The Villains Have All the Fun in "Batman: Assault on Arkham"

The world of the “Batman: Arkham” video game is brought to vivid animated life with DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s “Batman: Assault on Arkham.” The Dark Knight takes a backseat to the bad guys in what is the comic book equivalent of a heist or search and rescue flick much like “Red,” “Ocean’s 11,” “Escape from New York,” and others. The movie takes place after the events in “Batman: Arkham Origins.” It’s an exciting and humorous romp that will thrill fans of the game franchise and “mature” enthusiasts of super heroes.

Amanda Waller puts together a team of super villains to infiltrate Arkham Asylum and complete an unfinished job. She wants the Riddler assassinated for secret knowledge he possesses. Black Spider, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, KGBeast, and King Shark are all forced to comply to her wishes thanks to an explosive planted in their necks which Waller can detonate if they won’t fulfill her demands.

One thing DC animated movie buffs will be happy about is the return of Kevin Conroy in the role of Batman. The rest of the voice cast is fine, but they’re overshadowed every time the Dark Knight appears onscreen. Troy Baker does his best Mark Hamill impersonation as the Joker. I really thought it was Hamill until the credits rolled at the end.

“Batman: Assault on Arkham” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1.78:1) and 5.1 Dolby Digital. The picture is clean and highlights the great stylized animation. I always notice that the DC animated movies have this strange haze over them, but I just overlook it and concentrate on what’s going on story wise and below it. The surround sound sets viewers right in the thick of the excitement and tension.

A word of caution to parents out there with children who love super heroes. “Batman: Assault on Arkham” isn’t kid-friendly in any form or fashion. It’s rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, and language. We’re not talking your typical comic book violence, either. Several heads are blown off for example. Harley Quinn shows quite a bit of skin and there’s a scene of Deadshot and her tumbling around in bed together. The language is on par with what you would get in any action movie released today starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Liam Neeson, or Sylvester Stallone. However, the “F” word is never dropped.

The Blu-ray edition of “Batman: Assault on Arkham” contains a pleasing amount of bonus material. A featurette entitled “Arkham Analyzed: The Secrets Behind the Asylum” and feature commentary are exclusive to the release. Other featurettes include “The Joker’s Queen – Harley Quinn” and a sneak preview of the upcoming “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” animated movie. It also contains four bonus cartoons from the DC Comics vault.

“Batman: Assault on Arkham” will thrill fans of the video game franchise it’s based on. People unfamiliar with the “Arkham Asylum,” “Arkham City,” and “Arkham Origins” universe need not worry. I don’t play the games and had no problem jumping right in. 

“Batman: Assault on Arkham” is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.