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The movies to watch after The Suicide Squad

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More action, more gore, more weird

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Photo: Warner Bros.

James Gunn’s DC Comics sequel The Suicide Squad opened in theaters and hit streaming on HBO Max last weekend, and at least from the looks of reviews, delivered an ailing franchise with a second wind in the form of a solid win. (The box office is another question.) Starring Idris Elba, John Cena, David Dastmalchian, and a whole host of names including returning stars Margot Robbie and Joel Kinnaman, The Suicide Squad sees a new Task Force X recruited and dispatched by government agent Amanda Waller to the South America island of Corto Maltese for a perilous mission.

If you raced to theaters/your couch to see The Suicide Squad this weekend, you may be looking for some more movies to keep the foul-mouthed euphoria going. And we have you covered. From fellow DCEU installments to adjacent hyper-violent action flicks, here are seven films to watch after The Suicide Squad.


Dredd

Karl Urban (Dredd) aims his pistol in Pete Travis’ Dredd (2012) Photo: Lionsgate

If you love Gareth Evans’ 2011 Idonesian action-thriller The Raid and somehow haven’t seen 2012’s Dredd ... well, dang, you are in for a great time. Starring Karl Urban (The Boys) as the gravel-voiced authoritarian super-cop, the film follows Dredd and his apprentice partner, Judge Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), as they are forced to bring law and order to a 200-story high-rise block ensnared in the vice grip of resident drug lord, Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). Penned by cerebral-sci-fi-screenwriter-turned-cerebral-sci-fi-director Alex Garland (and who according to Karl Urban might have had more of a hand in the film’s production previously known), Dredd is an explosive action experience packed with dazzling slo-mo action sequences and charged with a biting satirical undercurrent of dark humor.

Dredd is available to stream on Hulu.

The Dirty Dozen

Photo: Warner Home Video

Aside from being the principal inspiration behind the poster art for Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, Robert Aldrich’s 1967 war film is considered one of the best of the men-on-a-mission subgenre. Set during World War II in the lead up to D-Day, a rebellious US Army Major (Lee Marvin) is tasked with training a dozen ruthless convicted murderers to parachute behind enemy lines and assassinate a group of high-priority German targets at a French chateau. It’s not hard to see the parallels between the film and Gunn’s own; what with both boasting a cast of ne'er-do-wells and sociopaths with an appetite for destruction. The Dirty Dozen was a huge box office success and won an Oscar for Best Sound Editing at the 40th Academy Awards, so if you’re hungry for a bonafide classic, this one’s a sure bet.

The Dirty Dozen is available to stream on HBO Max.

The Losers

Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Columbus Short, Idris Elba, and Oscar Jaenada in The Losers. Photo: Warner Bros.

Based on Andy Diggle and Mark “Jock” Simpson’s Vertigo comic series of the same name, The Losers stars The Suicide Squad’s own Idris Elba, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead), Chris Evans (Avengers: Endgame), and others as an elite black ops team who are left for dead and subsequently mount a campaign to take revenge on their traitorous former handlers. Joined by Aisha (Zoe Saldana), a mysterious agent with her own agenda, the group go deep undercover to strike back at Max (Jason Patric), a ruthless power broker bent on plunging the world into a nuclear conflict. There are explosions and gunfights and Chris Evans with a ridiculous looking goatee shooting finger guns at would-be assailants.

The Losers is available to stream on Netflix.

Seven Psychopaths

Collin Farrell, Christopher Walken, and Sam Rockwell in Seven Psychopaths (2021). Photo: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

In Bruges director Martin McDonagh’s 2012 dark comedy crime film Seven Psychopaths stars Colin Farrell as a struggling screenwriter who is forced to flee for his life when his best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) inadvertently steals the prized Shih Tzu of a dangerous gangster (Woody Harrelson) with the help of his elderly partner Hans (Christopher Walken) in ill thought-out grift to gain some quick cash. With McDonagh’s swift comedic writing combined with terrific supporting performances delivered by Harrelson, Tom Waits, and Harry Dean Stanton, Seven Psychopaths is a hilariously self-aware ensemble comedy.

