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Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Leslie Uggams, Brianna Hildebrand, Karan Soni, Jed Rees, Stefan Kapicic, Randal Reeder, Isaac C. Singleton Jr.

Director: Tim Miller

For once even the inevitable appearance by never-shy Marvel Comics character creator Stan Lee doesn’t derail this splendidly scabrous, bitterly black comic superhero show that finds Ryan Reynolds in hilarious filthy form and more than compensating for his unfortunate (and nowhere near as bad as it was painted previous superhero outing as Green Lantern).

For me, the single joke at the expense of former footballer-turned-underwear model David Beckham would alone have made me happy to say to see the film.

And the tone is set early on with a blast of zany opening credits among them “Starring GOD’S PERFECT IDIOT”, “BRITISH VILLAIN…”. COMIC RELIEF…, “A MOODY TEEN”, “A GRATUITOUS CAMEO” AND “A CGI CHARACTER” – and, happily, the lighthearted tone continues, melded with bloody barbaric action, knife fights, crashes, explosions and lively shootouts.

Here Reynolds (“You may be wondering why the red suit. Well, that's so bad guys don't see me bleed”) is glorious as Wade Wilson who, transformed by unsanctioned cancer treatment from contract killer to foul-mouthed red-costumed cinema superhero (“Whose balls did I have to fondle to get my own movie?”) creates escalating chaos, cruel comedy and wild action as he goes after British villain Ed Krein, the cause of his calamitous mutation.

Like Reynolds, first time feature film director Tim Miller scores strongly, staging plenty of adrenaline-surging action (lucky Mr Reynolds – presumably he gets to dub the stuntmen rather than risking broken limbs and painful retakes) and vivid spectacle and making the most of the splendidly cynical, frequently filthy and even more frequently funny screenplay and excellent special effects when needed.

Krein come across like a zany Jason Statham wannabe, complete with incompletely covered scalp, Morena Baccarin strikes all the right low notes as the hooker who brightens Reynolds’ low-voltage love life, and a good dirty time is had by all – especially moviegoers looking for a lively low take on the legions of po-faced politically correct superheroes who are currently over-invading cinema screens.

Obnoxious? Moderately. Filthy? Definitely! Hilarious? Certainly! Enjoyable? Most certainly. So bring on a sequel – and soon.

Alan Frank

USA 2016. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
108 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 21 Feb 2016