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, tackles the case of a young, orphan mutant, named Russell Collins. Russell, who calls himself Firefist, can produce extremely high temperatures from his fists that can ignite objects. After several failed attempts to calm Russell down, Wilson discovers that the headmaster and staff of the orphanage have physically abused him, and shoots one of the staff members in anger.

Both Wilson and Russell are arrested and restrained, with special collars that negate their mutant powers, including Wilson's healing factor that counteracts his terminal cancer. Wilson and Russell are taken to the Icebox, an isolated prison that houses several dozen mutant criminals wearing similar collars. During their incarceration, the facility is broken into by Cable, a cybernetic mutant from the future, who has travelled back in time, to kill Russell.

Argentinean Fabian Nicieza wrote the first solo Deadpool series, Deadpool: the Circle Chase in 1993. Rob Liefeld first worked on it in 2004. The two came together again for an X-Force limited series, and Liefeld illustrated the early covers for Nicieza's Cable and Deadpool. 2010 saw Liefeld return to the Deadpool character. From this printed comic universe, three writers created more ‘comic’ stuff than most would have imagined: Rhett Resse (co-wrote G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Deadpool, Life), Paul Wernick (Canadian; co-wrote G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Deadpool, Life) and none other than Ryan Rodney Reynolds, who had co-written Deadpool-1, uncredited.

Wonder how the script of the film was developed. Most likely, it was on an empty slate that the writing trio drew three concentric circles, comprising the depths of Deadpool, the X Rays of X-Men and the mojo of X-Force majeure. Then, they decided to take off at a tangent each, revelling in wisecracks, insider jokes and obscenities. A dangerous and wild chart to plot, but to their luck, the concoction works very well for a fan audience. Non-fans are not likely to visit this universe, and so it matters little whether a non-committal punter or a neutral film-critic misses spotting Brad Pitt in his fleeting appearance. And he is not the only ephemeral shooting star on the screen. You’ve got to be a certain age to go gaga over the cameos saga.

That age group is not going to be able to watch Deadpool in a cinema. India’s Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) has given the film a For Adults Only certificate. Add to that a series of cuts that snipped away nearly four minutes of running time. Harsh, you say? Read on: nudity in sex scenes, visuals with high levels of gore, like a bullet splitting three heads or blood gushing after a hand is chopped off, and stripping away all profanity. Can it get any stricter? Double entendre phrases, words such as "touching myself", “vagina", “testicles", and “dildo", and even a poster where a woman had her hand over her vagina. Point is, had the CBFC made these excisions to pave the way for a U/A rating (equivalent of the PG-13 abroad), they would have made more sense. Having certified it for adults only, why this double whammy?

David Leitch (JohnWick-uncredited, Deadpool: No Good Deed, Atomic Blonde) might be ultimately credited with formulating and adult, mind-boggling action super-hero genre, but the formula is not likely to work in the long-term. Then again, just when you feel all the lampooning and foul-mouthing has been exhausted, more will be discovered! It has all jelled together in Deadpool 2. Admittedly, a lot of the content is in bad taste, yet viewers are very likely to lap it all up, as guilty superhero pleasures. (Pun? What pun?)

Ryan Reynolds (X Men’s Origins, Green Lantern, Deadpool-1), whether he is in spandex or his hideously disfigured self or as an Austin Powers’ Mini Me inspired dwarf, with a child’s lower half, is out to have fun. Whether he is killing or running or manoeuvering a wheel-chair, all he is really doing is having fun. There is no situation that does not lend itself to a one-liner and there is no person or incident that cannot be addressed with sexual prefixes and suffixes. Does the Merc With a Mouth have a sexual fixation? Most of those lines must be his own handiwork, right?, so welcome the seX-Man.

Josh Brolin (Sicario, Hail Caesar!, Avengers: Infinity War) as Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable must be some heavyweight, to top Thanos in Avengers: Eternity War with Cable. Here, he has one eye radiating yellow light. (I believe I saw the light shift to the wrong eye, at least once. Did you spot it too)? Appearing on screen a little late in the day, he has said that this is just his introduction, and he has three more films signed for the franchise. While his villainy has a motive in Deadpool-2, there is another villain called Juggernaut, in front of who Cable looks like a midget. Where will they stop?

Morena Baccarin (Spy, Malevolent, Deadpool) as Vanessa Carlysle first strikes us as a sensual siren, only to get killed and appear in dream-like trances to Wade. A sympathetic role, well-essayed. In a meaty role, 15 year-old New Zealander Julian Dennison (Shopping, Paper Planes, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) makes good impact. Zazie Beets (Wolves, Sollers Point, Geostorm) is cast as a member of the X Force that DP bands together, with her strength being hope. What she then lets loose is much more than hope. Hers is the other significant female part, besides Vanessa. Indian actor Karan Soni goes by the deadly moniker, Dopinder. He’s Wade’s taxi-driver friend. ‘Yoonhee chalaachal rahee’ from the Hindi film Swades plays on his music system, and that is about the only thing worth mentioning. It’s a poorly written part and the laughs he is supposed to raise are conspicuous by their absence.

Two other actors impress, with completely contradicting roles: T.J. Miller (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Search Party, Deadpool) as Weasel, owner of the bar that DP and other mercenaries frequent--a former stand-up comedian, he can match Reynolds on the motor-mouth department; Eddie Marsan (British; Atomic Blonde, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House, Entebbe) who was so good in Entebbe playing an Israeli minister does a huge volte face and pours life into the ruthless, dispassionate, detestable  headmaster of Russell’s orphan school.

Just about two hours after the screen lit up at our critics preview, I had decided to recommend you to go watch the Merc With a Mouth.

Wade a minute--in your Merc, of course!


Rating: *** ½

Spoiler for romantics: there are no kissing scenes in the movie, only kitsching sequences.

And don’t you believe that this film was photographed by Blind Al, as the opening credits say. He would have to be blind, deaf and dumb to shoot this kind of film.

Iron and steel as sources of immense strength are obvious choices to replace skin and bones, while conceiving superheroes. Now that we have Superman, Iron Man and Colossus, will they say "enough" and look to metals like lead or 'fortum' as the new body-gloves?

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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