Seven Psychopaths is available to stream on Showtime.

Smokin’ Aces

Alicia Keys as contract killer Georgia Sykes in Smokin’ Aces (2006) Photo: Universal Pictures

If you’re looking for a bunch of trigger-happy killers tripping over themselves in a mad scramble of gunfire and explosions in order to punch somebody’s ticket for a quick payday, Joe Carnahan’s 2006 action film Smokin’ Aces is absolutely up your alley. When washed-up magician “Buddy Aces” Israel (Jeremy Piven) opts to turn over what he knows about the Las Vegas mafia to the FBI in exchange for protection and clemency, aging mob boss Primo Sparazza puts a bounty on Israel’s head (and heart) to the tune of a cool mil. A whole swath of colorful characters worms out of the woodwork to collect the bounty including deadly marksman duos, torture experts, and chainsaw-wielding neo-Nazi psychopaths, and it’s up to FBI special agents Richard Messner (Ryan Reynolds) and Donald Carruthers (Ray Liotta) to ensure Israel makes it out of the gauntlet alive.

Smokin’ Aces is available to stream on Peacock.

Troma’s War

An old lady fires a giant machine gun in Troma’s War Image: Troma Films

James Gunn got his start in the movie business working for director/madman Lloyd Kaufman and the Troma Entertainment brand, having written notable, self-aware schlock like 1996’s Tromeo and Juliet. As many have noted, the blatant disregard for human life and the glee of watching bodies explode in The Suicide Squad seems like more a direct nod to Gunn’s Troma career than just about anything in his career thus far. So it would be fitting to go back and watch of one Kaufman’s professional highlights. The 1988 action movie Troma’s War follows a group of Americans plane-crash survivors as they battle island creatures and anti-American terrorists. It’s absolutely profane — and likely an inspiration for The Suicide Squad.

Troma’s War is available to stream on Shudder.

Upgrade

logan marshall-green in upgrade Photo: Blumhouse Tilt

Leigh Whannel’s 2018 sci-fi action thriller Upgrade stars Logan Marshall-Green (The Invitation) as Grey, a stay-at-home mechanic and self-described technophobe whose life is thrown into disarray when he and his tech executive wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo) are ambushed by an elite hit squad while on their way home. With his wife murdered and his body paralyzed, Grey is offered a second chance at life via an experimental implant called STEM; a multi-purpose AI chip with the power to give him control of his legs. After regaining the power to walk, Grey soon realizes that the chip has a mind of its own and, spurred on by his desire for vengeance, sets about hunting down the men who took his wife’s life with his newfound superhuman strength and abilities. Upgrade is a hectic, visually abrasive revenge film with fast action, impressive cinematography, and beautiful set designs.

Upgrade is available to rent for $3.99 on Amazon Prime Video, Apple, and Vudu.

Bonus: Birds of Prey

Margot Robbie rests her arms on a deli counter and looks pleadingly at her breakfast sandwich as Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey. Image: Warner Bros.

Harley Quinn’s last big cinematic out was 2020’s elaborately titled Birds of Prey (Or the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which is easy to forget because 2020 was A Whole Thing. The film follows Harley (Margot Robbie) who, after an acrimonious split with the Joker, joins forces with superpowered nightclub singer Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), GCPD Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and vigilante marksman Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), to rescue a young pickpocket (Ella Jay Basco) from Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) a nefarious and homicidal crime lord known who goes by the name Black Mask. Despite an underwhelming box office return, the Cathy Yan-directed superhero film received significant praise by critics during its initial theatrical run, including Polygon’s own resident comics expert Susana Polo. If you’re looking for more Harley Quinn after her starring role in The Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey certainly warrants a revisit or a first time watch.

Birds of Prey is available to stream on HBO Max.